How to Select a Business Coach

Business Coaches are people who build, support and encourage you in the pursuit of your goals. Getting someone who works well with you is key to your success.

SHOULD THE COACH BE CERTIFIED?

Certification in the coaching industry is relatively new but it lets you know that the coach has invested in their profession and underwent some rigorous study. However, I interact with coaches and have periodically hired coaches myself; I have discovered that a coaches abilities is determined by:

1. their love for people and ability to interact and communicate with different personalities

2. their knowledge of business

3. their ability to release their ego

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not undermining certification. I will soon be certified myself. However, I’ve seen a certified coach send his client “back to the drawing board” until she returned with a business model similar to the model that eh visualized.

I’ve heard of a coach who had some success in online marketing even though her background was in nursing. She immediately proclaimed herself a “business coach”, got certified and made a few people (and herself) miserable as she took on clients that had home based service businesses. (The dynamics of an online business and a service business are very different.)

Certification is good but your must look deeper.

ARE YOU READY?

You may have decided that you need the one on one support and accountability of a business coach, but are you ready to work? Hiring a business coach doesn’t mean that now you’ll find the time to do the work. You have to make a decision to put forth the time and effort. I’ve had mom entrepreneurs who paid me months in advanced thinking that the money would be their motivation, only to realize that they committed to make the payment but didn’t commit to putting forth the energy. Your coach will be your support, your resource, your partner, your cheerleader, your consultant. But she will not do the work for you.

You must commit to yourself before committing to a business coach.

So when you SELECT A BUSINESS COACH YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR:

1. Someone who fits your style. If you’re a creative person that don’t like deadlines you may not be comfortable with a coach that is so results oriented that you’re pushed to the point of being stressed. I know The Creative Entrepreneur can dream on for weeks, therefore they need structure and deadlines. However, I also know that pushing them to hit a particular date, as I do for my other clients, is not helpful for them. Your coach should be able to adjust to your style.

2. Someone who understands your circumstances. I’m a mom of 5. I understand the challenges of mothers; we can have the best intentions and yet one sick child can slow us down for a week. My coach, an older gentleman with no children, couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to accomplish the 20 goals a week that I would set for myself. If I had a business coach who was also a mom she wouldn’t have allowed me to set that many goals. And she would have remained patient during the challenging weeks. If you have a small business, home-base business, children, illness, or other circumstances find a coach who understands but does not allow you to use it as an excuse.

3. Someone who isn’t so eager to take you on. Time is precious and a good coach knows that her time is also limited. She’s not willing to take on any and everyone. A good coach chooses his clients by assessing whether or not the person is coachable, not by determining how much money he can make.

4. Someone who will offer you a free session. How can you possibly learn whether or not you two are a good match unless you have the opportunity to talk with the coach and experience their coaching style? A free session also allows the coach an opportunity to assess you as well. When you’re searching for a coaching take advantage of the free sessions that are offered so that you can get a feel for them. The session should be obligation free.

A business coach can catapult your business to the next level. But you must go into the relationship assessing your readiness and then assessing the coach through the free session offered. Once you find the right one you will be on your way to incredible success.

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10 Must-Have Features When Choosing a Teleconferencing Service

Recently we’ve had troubles with our existing teleconferencing service, with people having troubles getting a long-distance line to dial into a teleclass. Two years ago we did a huge research project, looking at all the paid and free teleconference services in order to choose the best one for our small, 40-person teleclasses and our large 400-person teleclasses. Once again, I’m back to research mode. If you use teleconference services, or are planning to in the future, it is important to be aware of the recent problems most of my colleagues have been experiencing so you can choose your own teleconference service wisely.

Choosing a teleconference system to use for your teleclasses and teleseminars is an important decision. Each service offers a different array of features. While there can be several dozen features to consider when making your choice, here are the Top 10 features I think are important:

