Deciding whether or not you should invest in a business coach can be a hard choice to make. They operate under the idea that they will advise you on your business growth, akin to how a life coach might counsel on emotional growth, or a sports coach might push an athlete to achieve the perfect performance.
So, when would you use one? While everyone is different, I’ve seen three main goals entrepreneurs are looking to achieve when hiring a business coach. These are:
- When they want to refine their practice and streamline the way they do business
- If the business hits a plateau and they’re struggling for ideas
- Or if they want to switch up their business model entirely
As with anything, there are pros and cons to hiring a business coach. I’ve had my own coach for a year now, and have seen dramatic improvements, both in myself and my company. A lot of thought should go into what to look for when considering a business coach, so here’s my take on it.
Pro: Use your business coach as a sounding board
Two minds are better than one, right? Extra brainpower from outside your company offers a fresh take on a problem that might be causing your business to stagnate. Sometimes, all you need is a new perspective to highlight something that was in front of you all along.
Plus, a coach is purely dedicated to being your own personal sounding board, with no other worries (a good one will, at least). They can offer judgment-free solutions to a problem and be purely focused on asking powerful questions to get to the bottom of a dilemma.
Con: Finding the right fit
Not only do you have to find the right fit for your business, but you’re looking for a good fit with you personally, as well. It can be difficult to find someone who can cover everything you do and be a guru in all the niches your company has.
This also comes back on you. You have to be open to putting all your trust in the person you’ve hired, otherwise it’s a waste of money and time. You have to know what goals you want to hit. Hiring a coach for a vague purpose isn’t efficient. You must be open to growth and committing 100 percent, otherwise there’s no way you’ll be successful.
Pro: Someone to hold you accountable
Don’t ask me why it works this way, but it seems to be a fact of life: you’re much less likely to break a promise to another person than to yourself. Having that other person around holds you to your goals.
Running a startup can become overwhelming with the number of things demanding your attention, and it’s easy to push things aside for “later on” (which tends to be closer to never than anything else). With a coach, you can sit down and prioritize your goals and what you need to do to accomplish them, then your coach will make sure you follow through. It’s simple, but you’d be amazed at how well it works.
Con: You might not even need one
A business coach is great for a wide range of purposes, but if you’re brand new on the scene and just looking for general guidance or information, there are other options you should look into first. There are many low-cost training programs out there with great information, like books, blogs, short online courses and webinars. This advice won’t be customized for you, but it’s a fraction of the cost. Another option is looking into networking events for similar startups, like on MeetUp or the various events TechCrunch holds.
Pro: Receive guidance
I don’t mean this in the way that they’ll give you specific tools and routes to get to a goal. These are helpful, of course, but in the long term? A lot of those tools will be obsolete in a few years’ time. We’re constantly changing the way we do business. What I’m referring to instead is the mental tools this guidance gives you. You’re being taught how to examine a problem from every possible angle in order to find the path of least resistance to success. This is for both inside and outside of the business world. You’ll gain the confidence needed to charge toward a solution head-on.
In the end…
It’s all up to you and where your business stands. My business decisions are facilitated by my sense of calm. While my coach helps with this, yours could help in an entirely different way. Whatever decision you make, always research your options to find the best fit for your company and for yourself.