All top performers attribute a significant importance to the coaches they have encountered in their careers. These top performers initiate the contract with their coaches, hiring, firing and searching constantly for that coach which will give them the competitive edge.Successful business coaching is not limited to sports. Fortune 500 companies are encouraging their executives to help optimize their performance.
I have found that as a small business coach, the professional in a sole practice or the independent businessman, benefit tremendously from a coach who sometimes fills a role that would otherwise be served by a partner.If you think you can benefit from working with a coach. Where do you start?
Key Selection Criteria for Hiring a Business Coach
When you look for a coach, you are looking for someone who has experience or insight you don’t have in dealing with a particular subject. The best results will be when you use specific coaches for specific problems or challenges.
The key is how well five specific criteria are met:
1. Understanding and Support - The coach has got to believe in you, that you have the strength, ability, and determination to work on goals and follow up on agreed upon commitments. You have to be convinced that your coach is supporting and helping
2. Experience – For a coach to be of value, the coach must have a or experience in the given area you are concerned about. For example, while I work as a small business coach for business owners in areas of management and marketing, I would refer them to someone else if they wanted investment or financial coaching.
3. Goal oriented approach to your success - A crucial distinction between your coach and other acquaintances is that a coach works with you to make you accountable to take concrete steps to success. The benefit of doing it with a coach is that you are then accountable.
4. Coach as Teacher – You should expect that a coach will have both a knowledge base to offer suggestions to think about, as well as resources for you to read or use to help you with your business issues. While the coach is not a formal teacher, he or she is someone who is helping you learn more by expanding your options and informing you of methods for success in other businesses.
5. Intuitive Connection – Don’t eliminate the emotional component from a coaching relationship, even in business. You should feel comfortable and at ease being able to share and discuss with your case. One good criteria to consider, is that you are comfortable giving direction to your coach, and telling your coach was is important for you to focus on. Remember that it is a collaborative relationship.
HOW TO CONTRACT WITH YOUR COACH
Make sure the terms of your contract with your business coach are clear, articulated, understood, and agreed to by you and your coach.
Time Frame – Be clear on what help you are asking for and realistic on the time you both think it will take to get done. From my experience it takes at least 3 months to ensure that you have made a plan, executed it, monitored it and follow up to ensure that it was set in place. It is a good idea to set up a trial period of and then reevaluate if both parties still feel it is a win-win relationship.
Coaching Style - Make explicit your preferred way of being coached. You want advice and insight but you also want to make the final decision on accepting this advice. You are not asking them to do your job for you, just to provide a unique perspective for you to consider in your decision making process. Monitor the coaching process to determine if you feel the coach is pushing you too much, or maybe too little. Like all relationships, your coach will need your feedback in order to help you the most.