  1. Online control panel. The online control panel lets you see how many people are on the call, whether they are muted or not, and when new people come on the call. Some control panels allow you to manage the call online, and some include a Contact list so that the name of the participant shows up next to their telephone number.
  2. Guest Speaker access. Does the system allow you, plus a guest speaker, to be on the line while everyone else is muted? This is especially important if you are going to invite experts to be interviewed in your teleseminar.
  3. 24/7 reservations. Do you have to call in every reservation, or can you simply go online to schedule your calls? Is one line reserved for you that you can use anytime you want? I prefer a teleconference system where my assistant can reserve the phone line and schedule the dates/times online as they give us instant access to the telephone number and passcode that will be used, which we can then send immediately to our participants.
  4. Ability to record the call through the teleconference company. The ability to offer recordings of your teleclasses is of major importance. I’ve typically seen 30% or more of the participants who never attend live; they just listen to the recordings. Being able to record the teleclass means more people have access to your message. (Note: I often use both the teleconference line’s recording ability plus my own physical digital recorder as a backup.)
  5. Ability to keep a history of recordings. Some teleconference systems will allow you to keep multiple recordings from different teleclasses on their system, while others overwrite all existing recordings when you begin to record a new class. If you are teaching a teleclass that is a series (say, once a week for five weeks), you want to be able to keep and download those recordings for the entire series to share with your participants.
  6. Ability to have at least 50 people on a call (and all 50 can talk at the same time). You might think you will only have 10 people on a call, but as your business grows, you may find that you sometimes will have 50,100 or 200 on a call! For our free teleclasses, we often get 400-500 people register. Choose a system that can grow with you. Also, make sure that everyone who is on the call has the ability to speak and interact. Some systems say that they can have 96 people on a call, but when you read the fine print, you see that only 25 people can talk at a time.
  7. Ability to mute some or all participants. Participants bring background noises: dogs barking, kitchen dishes rattling, cars zooming by, colleagues speaking loudly in the same room. While the participants might not hear the noise themselves, everyone else on the call can hear it! Being able to mute individuals, or mute everyone on the call, makes it a better experience for everyone. It also helps if participants can mute and un-mute themselves individually.
  8. Calls can be scheduled for whatever timeframe you want. (Like 12:55 – 2:15). Some systems only schedule in 1-hour increments. Some systems will cut off the call at the assigned ending time, whether you are finished speaking or not. Get a system that allows you flexibility in call start/stop times and durations.
  9. NO “circuits busy” problem, guaranteed. There has been an explosion of people wanting to use teleconferencing lines over the past few years, and the “circuits busy” message that you sometimes get when dialing into a call is because there are not enough long-distance lines able to handle the influx of people all dialing into one number. The problem is with the capacity of the long distance telephone company (BellSouth, Verizon, etc.), not with the teleconferencing company itself. Apparently this problem is happening with many free teleconference companies, especially if you have more than 20 people dialing in, or it’s a particularly busy time of the day. (Evenings 7:00 – 9:00 PM are especially busy.) Most free teleconferencing companies probably don’t have the power to ask the telephone company to make more long distance circuits available, so a paid teleconferencing company might be your best solution.
  10. Free versus Paid. My next research project is going to be into “paid” teleconferencing lines. Some of these services offer special features not found in the free services, like streaming of your teleclass via the web, or the ability for participants to type in a question or comment on a website. Paying for a teleconference service is not the optimum solution for someone who is budget-conscious, but may be the only solution for people who are seriously offering paid teleclasses, or using teleseminars as part of their marketing campaigns. As soon as I complete that research, I’ll let you know what I discover so that you can make your own decision about which service is right for you.

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when choosing a teleconference service. With a little knowledge, you can wade into their websites and select the best one for you.

How to Get Your Phone Ringing After Vacation

One of the biggest problems that solopreneurs have when coming back from vacation or an extended absence is that the phone is not ringing and the bills are piling up.

Here’s a quick little game to get things moving again.

Take a piece of paper, and make a little list of ten people whom you can call right away (or when you get back from vacation).

These can be past clients, networking colleagues, or even among all those business cards you have collected and which are still not filed.

The object of the game is to find at least four people on this list who are willing to meet with you over coffee or lunch in the next five working days, for a little “discovery” session.

Share with your coffee partner your goals for the next ninety days, and what kind of clients you like to work with. Encourage your partner to do the same. Do a little brainstorming, aim to come up with at least one referral name for the other person and for you, then do the same with the name referred to you.

The key to making this game work is the two-level request for referrals: first with the person that you contact, second with the person that is referred to you, whether that person is a potential client or not. If the referral is truly ready to work with you, they will do so and give you a referral right away!

This will start to stir the energy around you, and before you know it, that phone will start ringing again with clients who are looking for what you have to offer.

That is, if you make that list right now… Do it! This little game can pay off big. Once you’ve made your list, and your calls, you’ve won!