Monday, July 26th, 2021

How-to: Choose a Business Coach

By Karen Dodd on Jun 21 2010 • Filed under New Clients by Design

What do Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Records and Virgin Airways), Kim and Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) and Oprah Winfrey have in common?

They give enormous amounts of credit for their success, not just to their own willingness to take action, but to important people who mentored them in their respective careers. They all – without exception – found experts who could teach them the important aspects of life and business, that they had not yet learned. Had they not done that, do you think we’d know their names today?

Having been on both sides of the fence – being mentored and mentoring others – I see the biggest challenge for people who are considering a mentor, to be the “cost versus benefit” decision. Or, being the persistent people that we entrepreneurs are, we figure we can just dust ourselves off and battle through it ourselves. But is that productive? Is it FUN?

Sometimes we’re so enmeshed in our own situation that it is difficult to see the forest for the trees. As one of my own coaches told me recently, it is much easier for an outsider to see our situation from 30,000 feet, than ourselves, who are right in the thick of things. Add to that, their expertise and ideas that you might not even have thought of, and there can be tremendous progress made in a relatively short period of time by having a mentor.

One of the biggest benefits of mentoring, is the ability to go from ladder-climbing to leaping. Often, we have been conditioned by parents and people who care about us to take little baby steps and to plod along slowly but steadily. By taking a step back from that cautionary advice – and with the help of an expert – you may determine that not only have you been slowly ladder-climbing, but you might actually be on the wrong ladder! I don’t know about you, but I would rather find that out sooner rather than later, so that I could stop self-sabotaging and step more easily into my greatness.

In all cases, when engaging a mentor/coach or mastermind group, here is the due diligence you’ll want to do:

  • ask for a “get acquainted” session, either in person or by phone. This should be free of charge and depending on the mentor, could range from 15 minutes to an hour.
  • ask them exactly what results you can expect from working with them. If they say something like, “Well you know, I’ll be coaching you. We’ll meet every week on the phone, I’ll give you advice and then you’ll go do it” – run the other way! If the person mentoring you doesn’t have quantifiable clarity around how they’ll help you, how are you going to make the necessary changes to move forward?
  • ask for testimonials and clients they’ve worked with before. You want to be sure that you aren’t a brand new coach’s guinea-pig. I know – they all have to start somewhere, but that’s not your problem!
  • attend one or more of their free tele-seminars. Virtually every good coach has weekly or monthly one-hour seminars that are content rich and will give you an opportunity to sample their style. Be prepared for 10 – 15 minutes of self-promotion (after all, there’s no free lunch) but you will very quickly learn who is giving really good content and who is just giving fluff.
  • don’t be afraid to be clear about your budget and find out how flexible their payment options are. Depending on the initial investment of their programs, there is almost always a monthly, two- or three-pay option.
  • do they offer a money-back guarantee? A good coach knows they seldom have to give refunds because they know their programs get results.

Make it a spectacular week and remember:  "To be successful you have to get away from people that have your problems and get around people who have your answers."

Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:

In the previous post, “A Coach or Master Mind Group will Skyrocket Your Business!” you were asked to research the Master Mind Groups or Business Coaches in your area. Now it’s time to take that next step:

1. Start or join a mastermind group.

Having the support of like-minded people who can look at your ideas with fresh eyes can be tremendously helpful. The caveat is to make sure it is a strong group with structure, that meets often and has a leader. Otherwise, they tend to turn into coffee klatches and can be real time-wasters. You don’t need to meet in person. In fact, there are many good mastermind groups online where you can “meet” on a weekly or monthly basis.

2. Commit to getting a mentor or coach.

You can hire a business coach, or go through a business organization that offers to match mentors with entrepreneurs. For example, the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs of BC offers a mentorship program at a nominal fee. Check your local business centres and networking groups to find out what programs are offered in your community.

If you are thinking of hiring a business coach, consider your budget versus the value that you will derive. For example, determine what you get paid on an hourly basis (or per sale) for what you do. Then look at what one good idea from a mentor could net you in increased sales or billable hours. A good coach should be able to help you grow your business.

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