Looking for a Business Development Coach? Start Here
When you begin your search for a business coach, you’ll find options abound. Every coach promises to change your professional life, but how do you know who’s the real deal? Hiring a coach is the first step to making a positive change to your career trajectory, but there are some things you should take into consideration before choosing your partner.
Scrutinize Their Knowledge Level
There’s no regulating body for career coaching, so just about anyone can call themselves a career coach or consultant, even if they have no experience. Choose someone who has a college education and has several years of practical experience in business coaching.
Choose Someone Scalable to Your Business
Some coaches specialize in small business or entrepreneur coaching; others are skilled in managing businesses with 100 or more employees. Consider the size of your business and plan your hiring accordingly. Read any literature or website information thoroughly so you have an idea of the size of businesses your preferred coach likes to work with.
Know Your Terminology
There’s a difference between a “coach” and a “consultant.” Coaching is for people who feel stuck in their current routine and need help out of a rut; consultants help you innovate and come up with solid business practices. Ideally, you’ll want to choose an advisor who has experience doing both.
Think About What You Want
Approach your search for a career coach the same way you would a large purchase, like a home or a car. What do you want out of the relationship? Do you desire a program that is structured, strict, and time-phased? Will you need a plan that is specifically tailored to your unique needs? Set clear expectations for your coach, and seek the person who can best fulfill them.
Another important consideration is cost. Obviously, a less-tailored program will be less expensive than an individualized program, but try to think of it in terms of return on investment (ROI). Coaching is one of the best investments you can make in your career, but people often operate under the mistaken assumption that it will happen over a short period of time. As with any other investment, tangible benefits require time and patience. Be practical about what you can afford, but also be realistic about what that budget will afford.
Check Out Client Testimonials
Most coach webpages will have a section for client testimonials. Take a few moments to scrutinize them. Are they business owners or entrepreneurs like you? Do they come from similar industries? Be wary of any testimonials that are unsigned or not accredited. LinkedIn can be another good source for coaching reviews.
Set Up an Initial Consultation
Don’t make a long-term commitment or sign any contracts without meeting or having a conversation with your prospective coach first. You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, would you? Choose a time to talk and see if your personalities mesh. You don’t want to be in the position of making a commitment to a coach only to discover that the two of you have conflicting personalities.
Hiring a career coach is a process that takes thought and insight, just like any other investment. If you choose wisely, you’ll see a significant ROI and be content with your results.