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.

11 Mistakes New Coaches Make In Business

Most Coaches start out in business for reasons such as, wanting to quit their full time job and be their own boss, or they want to gain the financial and personal freedom of being an entrepreneur, they also want to help people and make a difference in their life. No matter what the reason is, being a Coach is a fantastic profession to go in. However, what many Coaches don’t realize until they are in the beginning stages of their Coaching career is that starting a coaching business is not always as easy as it seems. Many Coaches struggle trying to make it work and trying to make that leap to a successful Coaching business. In this report I will share with you eleven mistakes new Coaches make that are holding them back from reaching their ultimate goal of having a successful business.

Mistake #1: Spending too much time getting ready!

Many Coaches spend too much time preparing themselves to get started. They work on their website, their marketing materials, finishing up their Coaching training, and focusing too much on “getting their ducks in a row” instead of getting out there and start Coaching. Many also feel that they are not ready to Coach because they think they are not good enough yet but to be honest, you won’t learn until you go out there and Coach. You will only learn how to make it better once you notice the mistakes you make while you make them or you realize that you could make some changes in certain areas but the key to becoming a good Coach is you must practice! Think about the time you started a new job, you didn’t prepare yourself for weeks or months to start that job, no you learned and got better by doing. It is all a learning curve.

Mistake #2: Don’t have a Coach that can guide them in the process

Every Coach should have their own Coach that can guide them to move forward and to help them get through the things that are holding them back. Especially if you are a new Coach it is extremely important to work with a Coach to help you move forward. Of course you can try to figure things out on your own and spend a lot of time and a lot of money on things that are not working. Where, if you would work with a Coach that has already been there and done it, and learn from them, you can get to where you want to be much faster.

If you are worried about not being able to afford a Coach, especially when first starting out, then consider this… how can you expect others to pay for your Coaching services if you don’t even pay for a Coach? Also, think about the amount of money and time you waste on things that are not working or trying to figure things out on your own? Some Coaches even work with you on the fees and some even agree on some sort of barter service.

Mistake #3: Don’t collaborate – they rather stay an army of one!

As a Coach, it is important to collaborate with others either in the same industry or they can even be in a completely different industry. Many Coaches think they are in business by themselves but the truth is that only when you collaborate with like minded individuals will you get to where you want to be… create an army of many rather than staying an army of one! Collaboration is the key to success because you can build business relationships, do business together such as webinars, seminars, workshops, even co-author a book, create products, and help each other grow. When you collaborate with other Coaches or experts in the industry they can promote you to their network and you can promote them to your network, that’s a win, win situation.

In today’s time and age you can even collaborate with individuals all over the world, and build your business on a nation-wide and even world-wide level.

Mistake #4: Doing too much training and not applying what they learn – Apply as you learn

Have you ever thought to yourself that you have to complete this one course before you can start, or you still need to take this course and that course, and maybe even this other course too? Too many Coaches get stuck in the “learning phase” where they take all sorts of different online courses trying to sharpen their skills or trying to learn more things that they can offer their clients but instead of applying what they learn, while they learn it, they continue taking courses without applying the things they have learned. They best way to learn something is by doing and applying the things you have learned.

Mistake #5: Giving away their services for free or not charging enough

Beginner Coaches often feel that they can’t charge much or at all for their services because they are just starting out and they are not very experience yet. Now let me ask you this, do you think doctors who just finished medical school offer their services for free? No! They charge for their services because they went to school for many years to learn how to be a doctor and they are providing a service. The same applies to Coaches, they have gone through training, they have learned how to be a Coach and they too provide a service. You also don’t need to tell clients that you are just a beginner or that you haven’t had that many Coaching hours, if they don’t know, don’t advertise it. You are an expert and you should position yourself and present yourself as an expert because you most likely will know more about Coaching than your clients.

Now, in regards to how much to charge, even when first starting out you can charge more than just $50 or $75, you should base it of your demographics and your target market.

