Its that time of the year when everybody is planning and thinking about the next year. Some of you will be seeking expert advice at this point because you’ll realise that there are skill gaps that need to be bridged if you are to grow your business as planned. Business mentors and coaches are a great source of expert advice for growing any business. This article is to give you some ideas on how to pick the best support for your business whilst avoid the costly mistakes most people make.
So what should you look out for when choosing your business mentor or coach?
1. Don’t chase the celebrity – I find that most people are really fixated on the “celebrity” of coaches rather than really understanding how relevant a business coach’s skills and expertise are to where they want to get. Look for people that you can learn from and who you instinctively feel have something to teach you whether they have the glitter and glamour of celebrity or not. This single tip could save you lots of money as most celebrity coaches come with hefty price tags. They are definitely worth the price but work your way up if you can’t afford them immediately. Its not about the celebrity its what they can do for you and how ready you are to implement the advice.
2. You get what you pay for. On one end, people chase the celebrity whilst others want everything for free! I hear “I can’t afford it” a lot in my line of work. The real question we should all be asking is “Can I afford not to?” Trust your instincts and stop talking yourself out of things when you know you need them. Every time you push back on getting the help you know you need to grow your business, know that you are delaying your success by the same timescale. You can get coaching and mentoring at any price these days. From free to several thousand per day or even per hour. Find a coach in a price range that stretches you so you take the commitment seriously. Cheap is not always best. I find that people either don’t want to pay anything because there is so much free stuff online or they just want to pay so much more than they can afford. Coaching is an investment and most good coaches give you a return on what ever you spend on them so go with the coach that can give you the best results for the investment that you are making. This reminds me of the quote:
“If you think a professional is expensive, wait ’til you try an amateur.” ― Paul “Red” Adair.
3. Coaching and mentoring are not quick fixes. If you are looking to get rich quick then you’ll be scammed and fall prey to some of the hype marketing you see around. You need to start engaging with a coach or mentor you’d like to work sooner rather than later so they can help you avoid the usual pitfalls of growing a business because coaches is not a quick fix. I know people who have had the same coaches for years and they tend to have the most sustainable businesses. Growth comes when you work hard to build a committed and stable team. A great business mentor is part of that team. You won’t change a great accountant and lawyer every year so when you’ve found a great coach or mentor, try to hold on to them. Others may come and go but have a strong foundation of experts who are loyal and understand you and the journey you’ve been through. You’ll be amazed how much more you get out of people who know you are committed and loyal. If you are the type of person who goes coach/mentor hopping, looking for the new quickest approach to making money, then STOP! In addition to all the money you’ll be through after scams, you are not doing yourself any favours. Of course if a coach or mentor isn’t adding any value to your business then change them and find someone who can.
4. Call me a romantic but there has to be chemistry and integrity – From personal experience there has to be good rapport in any working relationship for you to get the very best of the people you are working with. Do you feel you have or will have good rapport with the person you want to work with? Do they understand you and some of the challenges unique to your circumstance? Can they relate? I’ve heard people say that they thought a coach would be ideal but once they started working together, they realised that they had different values and beliefs about core aspects of their life and business. You get far more out of your coach or mentor when you are working with the same values and you actually like each other. On the flip side, don’t turn yourself into the type of clients your mentor or coach would dread working with. Invest real time and energy into maintaining a great relationship and try your best not to become an over demanding. You both have to come into the relationship committed to doing the work so you can get the most out of it.
5. What’s their expertise? – Some of the great business coaches I know don’t have any coaching qualification but what they do have is an expertise in a specific area that helps make a real difference to the people to work with. Find someone that you would want to partner with in your business, (or even employ if that option was available) or some one that really inspires you and has a different way of seeing things. Don’t just go for anybody because they say they are a business coach. What specialist skills are they bringing to the table?
6. Do you need a coach, mentor or consultant? – Coaching, Consulting and mentoring are different things. I have clients that I mentor, some I coach and some I consult for and some I do all three for! I will be anything my clients need me to be provided it gives them the results they need! Coaching is a big picture activity where you help a client find the answers within themselves. You just ask the right questions and help them to come up with the right answers. Which they will know when they do. Mentoring is where people want to emulate their mentor is doing. Some people I work with like the path I’ve taken and just want someone to bounce ideas off and give them some directions. Consulting on the other hand is more hands on in my opinion. This is where I tap into my specialist skills and hands-on experience to give them tools and answers they really couldn’t have figured out themselves. So you really need to be sure what you want. Do you need a mentor, coach or consultant? Just as a final note, business coaching isn’t life coaching although you’ll find that having someone to talk to about the business does bring a new and different perspective into your life.
7. What is the level of support – You need to understand very clearly how the service is going to be delivered. What results to expect, what the time commitments are and what you need to do to get the most out of the relationship. This can be a real deal breaker, as lack of clarity will have a knock on effect on everything else that you do and whether the coach is just another bad experience or a real game changer for you. It’s a two way relationship and you still have to do the work.
I hope these points help you to find the right business coach for YOU as you plan for more success in the coming year.