Business coaching is in vogue. Thousands of entrepreneurs are investing in themselves and their businesses by commissioning a coach. However, not all entrepreneur-coach relationships are productive. In fact, some business owners have gone through multiple coaches in their quest for personal improvement and success after a coaching relationship failed or progress stalled.
Entrepreneurs with business coaching experience shared their tips for success and fell into seven categories.
See what you are looking for
First, clarify why you are exploring coaching and what you hope to think and do differently as a result. Sometimes people want a coach but are not always clear about their goals or areas of focus.
“Be ultra-clear where you need training and why you need it,” said ex-special forces and mindset coach Itamar Marani. “If your coach doesn’t understand the problem, they can’t help implement a solution.” Vicky Shilling, wellness business mentor advised that you, “Know what your knowledge gap is and what you need from a business coach, so you can choose the right one.” She said there, “There’s no point in trying to hire one that you think is going to fix everything.”
Look for a personal connection
Make sure you choose a coach that resonates with you. Relationship is what makes transformative conversations powerful. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to find someone who aligns with your needs and style. Having expertise does not mean they will be an effective coach.
As you resonate with them, you should feel like they resonate with you. “Personally,” said Sarah Noll Wilson, the author “I love that my business coach is also deeply invested in the success of my business and my business.”
Maintain clarity and alignment
Without shared values, a business coaching relationship is doomed to fail. When choosing a coach or mentor, this should be the number one priority. Aligning values and understanding your personal and business goals shapes your entire relationship. “Research their content to see if your values align,” Itamar Marani said. “Ask them what their values are. Would you like to eat with them?”
It is not only before the coaching contract is signed that this is important. Throughout your relationship, notice signs that your values may have drifted apart. Is your coach steering you toward a decision you’re not sure about? Has their language changed since a time when it felt more congruent with your beliefs?
Business coaching is a two-way endeavor. Booking in Zoom calls and going through the motions every week will get you nowhere fast. Alexey Kochenay, founder of Wizard on Demand, believes that, “It’s not enough to just show up for the training sessions. You have to take the time to do your part as the person being coached.” He said that this means, “Journaling, reflecting on questions, reading books to discuss them with the coach later.”
Having a wonderful coach but not making the effort to make the most of their advice means no results. Don’t fall into the trap. As with many aspects of business, mindset is key. “You have to be in the right mindset for business coaching to get the most out of it,” said Sophie Biggerstaff, retail business mentor at BYR Collective. “Coaches are there to guide you, but you have to be willing to take action on that guidance in order to see results.”
Do the follow up work
The training session is just the beginning. After you commit and show up, you want to see the job through to completion. Entrepreneur and author Susanne Grant recommends, “Prepare, show up and do the work. But above all, start implementing it.” She believes that not doing this makes coaching useless. “There’s no point in coaching if you’re not going to apply it and make your tools.”
Pippa Goulden, founder of The PR Set agrees that follow-up work is where the magic happens. “Paying thousands isn’t going to transform you or your business, doing the work is.” She knows she will face resistance along the road to improvement. “It can be tiring, but you get out what you put in!”
Be open minded
If your coach doesn’t challenge your thinking, they aren’t doing their job. You must be willing to question your beliefs, your limitations, your strategy and what the future may hold. Francesca Baker, founder of And So She Thinks said that, “clients often use metaphors reflexively without dwelling on their significance and greater meaning. A good coach explores these powerful representations in a way you might not have considered.” Be open to their questions and explanations of your words.
Publisher Brenda Gabriel wants you to be open-minded about your flaws too. “Go into the training relationship willing to explore the parts of yourself that are flawed and to have an open mind,” she believes, “you can learn ways to do things that you wouldn’t normally think of or believe will work.”
Drop your defenses
Going into a session with your walls ready to attack questions and shut down prompts will not serve you well when you are being coached. Instead, drop your defenses. “Stay curious throughout the process.” recommends Deborah Humphrey of The Wellbeing Story, who added, “those who let their defenses down and let themselves play and be curious find coaching rewarding.” Or as Hannah Miller, the founder of sidekick simply puts it, “Choose vulnerability”.
Business coach Alison Callan advises, “Go all out with your thoughts, communication, hopes and dreams.” Callan believes that, “Without complete truth and openness, a coach cannot help you see a clear path,” which is why you should drop your defenses and not hold back and also, she added, “because it’s incredibly important to feel connected and safe with your coach.”
Figure out what you’re looking for before you commit, then drop your defenses and go all out. Look for a coach with common values, who you believe can help you on your way. Do your research, ask the questions, weigh the pros and cons before making the decision. After that, be present in the sessions and follow the work. Your life can transform before your eyes (and theirs).