If you’re an aspiring business owner, at some point in your entrepreneurship journey, you must have felt overwhelmed. After all, there are so many areas of your business that need your attention. It might cause you to lose your focus and burn out real soon. In these cases, you might be interested to know how to find a business coach.
In this post, we’re going to discuss how to find a business coach for startup founders and entrepreneurs.
What Is Business Coaching?
Business Coaching is a process that helps business owners and entrepreneurs identify their goals, create action plans and achieve success.
The right coaching experience is highly personal and can help you in specific areas where you’ve been struggling including clearing roadblocks, illuminating blind spots, keeping focus, goal setting, marketing, sales, cash flow, startup funding and creating a startup pitch, human resources, creating an affiliate marketing program, building your team, finding a co-founder, mindset, self-confidence, imposter syndrome, digitizing your business, and time management.
They should also be able to work with you on goals that are specific to startup founders and small business owners, like succession and exit planning.
Business coaching is different than general life coaching in that it supports entrepreneurs, business owners, as well as professionals.
Some business coaches are also life coaches. It may be rare to find a coach who has both deep business skills and expertise in helping clients with their mindset, those coaches do exist if you look in the right places.
They are paid and usually work with you face-to-face (online or in-person) on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. Some coaches also offer support in between sessions, asynchronous support, and other things like peer groups.
In short, coaching assists founders by helping them to establish a clearer path to manifesting their vision.
The Basics of Finding a Good Business Coach
“The key of a successful coach unlocks the capacity of the person to achieve his or her goals.” John Whitmore, Coaching Performance 5th Edition.
There are different styles of coaching. The most important thing is that the coach establishes trust and rapport with the client and co-creates a safe space for open and honest conversation. The coach will help the client to see things from different perspectives, find their own answers, and take action.
It’s important to note that when you find the right coach, they’re not there to give advice but to help you to find your own solutions.
The focus is on you and what you want to achieve. If you’re not 100% of your own vision for the future, you might want to interview a few business coaches to see which one you have a good rapport with and who you think could help you to define your goals so that you can build strategies around them.
The coaching process usually starts with a conversation about what the client wants to achieve. The coach then helps the client to clarify their goals and establish a plan of action. The coach will also help the client to identify any obstacles that might be holding them back.
The coaching relationship is built on trust and mutual respect. The coach should provide support and challenge in equal measure.
A good business coach will help the client to:
- Achieve their goals
- Make better decisions
- Take action
- Overcome obstacles
- Become aware of their blind spots
- Identify their strengths
6 Reasons Why You Might Want to Hire a Business Coach
CEOs, founders, and executives often feel lonely. Without an accountability partner, many entrepreneurs find it difficult to achieve their maximum goals. Leadership helps in creating teams whereas business coaches help in creating leaders.
In a business relationship, you have a great advantage. If you’re the founder then you’re ultimately signing the paychecks of everyone in your company.
In your business relationships, you may have a great influence over the other stakeholders but the coach-client relationship is different. You’re paying someone to help you become a better version of yourself.
Coaches offer an unbiased 3rd party perspective that other people, like your employees, your investors, or even your co-founders, may not feel comfortable sharing with you.
Here are six reasons why you might want to hire a business coach:
1. You’re Feeling Stuck
If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and can’t see a way out, then a business coach can help you to find a new perspective. They will help you to identify your goals and establish a plan of action.
2. You Want to Make Better Decisions
If you’re finding it difficult to make decisions, a business coach can help you. Business coaches can train you on tools that will help you to make decisions.
3. You’re Not Achieving Your Goals
If you’re not achieving your goals, it might be because you’re not taking action. A business coach will help you to establish a plan of action and hold you accountable.
4. You Want to Take Your Business to the Next Level
If you want to take your business to the next level, then a business coach can help you. They will help you to identify your goals and establish a plan of action.
5. You’re Feeling Alone
If you’re feeling alone, then a business coach can provide support and challenge in equal measure.
6. You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” A business coach can help you to identify your blind spots and take action.
What Makes A Great Business Coach?
A good business coach should have:
- An ability to establish trust and rapport
- An ability to co-create a safe space
- An ability to challenge the client
- An ability to provide support
- An unbiased perspective
- Personal experience that can help them relate to what you’re going through as a founder
- Trust your gut and find someone who feels like a good fit for you
How Do I Find The Right Business Coach?
If you’re thinking about hiring a business coach, make sure that they have these qualities.
You might want to find an entrepreneur coach who has relevant experience for you.
For example, you can seek out a founder coach who’s been a founder; a CEO coach who’s been a CEO or you might want to find a coach who can relate on a more personal level like a business coach for women, or a black business coach.
Keep in mind that while it can be helpful, it’s not always necessary to find a coach with the same experiences that you have.
Many entrepreneur coaches, for example, have no entrepreneurial experience except for starting their own coaching practices. Coaches who have experience both in coaching and in business skills are harder to find, but they do exist so dig a little deeper if that’s important to you.
Also, most coaches have testimonials on their websites. A good business coach will also be able to provide current or former clients as references.
