I’m a big believer in business coaches. I know, shocker, right? But seriously, having a business coach helping you call the shots in the dugout makes all the difference when you get out on the field and, you know, run your business. Business coaches can be many things. They can guide your hiring decisions, streamline your processes, help you focus on marketing, or just generally kick your butt and keep you on track to achieving your goals. Unfortunately, finding the right business coach for you isn’t always a walk in the park.
Picking a business coach is a big, hairy decision. You want someone you feel comfortable with, but you also want a coach who pushes you and your business to grow and thrive. While all business coaches tout themselves as people who can help you accomplish your business goals, whatever they may be, not every coach is going to be for you. And that’s totally okay! You, like everyone else on the planet, are a unique and wonderful individual with an equally unique and wonderful personality. Not all personalities mesh, and not all business coaches are going to specialize in exactly what your business embodies. So, how do you pick a coach who will cheer you on, kick your butt, and help you take your business to unimaginable new, exciting places?
Personality is a Lot of It
I’d like to say there’s a science to knowing who you’re going to work best with. That’s just not the case. A lot of my clients and I decided to work together because we “clicked.” I know, not super helpful. All I can say is you’ll know it when you feel it. And, more importantly, if you aren’t feeling “it” for some reason (or you aren’t feeling anything at all) that is probably the wrong coach for you! A business coach is a very intimate person in your life. If you don’t feel like you can adequately express to them your business goals, your fears and anxieties, or your failings, the relationship will not be as fruitful as you want it to be.
Understand What You Want
Before you start looking for a business coach, it can be helpful to know what you want out of a coaching relationship. Are you looking for income growth? More clients? Fewer clients but a higher price point? To rebrand? To market yourself better? To grow your practice by several more advisors in the next few years? There are so many reasons you could be looking for the guidance of a seasoned business coach. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find the one who’s exactly right for you if you’re not sure what you want them to help you with. So, sit down. Make a list. Decide what’s important, and go find someone who can help get you there.
Find a Coach Who Knows Your Business
I work with a lot of financial advisors. However, in the financial world, there are so many different kinds of businesses and firms. That’s why it’s important to find a coach who knows your world – whatever that may be. If you’re a fiduciary, find a coach who knows fiduciary advisors inside and out. If you’re an agent, find a coach who focuses on your side of the financial universe. This can help to ensure that your goals and your coach’s goals are aligned. Similar viewpoints eliminate a lot of awkward conversation trying to explain your business’s situation or disagreements about where your business should be growing to.
Do You Need a Coach with a Designation?
I’ve been a business coach for a long time. I’ll openly admit that I don’t have a designation. When I got started with Kimberlite Coaching I seriously considered it. But after a lot of thought and several opinions from experts in the industry who I trusted deeply, I decided it wasn’t ultimately worth it. Designation is great, but finding a coach who has industry experience can go a long way. For example, I worked with advisors for 12 years before starting Kimberlite Coaching 2 years ago. That experience has taught me a lot about the different roadblocks that my clients are going to face, and how to best navigate them so that their practices can thrive. However, if you’re determined to find someone with a designation, that’s fine. I recommend sticking with someone who is ICF certified – it’s a great program, and one I really trust.
Don’t Pick Someone Safe
Yes, a coach should be able to provide you a safe space to share your goals, fears, and success stories. But they shouldn’t be a cheerleader 100% of the time. A coach is there to push you out of your comfort zone to help you grow. They need to be able to deliver the hard truths that you might not always want to hear. More than that, though, they need to care deeply about you, your business, and your success. Every time I work with a client, I feel like their business is my own. I’m so emotionally invested in their growth and goal achievement, and it motivates me and them to work harder, make tough choices for their business, and push past where they’ve stopped themselves before to see real success and improvement. So, don’t pick someone safe. Pick someone you get along with, but who will kick your booty into gear.
What Should You Be Asking Them?
The one question I feel is the most important for you to ask a potential business coach is how they’re continuing to grow themselves. A coach shouldn’t be stagnant. Just because they’re working on helping clients grow their businesses doesn’t mean they’re off the hook for growing theirs. Ask them what they’re doing to learn or improve their own coaching business, or how they’re looking to grow in the next year. A good coach practices what they preach, and they’ll have an answer for you.
We live in a world with many advisors, and there are many business coaches out there who service this group specifically. If you’re looking for a coach, seek out someone who can speak to your business and your personal worldview. You’re going to be working alongside this person for a while – you’re in the trenches together to improve your business. Who do you want to be next to when the going gets rough? Or who do you want to celebrate your successes with? Those are the questions you should be asking!
I know there’s a coach out there for you. If you’re currently searching, feel free to contact me! I’m a business coach who specializes in working with fee-only advisors on growing and optimizing their practices. I look forward to hearing from you, and good luck with your search!