What Is a Business Coach?
A business coach is an experienced entrepreneur or executive with a good track record of developing businesses. As a business coach, they spend time with the business owner and observe them at work. Based on this information, they guide the owner towards making the right choices and creating a successful venture.
Coaching is a specific type of advising. The role of the business coach is not to decide on the correct path. Instead, it is to witness the behavior of the owner, ask pertinent questions, and get them to recognize the optimal course for their goals. In contrast, a mentor is somebody from within the organization who informs an employee about best practices, while a trainer provides specific instruction in a defined skill requirement.
Finding a coach is easy, but finding a quality coach might not be. Coaches can be found on self-regulating groups like the International Association of Coaching and the International Coach Federation. However, these groups only provide certification and do not give any indication of customer satisfaction levels. In addition, there are many renowned coaches who are not registered with these groups. There is no requirement for a business coach to have a license.
Many organizations that are into organizational development find that using a business coach is worth their while. According to this Kaizen, clients saw an average 41% increase in revenue over the coaching period, and an ROI that was 27 times the amount invested in the coaching program.
What Does a Business Coach Do?
A typical business coach engagement lasts between six months and a year. Over that time, the coach will observe, advise, and review. Although some use a proprietary process, many business coaches rely on one of the many coaching models, for example, the CLEAR Coaching Model:
- Contract – Discuss organizational problems, set initial goals, agree on the process and length of engagement; this is also the opportunity to discover if there is ‘chemistry’ between the coach and business owner
- Listen – The owner provides a detailed explanation of challenges that the business is facing, while the coach focuses the discussion on concrete problems and potential solutions
- Explore – Gather more information about the challenges through various means: interviews with stakeholders, observations of daily operations, analysis of quantitative data, and additional meetings with the owner
- Action – Initiate an implementation plan, as designed by both the coach and the owner, to resolve the challenges identified earlier in the process
- Review – Undertake periodic feedback sessions with the owner to assess progress, adjust goals, and agree to next steps; this is a two-way discussion where the owner can also critique the coach
The CLEAR model can be repeated throughout the engagement if the original goals are met, and if the owner wishes to continue and resolve additional issues.
How Can Coaches Help a Business?
Business coaches can assist with various aspects of a company’s operations and planning, for example with:
As a company grows, management challenges can multiply. Communications, interpersonal skills, organizational functions, and leadership are just a few of the many areas where a business coach can provide guidance based on experience. Due to their ‘outsider’ status and neutrality, coaches see a company through a new viewpoint and are ideal for giving insight regarding the soft skills required by today’s managers.
Unless the owner has a background in marketing, this is a subject that can be very difficult to navigate. Marketing concepts and strategies rely on many variables, particularly in the online world. An experienced coach will provide observations about branding, channels, messaging, and other important considerations.
Strategy and Planning
As people with strategic experience, business coaches understand how strategy formulation and execution works in the real world. A quality business coach will be able to provide guidance on every aspect of strategy and perhaps suggest alternatives. Note that strategic initiatives are generally long-term in nature and the business coach engagement will need to be contracted accordingly.
For companies that do not work in the technology industry, business coaches can deliver insights into how an organization can gain a competitive advantage by incorporating new abilities. Alternatively, technology firms can benefit from the business coach’s knowledge of the latest approaches to programming, manufacturing, integration, and other areas.
Build Your Business Coach Program with GrowthSpace
Is it time to talk with a business coach? GrowthSpace’s vast global coaching network will help you connect with highly-graded experts that have experience in your field of need. Contact us to discover how our L&D solution can take your business to the next level: