Finding a business coach: The questions you need to ask

You’ve finally taken the plunge and wrested your small business dream from your mind’s eye into reality. Great! The next step in the process is to produce a comprehensive plan that will help make your business a roaring success.

The problem is, so many paths are available for you to travel after hanging up your company shingle. Unfortunately, some of them lead to a common outcome—the demise of your company. The good news is that if you know how to avoid typical business pitfalls before they spring up, you could circumvent the grim statistic of falling to the wayside in the first six months.

This is where a qualified, highly trained business coach can help.

What is a business coach?

Let’s say you’re in a prime district and your product is amazing, but for some reason, sales figures are dismal.

Enter your own personal business coach.

Acting as something of a consultant, a business coach is usually someone who has run their own successful company and now wants to help others thrive in the same way. They help business owners tackle the issues that could be behind a lack of movement.

On a more interpersonal note, a business coach can help you really get into the heart of what’s driving you. They will help you identify answers to questions like: Why do you want to run your own business? What motivates you? Will your long-term goals lead to personal fulfillment?

By asking and getting answers to these types of questions, a business coach can assess what you mentally need in order to be properly motivated to forge ahead, even during tough economic times. Your motivations can make or break your company. Running a business is tough, so you must be in it to win it.

For instance, if you’re simply entering the dental field because someone suggested you should, that’s a problem. Coming from an extensive line of dentists is awesome, but if you’d rather be a musician, how much energy will you really invest in the growth of a dental business you start?

A lot of business success is due to mindset, desire and determination.

What does a business coach do?

A business coach isn’t a business analyst per se. While they can look at the books and assess your company’s growth, they act more as a partner in devising plans for your business based on your personal outlook.

For example, a comprehensive coaching plan might entail:

  • Finding creative solutions to common problems based on your and your team’s emotional needs. By addressing the inherently emotional nature of a workspace, you increase positive work-life balance and foster an open work culture. Happy workers drive productivity, which in turn increases profits.

  • Building leadership abilities on a foundation of mutual team trust and respect. Your team won’t respond well to being managed with an iron fist. They want a leader they can depend on, who also cares about them as individuals first.

  • Mentoring the business owner so they can implement complicated yet time-honored business systems. This process is hard to wade through if your mind isn’t in the right place.

  • An honest assessment of your business strengths and weaknesses. Instead of merely being a cheerleader, a good business coach will force you to take stock of what’s wrong, as well as what’s right, with your company.

A business is only as strong as its weakest part.

Far too often, companies slack on crafting an inclusive, positive culture by focusing on profit alone. This is backward thinking given the fact that employee satisfaction can drive a company’s success.

Happy employees start with a happy, well-adjusted boss. For this reason, a business coach can become a work-life guru that helps you keep your business outlook strong even when things look bleak.

Do I truly need a business coach?

If your business paradigm looks good on paper, but you’re experiencing high turnover, an increase in consumer complaints and/or a toxic work environment, it may be time to consider a business coach.

Before you take the leap, just remember what a business coach officially does. Their goal is to get you in the proper mindset to tackle your concerns. This will require doing some deep soul searching and being honest with yourself.

If you’re ready to do that, you’ll be able to benefit from finding a business coach.

How do I know if a business coach is the right fit?

A great business coach will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of your company and help you address them accordingly. Like a coach on a sports field, they’ll give you a pep talk when you need it but also point out where and why you fumbled the ball if necessary.

How will I find a coach I can trust?

Word of mouth is one option. This can include testimonials from friends or colleagues who have found a successful liaison with their own corporate coaches.

Just remember to trust but verify. Vet the coaches to see if they’ve run their own successful company. Learn more about their story. Listen to your instincts and find someone who can help train and get you ready to go and effectively play and compete in the big game.

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