Christina Holloway is an 1871 mentor, and a leadership and development business coach. In this mentor insights blog, she talks about the value business coaches can bring to entrepreneurs and how to go about finding the right fit.
Guest Author: Christina Holloway, Executive Coach & Advisor for Emerging Leaders
So, you’ve decided to hire a coach, but you’re not sure what comes next. You may have been told that hiring and working with a leadership or business coach can fall into two categories — either they’re not very good, or they’re so expensive that you couldn’t possibly afford to work with one. This isn’t completely true, and once you’ve weeded out both ends of the spectrum, you’ll find many mid-market coaches who are great and cost effective. Keep in mind, however, even good mid-market coaches will charge a premium for their time. If your goal is to grow your business and revenue stream, then you’ll find that it’s money well spent.
If you’re not sure it’s time to hire a coach, then the following three scenarios will help you better understand what a coach can and cannot do for you.
- You feel stuck and unable to get to the next level in your career or business.
If you’re finding that the decisions you considered simple in the past have now become more complicated, or you struggle with suddenly feeling like you cannot handle the changes that are coming in your business, you might want to work with a coach for three to six months to talk about what those changes will mean for you and your company.
Hiring a leadership or business coach will do wonders for changing a damaging mindset or limiting belief. A coach can help you cross a metaphorical bridge that represents an evolution you’ve wanted but weren’t sure how to materialize. I’ve worked with many leaders who’ve told me that they simply appreciate being able to talk to someone neutral about the big decisions they’re facing. Coaching techniques like behavioral coaching or perceptual coaching can help a business leader to grow and evolve quickly with impressive results.
Coaches can give direction, conduct research, provide training and give limited advice if you ask for it. On the other hand, they should not be driving your progress for you. If you run into a coach that gives you the names of colleagues, business contacts, or preferred vendors who will do additional work for you at a special price, then you should proceed with caution. Many coaches have a hybrid coaching and consulting business model, like I do, and will offer a variety of coaching packages to fit your needs. If it sounds like you’re getting too much, then ask if they offer a pure coaching package, which should cost less money.
- Your business is not growing fast enough.
This is one of the most common reasons business owners hire coaches. If you’re not seeing the results you expected, then a coach can help. Businesses that are not growing will typically have problems with sales and marketing, productivity, finding the right target market, and visibility in their industry. A business owner with a low performing business is typically struggling with cash flow and will face some tough decisions if they cannot right the ship quickly enough.
A business coach working with a slow growing company can help a business leader with time management, engaging and mobilizing their employees, developing high performing teams, communicating simply and powerfully, and creating an effective business strategy for growth. If you’re struggling with growth, you want to make sure to ask the coach what kind of guarantees they offer along with their coaching package. A coach confident in their ability to help you find new revenue streams will easily offer a money back guarantee if you don’t see results quickly.
- Your business is growing incredibly fast.
Business owners in this situation typically realize they need leadership coaching after something has gone wrong. A recent example is Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, who stated that he was seeking the advice of a leadership coach after complaints of a toxic culture at Uber became public. These are business owners who are under a tremendous amount of stress to turn their innovative and popular ideas into profitable and sustainable businesses. In my coaching practice, I’m finding many business owners on the cusp of great expansion seeking out coaches earlier and more often. There’s a big difference between leading a start-up, running a small business and transforming it into a large profitable corporation. A business leader who has successfully redefined their leadership style throughout the process has been seeking advice from coaches, mentors and advisors along the way.
For a company that’s growing very fast, a business coach can work with a leader on creating a healthy culture, influencing others, developing a powerbase, fostering collaboration, executing on a strategic development plan and creating an effective advisory board and executive team. When looking for a coach that can help with leadership development through transformation, make sure to ask plenty of questions about their previous work and expertise. A coach with extensive experience helping companies establish their operations, financials and management teams will be able to set out a plan for a solid foundation – one on which you can grow your business comfortably, no matter how fast it starts to happen for you.
On a final note, there are many different types of coaches out there and many different solutions that they provide. Make sure you understand what your coaching package includes, ask questions about the coach’s background and test the relationship with a trial-offer. Finding a good coach is going to help you identify your problems, solve them quickly and make incredible progress. Make sure it’s a good fit.
Christina Holloway is a leadership development and business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, and Fast Company. To learn more, visit her website at www.christinaholloway.com.
The opinions expressed here by 1871 guest writers are their own, not those of 1871.