8 Qualities You Need to Look for in a Business Coach | proCFO

Every entrepreneur should have a mentor or coach and this article will give you the 8 qualities you need to look for in a business coach.

The fastest way to learn any endeavour is to work with someone who has already been successful.  This person has already made the mistakes and paid the price for them – so that you do not have to.  You should aim to extract as much knowledge as you can out of him or her!

In over 20 years advising business owners, I have met many people who SAY they want to be successful in business.  Yet they baulk at investing in themselves to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve that success.  I am always staggered whenever I hear “I can learn this myself; I don’t need to pay for someone to teach me”.  Why wouldn’t you short cut the learning process and leverage someone else’s mistakes?

Our whole lives are, or should be, about continuous learning.  From going to school when we are young, to a sports coach and parents or other mentors who impart life lessons along the way.  Knowledge is power and lifelong learning is critical.  In the long run, finding the right mentor will save you time and money.

However, it goes without saying that some coaches are better than others. There are so many people these days offering their services to entrepreneurs online.  Before you leap into a new relationship, take some time to get to know a potential coach. The following qualities are what you should be looking for.

1. Experience

The number-one thing to look out for when interviewing for a coach or mentor is their level of relevant experience.  Find out exactly what they have achieved in their business journey.  And then fact check and verify the claims.

It is important that you find someone who has “been around the block a few times” and can demonstrate real-life experiences.  And that includes having had successes and some failures. Their insight may help you avoid some mistakes and increase your chance of success immensely.

2. Good Attitude

In my experience, having a great attitude comes with time and experience. The best mentors have been through a lot and have emerged with wisdom and a sense of humour that goes a long way in business.  They see the big picture and know that the good comes with some bad and understand it is a numbers game.  They don’t get flustered easily and should have a determined and patient demeanour.

3. Willing to share

A great coach is happy to share their experiences with you – the good and the bad.  It is of little value to you if the person is not prepared to share their experiences with you.  Get an agreement right at the outset that they will be transparent with you and share the ‘warts and all’ of their journey.

4. Relevant Expertise

Does your potential mentor have a list of services as long as your arm?  Beware – do you want a specialist or a generalist.  Things to look out for, have they published any books, been quoted by journalists, asked to speak at live events or lectures. These are all good indicators of a specialist level of knowledge.

5. Access

This one is obvious, but you must be able to get a hold of your coach.  And good coaches will be willing to create a bespoke program specifically for your needs.  They are very aware that one size may not fit all.  Ask them how much time they are going to dedicate to your needs.  Ask what their availability is like for ad-hoc needs that may arise.  How many other client or commitments do they have?

6. Networks

“It’s not what you know, but who you know”.  A great coach or mentor will have a network of contacts that will be useful to you.  And they should be very willing to use this network for the benefit of your business.  Social media sites such as LinkedIn are great for seeing who knows whom.

7. Expectations

Get really clear on what the coach is going to expect from you.  A good coach will help you be accountable by outlining specifically what they need from you.  Both in terms of time and activity.  Do not expect the coach to do the work for you – that is not their role.  You need to be genuinely committed to setting aside the time to do what is required.  If you truly want results, then you need to be prepared to prioritise action.

8. A true teacher

Teaching is a skill that improves over time.  And good mentors enjoy helping people.  They enjoy teaching willing students and will challenge you to discover for yourself.  Rather than just provide you with the answers.  Being given the answer may seem easier but developing your own skills is better for you in the long run.

 

So there you have it.  The 8 Qualities You Need to Look for in a Business Coach

 

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