Mistake #6: Don’t choose a specific Niche

Many Coaches don’t choose a specific niche, they want to help anyone and everyone, the only problem with being too broad is that it makes it harder to find clients. Any marketing strategies would be like throwing mud against the wall, some sticks but most of it falls down. It’s the same with marketing to everyone; it would not be very effective. Instead, choose a specific niche and become an expert in that niche, for example a life Coach that specializes in goal setting or finding your dream and passion; another example would be a relationship Coach that focuses on helping divorcees find their way after divorce. By choosing a niche you can target your marketing towards your target market, in this case it would be individuals who are going through a divorce or individuals who want to find their true passion. Choosing a niche will make your marketing efforts much more effective.

Mistake #7: Don’t treat their business as a business

When starting your Coaching business you must treat your business as a business where you focus on growing your business and generating revenue. If you don’t earn any revenue, if you don’t have anyone to Coach, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. Being in business means you have to commit to it, and do the things you know you need to do on a daily basis. Being an entrepreneur is a life style, you live it each and every day. Sometimes that also means not going out with friends instead working on your business. Only when you treat your business as a business will you be able to grow it into a successful business. This applies especially if you still work a full time job; you have to invest the necessary time into growing your business, into marketing and networking.

Mistake #8: Thinking clients will come to them

Just because you open your doors and start offering your Coaching services does not mean clients will be flying in through the door! Unfortunately it is not that easy. You have to go out and find your clients, you have to build awareness and let people know you are in business. As a Coach you should focus on things that gets the word out, you can do webinars, go to trade shows and expos, do seminars and workshops, anything that will get you out there and in front of your target market. Too many Coaches sit at home or in their office waiting for clients to knock on their door which only causes them to lose out on clients and eventually they get frustrated because they have a hard time getting clients. The key is to go out and network, network, and network some more.

Mistake #9: Trying to do everything

Being in business means you have to do everything that is involved with running a business, from doing your accounting, your marketing, creating products, making calls, setting appointments, sending out emails, to conducting your Coaching sessions. All these things are important and a necessary part in running your business. However, sometimes you might feel overwhelmed and that the day doesn’t have enough hours to get everything done. One thing you can do is hire a Virtual Assistant or to outsource some of the things that take up most of your time. For example, your accounting or building your website, things like that you can outsource. Even if you are just starting out and you don’t have the cash flow yet, try to delegate as many things to free up your time where you can focus on getting clients or creating products. Delegating is a very important part of being in business, you simply can’t do everything by yourself or you will eventually burn out. And how can you help others when you are so exhausted that you don’t even want to get on the phone or talk to your clients?

Mistake #10: Don’t focus on building their list – getting leads

One of the first things to focus on is building your list. You need to have people that you can contact about your services and building your list of contacts and getting leads is the key. There are different ways you can build your list; you can do an opt-in form where you give away a free report for example in return for someone’s contact information. You could also collect business cards at expos or networking events, plug each contact into your database and start marketing to them. Start working on building your list early on and make it a priority. You should have an abundance of leads that you can market to and reach out to. So start building your list!

Mistake #11: Being a perfectionist

Being a perfectionist is one big challenge many Coaches face because they try to get their website, blog, Coaching packages, or products perfect before they get it out. The problem is, you will never get it perfect, you will always find something that you don’t like and spend days, even months trying to get it perfect. Instead, focus on completion rather than perfection. Once you release a course, a product, or launch your website, you can always make changes to it as you go.

Small Business Marketing Secrets: Look Like Sizzle, Be The Steak

You’ve heard marketing and advertising gurus quip, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Advertising initiatives best reach their target audience with benefits and the “wow” effect, not the value or features of their product or service. This may work well to get customers in the door. But once they’re in, you better have some substance. How can you ensure you uphold the integrity of your business and still maintain the “Wow Effect”? It just takes well executed strategic steps for business AND personal development:

1. It’s Already Done

Act like the goals you are working so diligently to achieve have already been reached. Walk with that confidence. Treat your leads like customers, your customers like guests in your home, and your staff like family. When you approach goals like a “done deal”, you open up creativity reserves to think outside the box, access resources you didn’t know you had and create opportunities for success previously unforeseen.

