Do you remember when you were in school or at university and your teachers were always there to help with any difficulties you faced with your projects and tasks? Do you recall how much you counted on them to provide advice and guidance without which you couldn’t overcome these problems?
If you have ever worked, you probably have experienced similar situations where you wished a teacher were there to help; and, fortunately, in many cases your manager assumed that role. However, there are times when getting the advice you require is not easy. Such is the case when you have your own business as you are your own manager, so who can teach/guide/help you? In situations like this, the ideal individual you need is called a “business coach.”
Before we start digging into the concept of a business coach, there is a common misconception to clarify first. Nothing could be further from the truth than a coach is only for people who are performing poorly, struggling, or just starting their business careers. Entrepreneurs from all levels can benefit from a business coach; and Eric Schmidt’s case is the example I like the most. Eric was hired by Google in 2001 as the CEO. I quote: “I had years of experience and was hired as the CEO, so I figured I knew what I was doing. Not only did Google make me realize I still had a lot to learn, but my coach, Bill Campbell, ended up being a tremendous teacher. In fact, one of my biggest self-critiques at the end of the year was not bringing Bill on even earlier to help me and my management team. Take it from me – everyone needs a coach. The sooner you find yourself one, the better off you’ll be.”
If Google’s CEO needed a coach, you do, too.
Who is a Business Coach?
A business coach is a skilled and qualified person with a background in relevant issues who can oversee, assist, and guide an owner/manager in starting, growing and/or developing a business. The main purpose is to help clarify the company’s objectives and goals, help you develop the necessary skills, and acquire the right resources to run a successful enterprise.
The principles of coaching always remain the same regardless of the industry. In this way, business coaching is similar to any other type of training. Surprisingly, a business mentor does several of the same things as those involved in sports coaching, but in a way that focuses on building/running a successful business.
These professionals have the expressed role of training business owners/manager in matters related to encouragement, accountability, guidance, and support. This training program helps those starting out, or who already own or run a business, with management, sales, team building, and marketing, just to mention a few.
A business coach should meet with clients frequently, either over the phone or in person, to discuss the present and future of the company and any current issues it is facing. This helps to keep the business on the track established, continually moving forward to achieve objectives and goals.
Areas of Business Coaching
Mentorship can help in the following areas:
General Planning: A coach works with the owner/manager of a company on developing and stabilizing strategic planning, financial management, marketing and promotions, as well as personal and general administrative issues.
Marketing and Promotional Planning: A business coach specializes in marketing to help companies create and implement their advertising, public relations, and promotional action plans.
Financial Planning: Coaches specialize in helping business owners/managers understand vital areas such as cash flow management, financial statements, employee compensation plans, and pricing strategies. A coach, however, is usually not a tax advisor.
Why you need a business coach?
There many reasons why you need to seek the expert guidance of a business coach. It is therefore advised to look for an individual who is professional, successful, and has a genuine interest in taking your business to the next level. Following are typical situations where a business coach can help:
Your business is not making a substantial profit
If your business isn’t making enough profit, you should definitely consider business coaching. A business coach can teach you effective methods to move your business to a healthier position. The areas you will cover with your business mentor will apply to more than one business segment and, in fact, to the entire business industry. This means that you will learn general principles of becoming successful that pertain to any kind of business.
You are not getting results from your advertising campaigns
You can have an ideal product on offer, but because of poor advertising and marketing strategies, nothing is really happening. This doesn’t mean you should give up; rather, you need to hire a business mentor to teach you the right methods. Business coaching will help you see how best to present your product and/or service and how to successfully target the right market segment.
You are unsure what to do next to make your business grow
You need business consultation to keep you more accountable for your operations and to focus on what should be done to make it grow. A good consultant will guide you every step of the way, then help you put what you have learned into practice.
You are afraid of taking/leaving opportunities
You need a savvy person to lead you in the right direction and guide you through the process of running your company. An experienced coach will put you on track and let you know what exactly to do when the best business opportunities come your way. A coach is therefore an advisor, mentor, and consultant who helps make your business more successful.
You don’t know if you have the right people in your company or who else you need to hire
With coaching, you will be able to recruit the right people for your organization. As you start a new, small business, your aim will no doubt be to develop it into a bigger, better organization. You will therefore need a team of experts within various departments of the company. With proper training, you will get valuable insight into choosing the right people.
Features of a Good Business Coach
In spite of the several great benefits of training, not all coaches are good and capable of offering quality information. When looking to hire, it is important to consider the following traits:
- A good coach should be able to identify and solve any issues a business is facing. He/she should be able to give substantial information in specific areas of your industry.
- A good coach should be supportive when it comes to your aspirations and the needs of your business. He/she should also encourage you to accept any business-related challenges as well as overcome the difficulties of running a small business.
- A good coach should be a motivator who inspires you to use your full potential through feedback, effective guidance, and encouragement.
- A business coach must be people-oriented with the desire to help others. He/she must display great and genuine interest, know how to listen actively, and how to communicate in an effective manner.
No matter who you are, what level you have reached, or how well you are doing, a business coach will take you to the next step. There is always something you can learn in order to move ahead. In sports, even the best athletes in the world use coaches who can see them in action, catch weak spots, and provide feedback for improvement. It is the same in any other field, so the earlier you find your coach, the better off you will be.