This is a high-level summary of our key findings from the September 2015 Small Business Pulse Survey. This
survey concentrated on the value of business coaching. The survey was taken by 305 business owners. It’s
important for readers not to confuse a Business Coach with a Business Consultant. Consultants are meant to
provide the answers to challenges a business is facing. Coaches, on the other hand, are meant to help owners
arrive at the best answer themselves. As a result of effective business coaching, the business coach should
become a better business owner.
Key Insights from the Survey
- Business Coaches are the second-most trusted advisor for business owners (24%), with Fellow Business
Owners being the single-most trusted advisor (31%). Combined, over half of the respondents rated
Business Coaches and Fellow Business Owners as their first or second-most trusted advisor. The only
other category receiving a double-digit rating is Family Member at 18%.
- For those business owners that had utilized a Business Coach in the past, 71% rated the coach’s impact
on their business as a 7 or higher.
- However, only 18% of those respondents that have never used a Business Coach rated the potential
impact on their business as 7 or higher. There is significant opportunity for Business Coaches to educate
prospects about the potential impact of coaching.
- Respondents by far rated Strategic Planning as the area that a Business Coach could have the greatest
impact on their business (31%). The other areas receiving a double-digit response are
PR/Marketing/Social Media (14%) and Leadership (11%). Other significant impact areas are Succession
Planning (9%), Managing Change (8%), Profitability (8%), Productivity (7%) and Employee Relations
- In terms of which benefits of business coaching, respondents rated the following three benefits as being
significantly greater than other potential benefits:
- Accountability: I have someone to hold me accountable to get things done. (31%)
- Growth/Profitability: I will generate a return on investment by growing revenue and/or reducing
- Discuss Business Concerns: I will have someone to voice my business concerns to. (26%)
- Business owners see the value in retaining a Business Coach both in a healthy business climate and an
unhealthy one. 54% were more likely to retain a Business Coach when the market is weak vs. 46% when
the market is strong.
- By far, the respondents would rely on a Personal Referral as the best way to find the right Business
Coach for their business. They would like to be able review Testimonials or Case Studies from other
clients who have utilized the Business Coach’s services.
- Three key areas stood above the rest when respondents were asked about what attributes they would
value most in selecting a business coach:
- Coaching style and philosophy (35%)
- Areas of expertise (27%)
- Character and integrity (25%)
- Other key expectations that business owners have of coaches are:
- To ask the right questions (31%)
- To focus on measurable change (26%)
- To conduct a thorough business assessment (18%)
- To tackle the tough issues (15%)
- Other key qualities that respondents identified as being important for a business coach are Insight
(49%), Experience (24%) and Trust (18%).
- Business owners do place a value on Business Coaches. The mean response to how much they would be
willing to pay per hour is $132.
Profile of Survey Participants
- 80% of respondents have used some form of Business Coach in their career, with 41% having utilized
one in the past 6 months.
- 86% of respondents have been in business for at least 8 years. 44% of respondents have been in
business for more than 20 years.
- 53% of the respondents have annual revenue of $1 million or more.
- 44% of respondents have 2-9 employees and 32% have 10-49 employees. The mean number of
employees is 18.
- The most common industry sectors are Professional Services, Manufacturing and Construction.
- Respondents came from the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand and Ireland