Guest post by Charlie Poznek
When I first started my online business, I had no idea what a business coach was, let alone why I needed one. I was much more concerned with the technical aspects of building a website, launching a podcast, and figuring out what social media was all about.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that hiring a business coach would’ve saved me hours each week, and not just when it came to learning to format my Twitter profile.
I learned that a business coach is crucial to speeding up the learning curve, connecting with your target market, and avoiding expensive mistakes that new online business owners tend to make. In essence, hiring a coach will get you in the game faster, keep you there longer, and let you focus on building your brand and connecting with customers.
So how do you find the business coach of your dreams?
1. Clarify your values
What matters most to you in your business, and as a human being? For me, giving back is a huge part of why I do what I do. When looking for a coach, it was important to me to work with someone who shared that value. I didn’t care if they were the most well-respected business coach in the world; if their values didn’t match mine, I didn’t want to work with them.
Your values don’t necessarily have to be personal or moral in nature - they might include your working style, or what’s most important to you in a professional relationship.
For example, do you value someone who gives it to you straight, or someone who is more nurturing? Are you a go-with-the-flow type of person, or do you prefer to have everything planned out?
Figure out which values are most important to you in a working relationship before beginning your search for the perfect coach or mentor.
2. Set expectations
What do you expect to get out of working with a business coach?
Would you like a coach who…
- will answer frantic phone calls in the middle of the night?
- meets with you for hours at a time?
- conducts sessions strictly over Skype?
- follows up with you even after you’ve completed your sessions?
Start to think about your expectations of the relationship, including how much time you want to spend working with your coach and what you expect them to teach you. Some people may want a good listener, while others may want to be told exactly what to do and how to do it. What’s your preference?
You should also consider how you want to work with your coach:
Would you prefer…
- One-on-one power sessions?
- Mastermind groups?
- Live webinars?
- Weekly phone calls?
If you’d rather be face to face than on the phone, look for a local coach who can meet with you in person. If you’re busy with a full time job and can barely squeeze in a weekly webinar, find a coach who can work around your schedule.
You should also clearly state the goal of working with a coach. How will you know if the coaching relationship has been successful?
Make a list of exactly what you want help with, and what you want to achieve. You might want something as basic as help setting up your website, or something as esoteric as defining the feeling of your brand. Get specific so you can find the perfect person to deliver what you need.
3. Create a budget
You can spend $25 on a business coach or $25,000. What’s your budget?
Keep in mind that the most expensive mentor in the world doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best mentor in the world.
Many business coaches offer monthly packages that include weekly phone calls and email support. Generally speaking, one-on-one coaching will be more expensive than group coaching, but you’ll receive less attention.
An experienced, well-known business coach might charge upwards of $500/hour for his or her time. If you fall in love with a coach and find out their price point is too high, don’t give up right away. Contact them first to see if they have a payment plan or a program that’s within your price range.
4. Schedule an interview
Once you’ve found someone who shares your values, meets your expectations, and falls within your budget, it’s time to set up an interview.
If the business coach you’re interested in is highly successful, you may feel intimidated and fall into what I like to call the “pick me!” mentality. Remember that there has to be chemistry on both sides in order for a relationship to work. If this coach is recommended by everyone but you get a bad vibe from them, it’s not worth the investment.
Prepare a list of questions for your interview, and be sure to take note of how you feel during the interview. Do you feel listened to? Does the coach seem confident that they can help you?
A good business coach will be extremely interested in hearing all the details of where you are now and where you want to go - without those details, he or she has no way of knowing if the coaching relationship will be a good fit.
Finally, make sure that you like the person you’re about to hire. They may have all the knowledge and expertise in the world, but if you dread spending an hour on the phone with them, you’ll be wasting your money.
Charlie Poznek is the Founder and CEO of The Boomer Business Owner with Charlie Poznek, a podcast that helps Baby Boomers create a spectacular life through successfully starting and running an online business.
Have you ever hired a business coach? What was your experience like? Use the COMMENTS area below and join the conversation!