When I first quit my government-paid job and began freelance writing, I connected with a woman who seemed to have her life almost exactly where I wanted mine to be. She worked solely for herself, had been featured by various different reputable entities, and even had her own television show. I didn’t really want a TV show of my own, but my goal was to be a motivational speaker, so I could identify with the thought of having an audience who wanted to hear what I had to say.
Anyway, we spoke via Skype one day and her energy was amazing. We started talking about my dreams and my goals and I was getting real excited about the possibilities that existed before me. That is when she dropped the real reason for our contact on me…she was a business coach and wanted me to hire her.
Even though my head was full of all of these visions of me standing before a crowd and helping each person in the audience make positive, life-altering changes, I instantly stopped myself as questions began flooding my head. What exactly was a business coach? Do I really need one to get where I want to go? If I do, is she the right one for me?
Since I didn’t really have the answers to these kinds of questions at the time, I set out to find them in an effort to discover whether this was a route I should take. Some of the information I found kind of surprised me. However, I’d like to pass it along to you in case you were wondering the same.
What a Business Coach Is
Essentially, a business coach is someone who can help you decide which route you want to take with your business, encouraging you to make positive steps in the right direction. They also hold you accountable for doing the things you say you will do in an effort to reach your goals. Additionally, a coach is someone to bounce ideas off of and someone who can give you a hand if you are feeling somehow stuck.
Really, a business coach is a lot like a sports coach. So, imagine yourself on your business “team” and picture your small business coach as the person who inspires, motivates, and pushes you to be your best. Think of this person as someone who believes in you and challenges you during the times when you don’t necessarily believe in or challenge yourself.
Factors to Consider Before Hiring One
If this sounds like something that would be of interest to you, there are a few factors that you will want to consider before hiring one. These include:
- Your goals. Obviously, a business coach is there to help you work toward your goals, so you need a rough idea of what those are before you decide to hire one. Certainly, you don’t have to be precise or know exactly what it is you want as a coach can help with that, but you at least need a general direction of where you want to go so that the coach you do decide to hire can help direct you there. If you’re not sure what your goals might be, ask yourself why you feel you need a coach. In other words, what would you hope to gain by hiring one?
- Your budget. This was one of my primary considerations when I thought about hiring a coach because I was just starting out and barely had enough cash to afford groceries. However, the one thing I’ve learned over and over again is that investing in yourself is one of the best investments you will ever make. Matt Roessler, a Success and Sales Coach, brings up this point when he talks about the fact that investing in ourselves opens the doors for other people to invest in us as well. Therefore, finding a place in your budget for a small business coach may be just what you need to increase your profits.
- Your access to mentors. Some people are blessed to have access to others in their fields who are willing to mentor them through the ups and downs of owning their own small business. But this isn’t the case for many of us who sometimes feel like we are in this alone. If you don’t have a mentor, then a business coach can potentially help fill that void and give you someone to help lead you in the right direction.
How to Find a Good Small Business Coach
If you believe that a small business coach is right for you, your next step is to find a good one. After all, hiring a coach can be costly (internationally known Tony Robbins charges $1 million a year, but most coaches charge a few hundred dollars a month), so you want to do your best to ensure that you get your money’s worth. How?
Remember how I initially said that some of the information I found surprised me? Well, the part that I was talking about is the fact that, when it comes to coaching, certification is generally not required. Therefore, at this point in time, anyone can call themselves a coach and earn money in this field without any specialized training.
Now, you can go with an uncertified coach if you wish, and certainly a certificate doesn’t necessarily make someone a better coach, but if you decide that you’d rather have someone who has additional schooling and obtained their certification as a result of it, two of the most notable certifying organizations are International Association of Coaching (IAC) and International Coach Federation (ICF). Both of these websites can help you find a trained, certified coach in your area.
Your main goal is to find one you connect with and can relate to. Someone who is easy to talk to and that you feel you can be open and honest with. Someone that you can learn from and trust to help you reach higher levels in your professional life.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer; it just depends on whether or not you can see value in hiring one. And the only one that can answer that question is you.