Many owners and founders find themselves in a position looking for help with their business, but are not sure how to select a small business coach or consultant. On top of all the stress associated with running the business, they often choose to put it off, wait for another day, and continue their day-to-day struggle.
Running a successful business can be difficult. After all, our job is solving problems…and sometimes you could just use a day without any problems…am I right? Well, the truth is that the one choice you’ve been delaying regarding finding the right business coach for your business doesn’t have to add more stress and anxiety. Here are six questions to ask of yourself and your potential coach or consultant before taking the dive!
What is the problem you are trying to solve.
Even if you hire the best plumber in town, they probably won’t do a great job of helping you figure out what you want from your business. That’s a question only you can answer. Once you have the answer to that question (even if it is incomplete or imperfect…I see that a lot), your business coach can apply their perspective to help you clarify the goal, their experience to help you create the roadmap to your outcome, and provide accountability to keep you moving through the tough parts.
A good coach will tell you about their experience and try to relate it to your problem. A GREAT business coach will tell you when there is a bad fit and work to connect you with a better resource!
What is their actual, real-world experience solving that problem.
Even the best plumber on the planet will do a less than stellar job painting your living room. They are leveraging decades of experience to fix a problem in your pipes. Now, can you fix that problem yourself after reading a book or watching a few YouTube videos? Maybe…but will it be as good or reliable as the solution you get from the planet’s best plumber? Probably not. Unfortunately the coaching industry has far too many people that hold themselves out to be “coaches” and “experts” when all their experience comes from a book, a course, or a video series. Ask your prospective coach about specific examples from their background where they tackled a problem or a desired outcome just like yours. How did they address it? What was the result? How can they apply that to your situation?
A good coach will not hesitate to answer. A GREAT business coach will volunteer the answers!
What do their current and past clients say about their work.
You know what they say…word of mouth sells. Almost every social media platform today has the capacity to allow you to ask for recommendations or to read reviews. Ask your prospective business coach to connect you with some past clients. Of course, you can expect most to give glowing reviews…that why the coach will connect you with them. But you will also have the chance to ask anything you want. Talk to several and compile their results. You may be surprised at the outcome.
A good coach will show you referrals from past clients. A GREAT business coach will connect you with past clients so you can ask them anything you want!
Do they “click” with you.
Clicking is another word for rapport building, and if you don’t feel like the relationship is clicking, then the business coach is doing a bad job of rapport building. While it is true that you’re not interviewing for a new best friend, you will be spending quite a bit of time with this person and you will be opening up your business and yourself to their insights. If the business coach cannot build rapport during the sales portion of the engagement, don’t expect it to get better after you start paying them.
A good coach will listen and help you feel comfortable, even in difficult conversations. A GREAT business coach will have you anticipating the difficult conversation and encourage you to lean-in to the problem solving…and you’ll feel safe and comfortable doing so!
Did you have an “a-ha” moment during your initial consultation.
From a business coach perspective, I try to make every engagement with a client, be that face to face, email, text, whatever…I want every engagement to produce at least one a-ha moment. If you are not getting a-ha or note-worthy input from your prospective coach during the evaluation phase, again…it’s not going to get better. Personally, I’m more than happy to give away some insights because it’s not the insights that are going to make the difference as much as your execution. If a prospective business coach is holding back and keeping the “framework” a secret, then the framework is all they have to offer. You should expect much more!
A good coach will give you insights into how they work and show you that they can create results. A GREAT business coach will strive to create a-ha moments in every exchange…and you won’t have to ask!
Are the fees proportional to the result?
Ah the fees…the REALLY challenging part. Here’s the deal: Your business coach’s fees should be proportional to the value of the result they create…and guess what…VALUE is in the eye of the buyer! There is no industry-standard for business coaching fees so ask you coach how they came up with the fee. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. If you want to add $100k to your revenue next year, a $25,000 fee would be disproportionate. (25% is WAY too much, somewhere between 5% and 10% is more like it). If your prospective coach cannot explain how their proposed fee relates DIRECTLY to the result they will help you achieve…run!
A good coach will be able to explain it clearly and succinctly. A GREAT business coach will have already explained it so you don’t have to ask!
Engaging with a business coach will be a significant investment time, emotion, and capital. You need to feel clearly and confidently that you are stepping out on the right path and that this person will help you achieve your goals. Your coach will challenge you, and the road may be filled with some self-discovery, but with the right small business coach the journey will help you grow as a person, a leader, and a business owner.
Hiring a great business coach can be a challenge so I hope these six questions will help you on your quest to find the right resource to help you achieve your desired outcomes.
If you still have questions, I know you will want to join me for my unique 27-minute webinar on How To Choose A Business Coach. Click the button below to register for the next live version of the webinar or to watch a replay of a past webinar. In either case you will get the unvarnished truth about what you need to do to find a great business coach for you and your business!
Thom Rigsby brings more than 25 years of business experience in companies ranging from the Fortune 50 to mom-and-pop operations as well as more than a dozen businesses of his own. He has an active performance coaching practice, audio & video podcasts, and weekly radio program where he shares the key concepts and strategies he has learned on his business journey, helping business owners and leaders focus their efforts, create results, and replace undistinguished results and burnout with a clear plan for stable, sustainable success. A plan worthy of your best and highest potential!