Business coaching is getting a lot of play in the social media hubs. You can find many articles that define business coaching and help you to understand why business coaching is effective. I have even written posts on my ideal business coach. However, you don’t see as much information that helps you to determine if you are coachable.
For a business coach to be able to help you, there are several criteria that must be present in you, the business owner.
Business Coaching Criteria #1: Be willing to commit the time to the coaching process.
You will notice that I didn’t say that you must have a bunch of extra time. I don’t think any small business owner would say they had extra time. We usually are wearing too many hats and coaching is one more thing to add to the plate. For business coaching to be effective you must make the time. This may mean putting it first. Carving out the time first thing in the morning (or your most high impact time) to work on the areas that the business coach is helping you with. If you don’t, you won’t be prepared, therefore, you won’t get a lot out of the coaching sessions, and then you will inappropriately assume the coaching isn’t effective for you.
If you are not ready to spend the time, save up your money. Wait until you can commit to the process.
Business Coaching Criteria #2: Be open to new ideas and new ways to do things.
Coaching is a two way street and you should challenge the ideas and plans that a coach may suggest. However, if you are not open to new ways of looking at your business you will not move your business forward towards your goals. The reason to hire a coach is to have an objective professional be able to look at you and your business with new eyes. They will see things that you can’t see because they are not caught up in it. Many times we want our coach to see us as successful and competent, even though we are coming to them for help. Our pride get’s in the way and we are defending every decision and direction we have made for our business. Ultimately, you may stick with a certain plan or direction, all I am saying here is that if you are not open to new input, then you are not coachable at this time.
Business Coaching Criteria #3: Have patience with the process and be realistic with timelines for change and goal achievement.
It takes time to develop a business. Even if you are just launching your business, you have been thinking about it for a long time. Yet, sometimes we expect the expert coach to fix everything in two hours. As a coach I have had people ask why things weren’t changing after two or three weeks. You have to be doing stuff really, really wrong to fix things immediately like that.
To have a really effective coach, you need to give them time to really understand you, your vision, and the business itself. By meeting one hour per week, it may take a little time to truly gain insight. But once that happens, the progress accelerates rapidly.
And remember, even if the great ideas start to develop, it still takes you time to implement. For example, starting a social media strategy, even if you do everything right, will take time to catch on.
Business Coaching Criteria #4: Be willing to open up and provide full disclosure of your strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures.
The longer it takes to open up to the coach, the longer it takes to see results. If you spend three months spoon feeding bits and pieces of information to your coach, they cannot guide your discussion to productive areas. You could spend time on a topic that isn’t even the key issue. As an example, let’s use the issue of employee turnover. If a client has significant employee turnover and tells the coach they need help identifying better candidates, yet, doesn’t disclose for many weeks that they missed payroll 3 times in the last quarter, you will be working on the wrong issue.
Business Coaching Criteria #5: You must be willing to invest the money in coaching.
You noticed that I said willing, not able. If you absolutely are not able, than the whole idea is a moot point. I say willing because most of us have funds, it is what we are willing to spend them on.
Almost all small businesses have limited capital and there is opportunity cost associated with each spending decision. Where can I best put my money to invest in the growth of my business. Coaching is an investment. It is an investment that takes some time. Some coaches say they need a minimum of 3 months to achieve any results. I believe it is completely dependent on the issues and the type of coaching focus you are seeking.
Either way, you must have a feel for the full investment it will take and be willing to forgo other expenditures to complete the investment. If not, you will quit part way through the process and waste the money you did spend or you will put so much pressure on the process to produce results you may skew solutions to less effective long-term strategies.
What about you? Do you have other factors that you use to determine if you are coachable? Have you gone ahead and hired a coach before without considering these factors? How did it work out?
Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC is a business coach who consults with Christian business owners all over the world about building a successful business on a foundation of their Christian values.