Before you take action, here are the 8 most important questions to ask …
As a business owner, you probably know that you need help in one or more areas of your business.
You know that a business consultant, advisor, strategist or coach can help you, but you have a lot of questions, such as …
- Do I need a systems specialist, financial expert, or marketing guru?
- Will a group or seminar program be enough, or will individual coaching be more beneficial?
- Should I choose a local coach, or a large city-based coaching firm?
Confused by all the options, you’ve probably taken no action at all!
So you can understand the types of help available to you, we’ve put together the 8 questions business owners ask us most often when choosing a business coach or advisor …
1. Do I need an individual coach, or a coaching team?
There are many aspects to running a business, including:
- Recruiting, training, and managing your team
- Setting your business destination and strategy
- Succession planning
- Mastering your finances and cash flow
- Developing repeatable systems and managing your time
- Ensuring a steady sales pipeline
- Getting a constant stream of leads through effective marketing
… and much more.
You’ve no doubt heard the saying: Jack of all trades, master of none. It’s virtually impossible for any one person to be an expert in all these areas! Having a team of coaching professionals with different strengths and experience ensures you are covered in all aspects of business.
When working with a coaching team, you can achieve constant momentum in your business growth. When one coach is away or on holidays you still have someone there to keep you moving and help you achieve results.
Having your coaching sessions at your coaches’ office allows you to speak confidentially and without interruptions from staff, email and phones. You need to remove yourself from your business – even if just for a short time – to get a different perspective.
2. Should I look for a coach with experience, or knowledge?
There are many business coaches who have owned their own business, made their own mistakes, and have walked a similar road to what you’re on now. Knowledge about business isn’t enough on its own – knowledge and experience go hand-in-hand. Make sure you choose a coach who can not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.
It’s one thing to choose a coach who’s very well-read and has knowledge in the field of management and leadership, for instance, but if they haven’t run a team successfully you have to question their credibility. Please don’t let your business be the test case in honing their skills!
3. Do I use a new coach, or one with a proven track record?
When considering a business coach, don’t be afraid to ask for proof of their track record. It’s your business, and you want it in the hands of someone who has more experience than you in getting where you want to go.
Business coaching is about results. Your goals may be financial, team-oriented and related to lifestyle, but a coach is not there purely to make you feel good!
If you want to be a financially independent, self-funded retiree, then you would choose a financial advisor who is already working with clients such as these and getting them great results.
Similarly, you want to work with a coaching firm that has a proven track record getting businesses the level of success you want in the areas in which you want to improve.
For example, if you want to sell, scale up, replicate, or develop passive income from your business, choose a coach who has helped other businesses do that. When your coach has this experience, they will know how to overcome obstacles along the way.
A great coaching firm should have countless genuine testimonials on their website from business owners they have worked with. If you don’t see them, ask.
4. Do I choose a coach who works with just the business owner, or the entire team?
If you employ staff, you are no doubt aware of how challenging ‘people issues’ can be! Your team can either make or break your business. For this reason it’s critical to choose a coaching firm that specialises in people development.
Ensure your business coaching professional has a passion for people and getting teams to work effectively. They should have knowledge and experience in recruiting, training, and managing a team.
Some coaches work solely with the business owner, educating and inspiring them to drive the business forward. The challenge here is that the owner then has to transfer that knowledge and motivation to their team, who may not be on the same page. A coach who trains and gets to know the managers and team members can help the business grow from the roots up.
5. Do I use a coaching firm that only does business coaching, or can I use the coaching services offered by my financial advisor?
We are now in an age of specialising. Any business person who is trying to do everything for everyone cannot possibly have the depth required in all key areas of business.
As a former accountant and financial planner, I discovered that accounting and financial planning were very different disciplines, and that each required my full time attention. Spending 30 hours per week on each would not give me the same depth of knowledge and expertise as someone who spent 60 hours in just one of those disciplines. As a case in point, large accounting firms have accountants and financial planners working side-by-side, and not one person doing both.
Similarly, you may find accountants offering business coaching. Yes, they will have expert knowledge around the financial aspects of business, but will they be able to help you design your marketing plan, teach you how to counsel a poorly performing employee, understand the intricacies of moving that supervisor to a top performing manager, and redesign your sales process?
6. Should I rely exclusively on my coach, or do I need other business advisors?
Please ensure you use a coach that can leave their ego at the door when working with you. Your business coach should view themselves as one spoke in the wheel of your business support team. They should always make the success of your business their priority, which includes recommending you to other service providers as needed.
Your business coach should have trusted relationships with other business professionals such as accountants, solicitors, insurance providers, and business banking managers, whom they can introduce to you, creating a cohesive team of professionals to help grow your business.
7. Do I choose a group seminar-based program, or personalised one-on-one coaching?
There’s a difference between one-on-one mentoring and group seminars, and both are attractive for different reasons. We deliver coaching in both ways, and our clients have made amazing improvements to their businesses using both.
If you’re a business owner, attending group seminars is a great way to get a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time. One drawback is that your team haven’t been to the same seminar, and don’t share your enthusiasm or new-found knowledge! Your challenge is then to not only transfer the information and inspiration to them, but also hold them accountable for getting the work done.
Large group-based coaching can also be inflexible. A seminar program will run to a schedule based on the coaching firm’s timetable, and the information may not be relevant to where you are now nor where you need to go.
For business owners with large teams who really want to scale up their business, we believe one-on-one coaching is a must. When working with these businesses, we coach not only the business owner and managers, but meet with key team members who will implement changes in the business. This ensures the whole team is working towards a common goal.
Tailoring the program to the business takes into account the current reality and the desired reality, and ensures the information is relevant and timely.
If your goal is to grow your business to become national or international, to sell, or to employ a management team that can run the business without you having to be there, one-on-one coaching is the only method we know that works.
8. Can I use general advice, or does my coach need to know me well?
Avoid the coach who gives you a one-size-fits-all approach, especially around team development.
We have performed countless seminars on the topic of leadership and management, imparting proven skills and knowledge to attendees. As knowledge alone isn’t enough, after these seminars we meet with our clients one-on-one to help them implement these strategies.
We know the owner’s strengths and weaknesses, the behavioural styles of their managers and employees, what has and hasn’t been effective in the past, their communication style, what drives them, and what their values are. In short, we can speak in language that’s meaningful to them to be effective and get the best results.
As an example, one client we worked with had a manner that could come across as abrupt. Because we knew him and his employees well, we worked with him on his communication style to ensure his delivery method when giving feedback to an employee who tended to become defensive would not lead to an unfair dismissal charge.
Implementing general advice from a coach who does not know you and your team members well can lead to disaster!
We trust these 8 tips help you find the best business-coaching firm for you.
Yellow Coaching is a team of coaching professionals dedicated to helping create a stronger business community.
We believe that when business owners reach their full potential, they change the lives of their families; their employees and their families; and everyone who comes into contact with them.
We believe that when shown the possibilities and given the rights tools and strategies, good businesses become great businesses.
Are you ready to find the best coaching firm for your business?
Call (02) 4933 6622 and speak to Andrew Masi or Julianne Schwenke to see if we’re the right fit for you.