By Jim Jenkins
Buyer Beware: Choose a Business Coach Carefully to Get the Results You Want
Consider this scenario. A colleague suggests you get a business coach. Via the Internet, you find one close by. The woman says she’d love to help. She charges $300 a month for two 30-minute calls. It seems like a good deal, so you eagerly sign on the dotted line.
Next, you're sent to a website to learn your Enneagram type. This personality quiz doesn’t seem to connect with marketing your business. You call the coach. She says that you rank a “two” and that you’re trying to please everybody. She says that you should take better care of yourself. She says you need to take nature hikes, yoga lessons and long bubble baths.
You have yet to get real business coaching. Sadly, this scenario plays out often, usually resulting from a lack of understanding on how to choose the best coach for your business.
In the past several years, coaching has become one of the most effective ways to cultivate the professional and personal skill-sets of teams and individuals. Coaching has proven results. Fast Company magazine reports that up to 40% of Fortune 500 companies hire coaches to improve their businesses. There’s a proven, significant return on investment. A 2001 study by the Manchester Review said that the output of executives involved in coaching programs averaged nearly 5.7 times higher than the initial investment.
But you must do your homework before choosing a coach. For coaching to work, it’s vital to have a basic understanding of a coaching relationship.
What is coaching?
Coaching is a conversation, a dialog between a coach and a coachee. Through coaching, you will learn how to:
There are several types of coaching to choose from:
Life coaching – Focuses on inspiring life-transforming experiences. These include: creating personal joy and freedom, developing a better sense of self, building stronger romantic relationships or learning to let go of old fears and doubts.
Business coaching – Focuses on issues of running a business. It ranges from individual and executive team coaching, to coaching owners of small- to medium-sized businesses. Coaches help executives, staffs and businesses develop, promote and grow.
Executive coaching – Builds highly collaborative, individualized relationships. The aim is to bring sustained behavioral change and transform the quality of the executive’s life.
Pick the best type of coaching for you. Then find the coach with the experience, education and skills for supporting others that you’re looking for. But beware: there are some people without formal training or background who call themselves coaches.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COACH FOR YOU
The coaching industry attracts consultants, therapists and people with good intentions who want to help. But because there’s currently no regulatory board or set of, the prospective coaching client should choose a coach wisely.
Other questions: Is the coach part of any organizations? Does the coach publish books or articles? Does the coach offer products and services in addition to coaching?
But don’t take degrees and certifications at face value. They tell you nothing about the quality of the coaching.
they work with clients
they’ve been in your shoes
Many therapists jump on the coaching bandwagon. While therapists may have skills and knowledge that help them work on personal transformation, they’re not necessarily best at helping you adapt your leadership style or improve work performance.
Other ways to learn about a coach:
testimonials and get real referrals
Ask for names and numbers of clients to contact to validate the coach’s work. Call them. Ask specific questions such as:
Make sure you fit with your coach
Trust your instincts when deciding whether or not the coach truly understands who you are and what you need. You may want:
Ultimately, you will want a coach with whom you have great rapport, who you would trust with certain details of your life as well as your observations, who will not judge you.
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Jim Jenkins is a certified professional coach, owner of Creative Visions Consulting and co-founder of Innovative Play LLC in Frederick, MD. He specializes in partnering with executives, front-line managers and entrepreneurs who are committed to creating sustained success in their professional lives and in their businesses. For more information, call (866) 322-8263 or visit http://www.cvc-inc.com. Contact Jim Jenkins for a copy of his white paper entitled "Getting clear about success: The return on investment of business coaching."
Copyright Success Networks International.
Last Updated 05/11/2004