Would you like to know more about what’s involved in working with a small business coach? Find out more about how business coaches assist their clients in exclusive expert interview with Sylvia Browder, Project Director, Business Coach, and Consultant with the Women’s Business Center, Inc., based in southern Alabama.
Q. Is it a good idea for small business owners to work with a business coach?
Browder: Yes, it’s a great idea to hire a business coach to help you overcome obstacles that can prevent you from managing and growing your business.
A few ways a small business coach can be beneficial:
- Help in brainstorming new ideas
- Gain valuable insight into what is working and what should be changed in your business
- Develop and implement a strategic action plan for your business goals
- Learn to prioritize and use your time and energy more effectively
- Follow through, be accountable and share valuable feedback
- Identify ways to build profit and sustainability
Q. Is working with a coach affordable for small business owners?
Browder: Hiring a small business coach is affordable and should be considered as part of your overall budget. Are you serious about your business? If so, then just as you hire a CPA or attorney to help you with financial and legal issues of your business, you should budget the cost of a small business coach to help you in the development and growth of your business. Most small business coaches offer a free initial coaching session with no obligation which helps you to learn more about the coach and decide if there is a good working chemistry.
Q. What should entrepreneurs expect from a business coach?
Browder: The coach’s role is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that you already have. Coaches are trained to listen, to observe, and to customize their approach to meet your needs. Coaches will elicit solutions from their clients; but a skilled coach also knows when to jump in and provide direction when you get off track.
So, determine what your needs are and make sure that your coach has some experience in helping others with similar situations or at least a detailed action plan for you to follow over a specific time frame.
Q. What’s the best way to start looking for a small business coach?
Browder: It can be a daunting task trying to find the right small business coach that fits your needs. With thousands of business coaches to choose from, here are a few tips to help you in the process:
Evaluate the Industry
Before you choose a coach, take a closer look at the industry. There is no regulatory board governing the coaching industry but there are standards in place. The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high professional standards, providing independent certification, and building a network of credentialed coaches. Go to coach federation.org and check out profiles of coaches.
Evaluate the Coach
Go online and Google ‘business coaches’ and even refine your search to include your geographic location. Find business coaches in your area. Check out their websites and read their bios. Check out their qualifications and credentials. Coaches, who are serious about their profession, will have invested in it. For example, I am currently enrolled at Coach University as a student working on my coaching credentials.
Coach U is the leading global provider of coach training programs. The Advanced Coaching Program™ (ACP™) meets the academic requirements for becoming an Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC) or Master Certified Coach (MCC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF).
As you network, talk to your business contacts and ask for referrals for local business coaches. Word of mouth is powerful!
Ask for a complimentary coaching session to get an idea of his/her working style. After you’ve interviewed a potential coach, ask for names and numbers of clients that they’ve worked with. Call those references and ask them questions such as:
- What was there overall experience being coached by this person?
- Did the coach help them achieve their goals?
- Would they hire this coach again?