According to The Alternative Board’s most recent Business Pulse Survey, 81% of entrepreneurs have seen a positive impact on their business from business coaching. Of course, business coaching comes in all shapes and sizes, and choosing the right coach for your business is essential to a positive ROI.
The survey considered some of the most important questions owners ask when choosing a coach to help improve their business. The answers to these questions as well as the insight found within the survey are not only beneficial to those seeking business coaching, but to business coaches looking to bring on new clients or improve their current services.
Whether you’re looking to bring on a business coach or build out your service offerings, the following questions are an excellent place to get started on your business coaching journey.
There’s one thing 73% of business owners can agree on: other business owners make the best business coaches. In fact, the majority of entrepreneurs surveyed chose other business owners as their number one most trusted advisor — placing them over traditional business coaches and family members. Why?
Regardless of size, industry, or value, 70% of businesses face the same challenges. Experienced business owners, with any degree of success, have already overcome the bulk of the challenges entrepreneurs face everyday. Their first-hand experience is likely to hold the answers to any pressing issues.
What is a business coach?
The answer to this may seem obvious, but it’s important to differentiate between a business coach and a business consultant. Consultants are brought on to provide solutions to business challenges, while coaches help business owners find the answers themselves. Consultants solve problems — coaches train leaders. Karen Greetstreet at Passion for Business provides an excellent analogy for understanding the difference:
“A business coach will help you understand how and why you ride a bicycle, help you to determine what’s holding you back from riding properly, and jog along next to you as you ride.
A business consultant will explain why one bike is superior to another, teach you how to ride the bike, and if necessary, ride the bike for you.”
There’s no right or wrong, or better or worse way when it comes to choosing the right advisor for your business. It’s up to you to reflect on your business’s challenges and needs and determine whether you need a business coach, consultant, or both.
According to the survey results: always. Business owners were nearly split down the middle on whether a business coach is more important when the market is strong or the market is weak. “Business owners see the value in retaining a business coach both in a healthy business climate and an unhealthy one,” says TAB Vice President David Scarola. “The question isn’t when do you need a business coach, but what do you need it for.”
Where do I find a business coach?
The best way to find a business coach is to turn to your personal network. 85% of business owners agree that personal referrals are the most reliable method for finding the right business coach. This comes as little surprise, considering last year’s survey on how business owners choose the vendors they work with.
The majority of business owners surveyed in the 2014 study selected “other business owners using the products or services” as the most influential individual or group when making purchasing decisions for their company.
Why do I need a business coach?
The number one reason you need a business coach is to help you become a more effective leader. More specifically, those surveyed believe a business coach can best assist business owners who have trouble with accountability, growing revenue/reducing costs, voicing their business concerns, hiring more capable employers, and projecting themselves to key stakeholders and their business’s community.
Of these pain points, accountability was selected as the greatest benefit of business coaching. “As you run a growing organization, everything gets complex; you get busy and sometimes push off things you know are important. This is where a business coach comes in,” says Jeff Cayley, of Worldwide Cyclery. “You can discuss the vital things you need to accomplish in order to achieve your goals, and your coach will hold you accountable. That alone will make you more effective.”
Take it from hundreds of other business owners – the number one factor to consider when choosing a business coach is their coaching style and philosophy. Not every style will work for every business, or every business owner. Close runner ups include their areas of expertise and their character/integrity. Scarola adds, “Just as your core values drive your business, so should your business coach’s drive theirs.”
With the majority of business owners choosing fellow business owners as their most trusted advisor, it’s no surprise The Alternative Board’s peer advisory model has seen a quarter century of success. Combining the insight of other business owners with additional business coaching provides entrepreneurs with the best of both worlds. If you’d like to profit from the accountability, strategic planning, and growth benefits of working with a business coach, contact your local TAB advisory board. Each advisory board is comprised of facilitators and local business owners to ensure the most powerful 360 degree perspective of your business.