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Finding a business coach is no easy task. There are a LOT of us, and it can feel overwhelming to figure out who has what you need and cut through the industry lingo.
This guide is designed to help you move forward confidently. Please note that I am writing this as a business owner who also employs a coach, not as a coach working to convince you to hire me. I’m not for everyone or for every stage of business, and I want you to have success regardless of our relationship! 💜
Below you’ll find questions to ask the coach and look out for in your first meeting with a prospective coach.
1. Have they done what you want to do?
This is number one on the list because there are a lot of people attracted to coaching as a career who have *studied* the results, but haven’t done it themselves. A good business coach has accomplished your goals. For them, it’s not theory, and they can guide you concretely as a result.
When you meet with the potential coach, ask them:
- What kind of business(es) have you owned?
- What results (aimed toward YOUR goal) have you had?
- What challenges have you faced in your business endeavors?
2. Can they emotionally support you?
Business growth inevitably triggers imposter syndrome, forces you to examine your limiting beliefs, and may mean digging out some old wounds. That can be scary, and you’ll need emotional support as you transition your business toward your wider goals. Pay close attention to how you connect with the coach in your initial meeting. Did you laugh? Cry? Feel anything at all?
Even more important, did you feel safe to reveal a vulnerability about your business in that meeting? You’ll have to get vulnerable with your coach so they can examine every aspect of your business and find opportunities for growth, which includes you, the business owner. If you didn’t feel like you were able to be vulnerable (as much as you are capable of with a stranger), it’s unlikely you’ll find that with them moving forward.
3. How fast / slow do they move (and can they titrate themselves to you)?
This one may be more personal, but I know I can move pretty quickly in my business. I’ll have assignments done three days before the predicted deadline, and need a coach who can equally move fast.
On the flip side, I’ve coached business owners who are very methodical. They need time and space to both implement and integrate new ideas. I see it as my job to slow down so they can do the work in the way that feels good to them. When you meet with a coach, ask them how fast or slow they move, as well as how they handle clients who prefer a different pace. Can they meet you where you are? If not, keep looking.
4. How do they communicate?
Do you hate phone calls, but the coach only works via phone? Do they offer contact with them in between sessions? The very best coaches, in my opinion, use a blend of communication styles to meet their client’s learning and growth needs. That allows you to receive support in a way that will lead to your success. Even better is a coach who asks directly for your learning / communication preferences as part of their onboarding process — definitely ask about it!
5. Do they have a program?
Some coaches are ‘custom coaches,’ in that they mold their program to you, the client. Other coaches offer a rigid step-by-step program their clients must follow. Ask them about their program and what level of customizing they offer, and consider what level of rigidity you need to achieve success. Watch out for coaches who say they mold themselves to you *without* a program — to me, that’s a red flag indicating a lack of expertise and support.
What do you think? Join us in SCALING:lab to discuss!