In the last few years, it seems that almost everyone has decided that they have what it takes to be a business coach. Marketers have made business owners feel flawed if they aren’t part of a coaching program or a mastermind, as though investing in these things is trendy and hip rather than an initiative that should be geared towards results.
I’d like to rant about all of the things that buyers should beware of, but instead, I’m going to offer you some suggestions on how to pick the best business coach for you.
When interviewing a business coach, you are really looking for someone to help you build a business. Why not take the same approach to hiring a coach as you would an employee? Ask them behavioural based questions to see what they have done, not what they would do.
1. How profitable is their own coaching business? What were their sales and profits last year?
Your coach should have a proven track record of not only growing top-line revenue but also making a profit in their business. Too many coaches today use smoke and mirror marketing methods to make you think they have a rich business when their bottom line is pitifully thin. If your business coach doesn’t know how to generate sales and profits for themselves, chances are they won’t be able to do this for you.
2. Do they know how to read an Income Statement or a Profit and Loss Statement? What items would they advise you to focus on when looking at those statements and how often do they advise you to review these things?
Your coach should understand finance and accounting principles and be able to help you decipher the often overwhelming language in reports like this. As a business owner, understanding your financial reports is the key to growth. If your coach can’t do this with you, chances are you’ve hired a life coach, not a business coach. Knowing numbers, and understanding what they mean are two different things. Can they explain retained earnings, what your balance sheet means and help you use the data your accountant gives you in a meaningful way? They should be able to, after all, your business results depend on this.
3. Do they have their own proven methodology or are they parroting someone else’s system? Ask them how they’ve developed their own IP and see what they say.
There are more coaches, coaching coaches on how to be business coaches than ever before. Sadly, many of them are advising business coaches to charge big fees for their services even though they lack experience. If you’ve hired a coach who is using someone else’s coaching program because they don’t have their own experience, be cautious. Without an in-depth understanding of how business works, you run the risk of hiring a coach that is one dimensional and that’s not good in business.
Does your coach understand traditional business principles versus online business? Do they have experience with bricks and mortar businesses? Do they even know what cost of goods means? If they don’t understand the business you’re in, they won’t be able to help you.If your #businesscoach doesn't understand the business you're in, they won't be able to help you. Click To Tweet
4. Do they have success stories? What have they helped other business owners build? How much have they helped them grow in terms of sales? Have they helped anyone sell their business?
Don’t take testimonials on someone’s website at face value. Use social media and reach out to people and have a conversation about the results and the return on investment they got from working with a coach. Do your due diligence before you pony up a large sum of money and get yourself locked into an iron-clad contract. Here’s my opinion on coaching contracts if you haven’t read that piece before.
5. Lastly, how do they approach strategy? As one of my favourite authors, Keith Cunningham says, “A business is not a bathrobe, there is no one size fits all.” Do they have a unique approach for you or do they treat everyone the same?
Everyone calls themselves a strategist but few people truly understand strategy. A strategy is not a series of Facebook ads, your weekly blog posts and a new set of photos for your business. A strategy is about achieving a long term big picture goal in your business and figuring out the simplest path to doing this. Don’t let your business coach send you down a rabbit hole chasing meaningless tactics that don’t bring you closer to your goal.
If you use these questions as a guide to help you choose your next business coach, I promise you won’t be fooled by slick influencer marketing, but instead, you’ll be wowed, (or not), by the experience your coach brings to the table.
Leave a comment below, and let me know if you’ve ever hired a business coach before. What questions did you ask prior to working with them?
Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.