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 been through several coaches in their quest for self-improvement and success after a coaching relationship broke down or progress stagnated.
Entrepreneurs with experience of business coaching shared their tips for success and they fell into seven categories.
Figure out what you’re looking for
First, get clear on why you are exploring coaching and what you hope to think and do differently as a result. Sometimes people want a coach but aren’t always clear on their goals or focus areas.
“Be ultra-clear on where you need coaching 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 pick the right one.” She said there is, “No point trying to hire one that you think will fix everything.”
Seek a personal connection
Make sure you choose a coach that resonates with you. The relationship is what makes the transformative conversations powerful. If you aren’t 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.
Just as you resonate with them, you should feel like they resonate with you. “Personally,” said Sarah Noll Wilson, author “I love that my business coach is also deeply invested in the success of me 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. The alignment of values and understanding of your personal and business goals shapes your entire relationship. “Research their content to see if your values align,” said Itamar Marani. “Ask them what their values are. Would you want to have lunch with them?”
It’s not just before signing the coaching contract that this matters. Throughout your relationship, notice signs that your values may have strayed apart. Is your coach edging you towards a decision you’re unsure about? Has their language changed from 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 each week won’t get you anywhere fast. Alexey Kochenay, founder of Wizard on Demand, believes that, “Just showing up to the coaching sessions isn’t sufficient. You have to take the time to do your part as the person that’s being coached.” He said this means, “Journalling, reflecting on questions, reading books to discuss them with the coach later.”
Having a wonderful coach but not putting in the effort to make the most out 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 ready to take action on that guidance in order to see the results.”
Do the follow-up work
The coaching session is just the beginning. After committing and showing up, you have to see the work through to completion. Entrepreneur and author Susanne Grant recommends you, “Prepare, show up and do the work. But most of all, start implementing it.” She believes not doing this renders coaching useless. “There is no point to coaching if you are not going to apply it and make the tools your own.”
Pippa Goulden, founder of The PR Set agrees the 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 you will face resistance along the path of 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’re not doing their job. You must be prepared to question your beliefs, 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 greater significance and meaning. A good coach will explore these powerful representations in a way you might not have considered.” Be open to their questions and explanations of your words.
Publicist Brenda Gabriel wants you to be open minded about your flaws too. “Go into the coaching relationship willing to explore the parts of yourself that are flawed and have an open mind,” believing that, “you might learn ways to do things you wouldn’t normally think of or believe will work.”
Drop your defenses
Going into a session with your walls up ready to attack questions and shut down prompts will not serve you when being coached. Instead, drop your defenses. “Stay curious during the process.” recommends Deborah Humphrey of The Wellbeing Story, who added, “those who let their defenses drop and allow themselves to play and be curious find coaching rewarding.” Or as Hannah Miller, founder of sidekick simply put, “Choose vulnerability”.
Business coach Alison Callan advised you, “Go all in with your thoughts, communication, hopes and dreams.” Callan believes that, “Without full flowing truth and openness a coach cannot support you to see a clear pathway,” which is why you should drop your defenses and not hold back and also, she added, “why it’s incredibly important to feel connected and safe with your coach.”
Figure out what you’re looking for before committing, then drop your defenses and go all in. Seek a coach with shared values, who you believe can help you on your path. Do your research, ask the questions, weigh up the pros and cons before making the decision. After that, be present in the sessions and follow through with the work. Your life could transform before your (and their) very eyes.