2. Get There From Here

It is not enough to act like you have arrived; you also get to devise a strategy map to get you there. Ask for your customers’ input through surveys, polls, feedback forms. Pay customers’ a visit, just to see how things are going. Send a birthday card, send flowers, and send an article clip that can prove useful to a client. Never miss an opportunity to create relationship. The best way to ensure you don’t miss opportunities is to create a plan.

3. Who Cares?

Ensure that your work is fun and fulfilling for you and those who might work for or with you. Keep your duties aligned with your skills and interests, and invest in your own personal development. Volunteer in the community. Build a house for Habitat for Humanity. Run a marathon or half-marathon. Sponsor a scholarship with your local high school and recommend alliance partners or contractors to be part of the selection committee. It increases your visibility and theirs, and you both get to be a good corporate citizen. All for a good cause. Invest in yourself and in your community. Show you care.

4. Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say

Address issues as they come up or as soon as appropriately possible. Sometimes we let things slide or leave things unsaid. This devalues what’s important to you and insults the intelligence of the other person. Be open in your communication.

5. Create Win-Win Solutions

The belief of “looking out for number one” is so embedded in our collective consciousness that we have forgotten we are ALL #1 because we are all one. When you create win-win solutions, you not only generate good will among peers and supervisors, but you develop a reputation for fairness and professionalism. Everyone collaborates with a collaborator.

6. Acknowledge the Feedback

When customers take the time to write a scathing letter or make an irate phone call about horrific customer service or product quality, they are providing you with a valuable opportunity: Free feedback that you didn’t ask for, didn’t pay for, didn’t market for or followed up on. It just fell on your lap. So thank your customer for being committed enough to your company to give you feedback on how you can improve your service. Give something away or at a steep discount. You have a choice: Swallow your pride, or dwindle your profits.

7. Go Back to Kindergarten

When you take lunch, take a walk to a park, eat leisurely, and come back to the privacy of your office for a quick 20 minute power nap. You’ll feel refreshed and replenished. Don’t have an office? Take a nap. Make it fun and, most importantly, nourishing.

8. Tie Up Loose Ends

Pay the parking ticket. Write that letter. Clean out your files. Make up with that client. Enroll in school. Back up your computer systems. Run the Clean Sweep Program on yourself, then the company (for more information, email us at [email protected]).

9. Give Yourself a Makeover

Lose the 15 pounds. Get that haircut. Buy fresh makeup. Reinvent your wardrobe. Give your car a paint job. Rearrange the furniture in your office or lobby. Give away old clothes. When you get in the habit of installing new practices and letting go of old ones that no longer serve you, you generate and circulate fresh energy.

10. Keep Your Commitments

When you say you are going to do something, do it, or else renegotiate another arrangement. Very few things are as difficult to earn back as your credibility and the trust of those who deal with you.

11. Play a Big Game

When setting your goals, ask yourself if you are stretching. Set your goals high enough to have to stretch for them. Make your growth systematic and strategic. If your goal is to call 20 leads this week, to close one sale, what would you have to do and believe about yourself to make it possible to call 50 and close three sales? If your goal is to go to dinner with your brother, just to reconnect, how about stepping it up and actually saying “I love you?” You know you are playing a big game when your first reaction is a big whine “I can’t do that!” Yes, you can. Surprise yourself.

12. Be a Contribution

How can you make your customers’ life more livable, your work more enjoyable, and your community more cohesive? Everyone wants to know, what’s in it for me? When you focus out, you immediately speak their language and enroll them in playing yours. No one plays with you if they think you are not on their team. So join them. And they will join you.

Copyright 2004, Monikah J. Ogando, Ogando Associates, Inc.