Business Coaches are more common than you think. 

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What is now occurring in the world of business is what happened in the world of professional sports long ago. Amateurs and professionals alike realized the need for coaching to be competitive. More and more business owners are realizing that in order to stay competitive in their industry, they need a good business coach. This is why the business coaching industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

The business coaching industry today (based on 2014 numbers) is a $9 billion sector made up of more than 37,000 firms in the United States, according to research institution IBIS World. These services do not come cheap, with fees for even junior, non-certified coaches starting at $100 per hour, and leading-name consultants charging thousands of dollars hourly.

That is creating a new dilemma for the potential client: there are suddenly names to choose from!

When investigating what business coach you should work with, ask yourself the following eight questions:

9 questions that help determine what business coach to select.

1) What are your expectations and can they be met by the person or company you choose?

Having a clearly defined set of objectives and being upfront allows both you and your potential coach to decide if your expectations are truly possible.

2) Am I looking for a Business Consultant or a Business Coach?

A consultant will bring you very specific expertise and will often do the work for you. Think about a more expensive, ‘white-collar’ sub contractor. If you are only interested in knowledge, and you think that your business will actually absorb the changes that the consultant prescribes, you might actually be looking for an (industry specific) consultant. If you believe that the business is somehow a kind of reflection of you, the owner, and you want lasting change? Well that means you want to improve your business starting with yourself. It means you need a coach. A coach will not do the work for you, but focus on you, or your team members to actually become better at what you or they are supposed to do. One piece of advice: do not look for lookalikes with a coach. Their task is to keep you sharp. They need to know how to run a business, not necessarily have in depth knowledge of your industry.

3) Am I looking for a Life or Executive Coach, or a Business Coach?

There are much more so called ‘Life Coaches’ out there than Business Coaches. And real Executive coaches have experience coaching C-level executives in big companies. However, since many life coaching techniques will also work in a business setting, many Life Coaches believe that they can also be good Executive Coaches. Some don’t even see the difference between an Executive coach and a Business coach. We suggest the following basic rules:

If you want to become a better person? Use a Life Coach.

If you want to become a better leader? Use an Executive Coach

If you want to become a more successful Business Owner, ask for a Business Coach.

4) Do I want to meet this coach weekly in a face to face fashion? (i.e. is he or she local)

Many coaches have remote sessions with their clients, using Skype or just over the phone. That can really work well, but some folks really want to meet their coach face to face, in the same room. It is a matter of personal preference, but relevant for your choice.

5) What is the Coaching philosophy of the coach?

This is harder to determine, you will actually have to interview the coach and several of his or her clients to get an answer to these questions: Are you looking for a motivational boost, or do you think you need more of almost brutal accountability from your coach? Will this coach ‘put you and your team to work’? Or provide more of a therapeutic or brainstorm session each week? How much actual business training and knowledge does the coach provide versus a focus on asking questions that lead you to discover this knowledge yourself? Is their psychological model ‘pop psychology’ (typical ‘Self Help’) or empirical science based? Are they ‘spiritual’ or ‘down to earth’?

6) Do I need one-on-one business coaching,or am I more in need of business education with accountability in a group setting?

Group coaching can be a good option for smaller companies that think they cannot afford full blown ‘one-on-one’ coaching. When well run, they will even add more and more ‘Mastermind’ elements to the participants. On the other hand, spending time one-on-one with an experienced business mentor typically provides a much more personalized in depth experience but you will have to spend more money.

7) What are the credentials of the coach you are investigating?

How ‘serious’ was their education to become a certified coach? Are they even certified? Do they have a coaching ‘system’? How extensive is it? How business oriented versus general ‘leadership and self development?

8) What ancillary benefits does working with this coach provide?

Does the coach give you access to a wider set of resources that are included in the coaching process? Is there a business community they would give you access to? For example a mastermind group with veterans in business?

9) What is their track record and reputation?

Of course you should interview clients that this coach is working with, but how about checking if past clients are still positive about the experience?How much did the businesses grow? Do the businesses report success in the area you are looking for the most help in? What reputation does the coach has with his or her peers? Can you find out what the ethical reputation is of the coach you are investigating?

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