Small business coaching is hot. A few years ago the only coaches anyone talked about were sports coaches. But today, PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimates that there are 30,000 business and life coaches worldwide.
Thousands of small business owners and managers turn to coaches every day to improve their personal skills and business results. You can, too. But first you have to determine if you’re ready for coaching. Then you have to select the right coach.
Are you Ready?
Rosa started her business out of her home. She made money, but not as much as she felt she should. She was frustrated that she couldn’t find time for her family. That’s when a friend suggested that a small business coach would help.
That’s a typical situation. Most small businesses owners don’t start out using a coach. They usually come to coaching when they’ve had some success and when they know they could have more. They usually come to coaching when they’re ready to listen and when they need a little knowledge and a little nudge to do the right things.
The best coaching in the world won’t help you if you’re not ready to be helped. So before you go hunting for a good small business coach, answer the following questions.
Are you ready to listen to the things you need to hear? A good coach will ask you about things you haven’t thought of and push you to think outside the box. That’s often scary.
A good coach may also tell you to change the way you do some things. That’s hard for many small business owners because it means admitting that you’ve made some bad decisions and choices.
Are you ready to take a hard look at your business? Even the best coach can’t help you if your business can’t deliver quality to enough people at the right price. Sometimes a business simply can’t succeed because the market is too small or too hard to reach.
Are you ready to pay the price? Coaching does not come without a price. You will pay a price in both money and time. You may even realize that you need to invest in new things for your business.
Coaching is not a magic bean. You have to work at success every day. I tell my clients that “success is based on persistency and consistency, not magic.”
You’re ready for coaching if you see coaching as an investment in yourself and your success. Your next challenge is to find the right coach for you.
Choosing the Coach for You
Great coaches, like great chefs and great football players, are rare. And, sometimes, even a great coach is not the right coach for you. Here are some ways to evaluate coaches.
Look for a coach who’s run a small business. Before I started coaching I built two successful small businesses. I’ve really “been there and done that” so I know what my clients are going through.
I also use coaches myself. The ones that work best for me have small business experience. Small businesses are different from big businesses and you need a coach who understands the special challenges.
Look for a coach who’s been doing it for a while. My job as a coach is to help you know what to do, but it’s also to help you do what you know. It takes time to learn to coach well.
Look for a coach who won’t nickel and dime you to death. It seems to me that there are two kinds of coaches when it comes to billing. There are coaches who charge you by the minute, hour or session. And there are coaches who are always accessible or available for short conversations between sessions, if needed without piling on extra charges. I find the latter works better for my clients.
Look for a coach that you’re comfortable with. Successful outcomes demand a productive relationship between you and your coach. It won’t work if you feel talked down to or belittled or if you feel like your coach doesn’t care about you. If you feel any of those things, look for a different coach.
Look for a coach who’s picky. The best coaches are selective about the kind of clients they work with. We expect a lot of our clients and we limit the number of clients we work with so we can concentrate on helping each one succeed.
After some soul searching and some research Rosa started working with a small business coach. It wasn’t always easy, but together they found ways to help Rosa’s business grow and help her reap the benefits of success. They took her business and life to a whole new level.
It can happen for you, too. If you’re ready, if you’re willing to embrace change and if you’re willing to pay the price, a small business coach can help you become an amazing success story.
David Mason is President of Mason Performance Development Inc., and author of Marketing Your Small Business for Big Profits. Visit Your Big Profits
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