I've meet a lot of business coaches in my travels and I'm always amazed by the diversity.
There are specialized coaching for every little thing. Facebook Coach, Twitter Expert, LinkedIn Guru, Pinterest Maven. There are sales coaches, marketing coaches, financial experts, debt experts, and wealth experts... And that is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 575,600 new jobs created each year in the consulting industry. And trying to identify your perfect accountability partner can be a bit frustrating. After all, “Everyone needs a coach” and “Choosing the right coach will make the difference between success and failure”.
Personally, I resisted the title of 'coach' and 'consultant' for a long time. I had hired a number of them for my companies over the years and I just didn’t want to be one of these people who swoop in and make a bunch of pretty recommendation, tell you where you and your team are failing and then sell you several copies of collected writings to study until the next quarter when they come back and do it all again.
But then (later in life) I realized it was time to start sharing some of the things I had learned from 32 years of running companies. I wanted to share my stories and admit my mistakes and maybe help new business owners have an easier time as they tred the entrepreneurial highway. I gave myself the title Strategic Thinking Partner and quickly earned the privilege of working with some very cool people.
Here is my take on choosing a consultant:
Most coaches have good intentions. Many have specialized knowledge and can go deep into their subject. Some seem cooler and can give a great talk and have excellent handouts. And there are a few who really have never done anything at all in business and provide nothing to their victims…I mean clients.
My recommendation for the perfect coach goes something like this;
- Look for someone you like. Somebody you want to open up to.
- Look for someone who has demonstrable knowledge and has a track record on the subjects you specifically want help with now.
- Look for someone that can take you from where you are today and build things up from there.
- Be confident that the person you're engaging has your best interest at heart because they'll give you a little piece of themselves as they work with you to build your dream.
- Remember what Wallace Wattles taught. The consumer should receive more in use value than what they have paid in cash value. In other words, your consultant/guru/expert/coach should be slightly over delivering on what you've agreed to.
- Get everything in writing. You have the right know exactly what you are buying. If a coach won’t provide that specific information, walk away.
- Always perform due diligence. You want to make sure they are who they say they are, and they can do what they say they can do. (trusted professional services are best)
Once you have found the perfect coach commit to listening to them, weighing their counsel and learn to grow out of your comfort zone.
A coach should be able to do two things:
- To make you better than you are now.
- To test you and to track your progress.
Just as in sports the coach is not the athlete. They cannot run laps for you or shoot free throws or lift the weights. They teach and you perform. No matter how great a coach you find, nothing releases you from the responsibility of running your own business.
When you've taken the time and found the right person the payoff is huge. Your burdens will feel a little lighter, your course a little clearer, and your successes a whole lot bigger because you took the time to find the right coach.