Often business coaches will offer to schedule an initial free consultation. This is an opportunity for you to meet with the coach and for the coach to assess whether they think they can help you.
6 Types of Business Coaching
There’re lots of types of business coaches. Here are six types of notable business coaches:
1. One-on-one Business Coaching
One-on-one business coaching is the most common type of coaching. In this type of coaching, you get individual attention by meeting with your coach on a regular basis, usually weekly or bi-weekly. The focus of the coaching is on you and your goals.
One-on-one business coaching can be expensive, so make sure that you’re clear on the coach’s fee structure before you commit. One-on-one coaching was traditionally offered through in-person meetings.
Back then, it was sometimes problematic to find a good fit who was also in your local area. Now, however, it’s common to meet with your coach online.
Thus making it easier for you to find the right fit.
2. Group Business Coaching
In group business coaching, you meet with a group of other business owners who are at a similar stage in their businesses.
The group usually meets on a regular basis, such as weekly or monthly. Group business coaching can be less expensive than one-on-one coaching, but it can also be less effective if the group is not well-matched.
You can also find business coaching groups, which are usually less expensive. These groups typically meet once a week or once a month, and the meetings are either led by a facilitator rather than a coach.
Finally, there are online business coaching programs, which can be a good option if you’re looking for a more affordable option.
3. Business Coaching for Startups
If you’re starting a business, the right coach for you might have experience with startups.
This is because startup coaches will understand the unique challenges that you’re facing. They’ll be able to support you with things like developing your business model, raising capital, and building your team.
I know that for me and a few other founders I’ve talked to, demystifying the fundraising process and understanding pitch expectations is huge. Our sessions were really helpful for me both strategically and in helping me feel confident as I dove into fundraising. ~Christian Maynard-Philipp, Founder & CEO of the Good Investor
4. Business Coaching for Small Businesses
If you have a small business, you might want to work with a small business coach because small business coaches understand the unique challenges that you’re facing.
They’ll be able to help you with things like marketing, sales, and customer service.
I have worked with Diane for 6 months and I have received my first check from a client. I am continuing to write more proposals for the potential clients who reached out to me. I made my progress, slow and steady with Diane by my side, who pushed me when necessary (and I needed a lot of pushing), listened to my complaints and agitations, and recognized my small victories. Sometimes I didn’t know if I was making any progress, and sometimes I was disappointed, but I realized that was all part of the process; It was all worth it! ~ Wenpei Wang, Founder of Plant Play Lab
5. Business Coaching for Women
If you’re a woman business owner or startup founder, the right business coach for you might be a woman business coach. They’ll be able to uniquely understand some of your unique challenges.
6. Business Coaching for Entrepreneurs
If you’re an entrepreneur, you might want to find a coach who specializes in working with entrepreneurs. This is because entrepreneurship coaches understand the unique challenges that you’re facing. They’ll be able to help you with things like developing your business idea, launching your business, and scaling your business.
I could have never built my product without you! ~Christabel Agbonkonkon, Founder of BlackUp (where AI helps black people to find jobs)
How to Find a Business Coach: Top 3 Ways
1. Online Search
Covid-life made the world a lot smaller in terms of finding the right people who can help you with your business. While traditionally you may have looked only in your local area, that can really limit your ability to get to the person with the right skills that will help you to manifest your goals.
As a business coach, my practice took off when people became more comfortable meeting online. It’s allowed me to work with clients from all over the world, including Mallorca, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and from 7 different states in the US. Working with many global clients makes me more aware of various current-day business challenges that founders face when building their companies.
2. Your Network
Tap into your network of other founders to see who has had a good experience with their coach. You may be surprised how many of your peers are already working with coaches.
3. Online Forums
Are you active in any online forums? Some of my own clients found me through Elpha, a professional network dedicated to helping women succeed at work together.
Clients have also found me through an online happy hour called Funders and Founders (dm for info) that I regularly attend.
From personal experience, clients have also hired me after reading my comments on LinkedIn, hearing me guest on podcasts, and reading interviews such as What Entrepreneurs Should Know Before Hiring a Business Coach [Expert Interview]
What To Look For During A Free Consultation
Many coaches offer a free consultation. Here are some things to look out for during that time, and your first few sessions:
- Do they take risks in sharing observations to help you illuminate blind spots, or do they tell you what you want to hear?
- Do they actively listen to you?
- Do they provide insight into possibilities that help you in planning and decision-making?
- Do they identify obstacles in your field of vision?
- Do they shed light on your strengths, encouraging you to stretch and expand your opportunities?
- Do they act professionally, demonstrate that they hold boundaries, and act ethically?
Be warned that there are a lot of not-so-good coaches out there. Even if they hold a certification, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be the right fit for you.
But if you are open to learning new skills, uncovering your blind spots, and upgrading your entrepreneurial journal, coaching could be a game-changer for you and your business.
It’s also worth noting that the founder being coached is just as responsible for the relationship’s success as the coach.
If you really want to dig in and be a great coachee, read a book like Co-Active Coaching which can give you valuable insight to maximize your investment.