Small business owner coaching may differ significantly as their needs are not the same as a large business. The goals and challenges faced will require, therefore, a different set of expertise and experience so one coach may not suit both types of businesses.
Typically a start-up will be hoping to develop and grow, especially within the initial few months of its launch whilst a large-scale business may be trying to up-scale after hitting a plateau. So, in this article, we’ll be exploring the differences between the two routes and identifying how you can ensure you work with the right coach for your organisation.
What does a business coach do?
Executive coaches will focus on your companies goals, discussing with you the purpose behind the organisation and identifying what you want to achieve alongside where the gaps are that may prevent you from accomplishing these goals. This is particularly crucial for start-ups, as the stress of trying to properly your company forward in a highly diluted market can see you lose focus of your objectives. And, experienced business owners, with any degree of success, have already overcome the bulk of the challenges entrepreneurs face every day. But, this is not to say a large scale company would not benefit from coaching too. However, a small business owner may find it difficult handing over some of the responsibility or investing in a coach.
Coaches will focus not only on growth but also on streamlining existing processes and reestablishing motivation, ultimately boosting productivity levels and reducing stress. Small business owner coaching should be considered a long term investment, as whilst the initial focus may be to upscale the company with the coaches expertise, it is not enough to stop there. You may find your business plateaus should you then stop after reaching your first goal with a coach, you’ll need their continued advice and guidance to ensure this development is not in vain.
Whether you are a small or large scale business, a coach will take your goals and build an actionable plan that will see you progress effectively towards the desired outcome. The main difference is the focus of the sessions, usually, this is development and growth for a small business.
Small business owner coaching: How to find the right coach for you
It’s clear to understand why you might be in need of a business coach, but the difficulty may lie in where to actually find the right coach for your business. Simply, it all comes down to their philosophy and methods and whether or not these align with your own. However, we’ve created a list to assist you in your search:
#1 Reach out to your network
Before expanding your search online, reach out to other entrepreneurs or business owners within your own network. A referral is a great way to find a business coach, and immediately this will instil a sense of confidence in the service you’ll receive. However, you should keep in mind that your needs may again be different to your peers and therefore, their suggestions may prove to be inappropriate for you.
You could also try speaking to networking groups too – LinkedIn is a significantly underused professional resource but it can provide you with essential answers. Consider joining a group specifically for entrepreneurs or business owners and ask for the recommendations or experiences using a particular coach to identify if one of these suggestions could be a potential option for you too.
#2 Search general terms online
The internet is our go-to for suggestions, but to find an effective, established business coach you’ll want to be looking for keywords online such as executive coaching or small business owner coaching. This will bring up the top selection of business coaches, but remember to not take everything at straight value. You’ll need to cross-reference to ensure you work with a reputable, successful coach that will actually provide you with the right results otherwise, you may risk losing your investment.
#3 Trial a complimentary consultation first
The majority of coaches will offer a complimentary session or consultation first to allow you to determine whether you’ll be able to successfully work together long-term. You should avoid any that will not speak to you personally before you sign a contract, this may be an indication that you won’t receive a high-quality service.
Whilst in the complimentary trail, take notice of the coaches behaviour – are they an active listener and are they asking you the right questions to understand your business better? Remember to be honest and transparent throughout – leave your presumptions at the door.
Of course, the coach should also detail their methods, tactics and who their ideal client is. The best coaches will ensure they only take on clients that meet their client persona, as they’ll know they can successfully work with the client to provide results.
#4 Speak to past clients
Much like your initial search led you to speak to your network, when you find a potential coach be sure to also check their reviews with past clients. If you can find honest reviews, you can build up a picture and create certain expectations for the service.
You should also ask to hear the coaches direct opinion – their success stories and those that didn’t thrive as they’d hoped for. It’s important to see how they address this difficult conversation, do they skim around negativity? There will also be challenges in business, and coaching is not a guarantee so you’ll want to feel confident that during your working relationship they will not hide any difficulties from you and only present you with the highlights as this will be ineffective.
Furthermore, a business coach is not there to implement the change instead they act as a guide. But, it’s important to understand their communication between sessions as one method may motivate and encourage you more than another. For example, you may feel you are held more accountable with regular video chats rather than a sporadic phone call.
#6 Don’t restrict yourself locally
We have become accustomed to only searching locally when it comes to a service, but with such technological advancements in recent years this is no longer an issue. If you find the right match but they are not in a nearby location, don’t discount this perfect fit! Instead, they’ll be able to offer you video chat or phone call sessions – they may even be able to travel the distance monthly to see you in person too.
#7 Ensure your personalities align
Change doesn’t happen overnight, you need to be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Before making the commitment to a coach, you need to not only be willing to work with them but you also need to feel comfortable being upfront and honest too.
If you find it difficult to communicate or feel awkward around your business coach, that may be an indication that you are not the right match. And, if you sign a binding contract and become stuck, you may see your investment wash away. Therefore, it is vital you align your personalities.
Finding small business owner coaching
Small business coaching shares some similarities with larger-scale coaching; at its core, the focus will always be on guidance and support to reach a particular goal. The main difference will be this desired outcome – an experienced business owner has likely already tackled the challenges an entrepreneur faces daily.
It’s not necessary to work with a coach that specialises in small businesses, instead, your search should centre around what philosophy and methods the coach will utilise throughout your time together. If this raises red flags in your mind, it’s likely that’s not the business coach for you. And, if you are struggling to find a match, remember to reach out to those that have been in your position. Avoid rushing into a contract before first understanding all the different options available to you. Particularly as a small business owner, your profits are hugely valuable and you need to ensure these are invested wisely.
Do you need a business coach for your small start-up? The initial launch of your organisation is key, and you don’t want to delay. The opportunity for growth and development in the first few months should not be overlooked – this is a key period and will have a significant effect on the overall success of your business. It’s crucial you work with a business coach that you can trust to deliver results and offer you the very best return on your investment.
We’re passionate about great businesses and great causes. Developing a great corporate social responsibility plan is a fantastic way of generating business. Yep, giving for good causes will generate you more business. Every single month we give away free resources in exchange for a suggested donation to directly support our chosen charity Action for A-T.