Evan Goodman

Ensuring that Your Business Coach is the Right Fit for You.

As any entrepreneur or business owner knows, there’s no shortage of business coaches out there. It is hard to ascertain the precise number of business coaches in Australia, but according to the various Coaching Associations, the number is in the vicinity of 3000. If you include business mentors and life coaches, the figure is likely to exceed 6000.

Unfortunately, the quality of business coaching varies widely, meaning many business owners are hiring unsuitable coaches. Is your business coach delivering the goods, or is it time to look for a new one?

Here are the top seven reasons why you should seriously consider parting ways with your current coach and a few key qualities you should expect from a business coach.

1. You Struggle to Be Honest

Many business owners find it difficult to open up to their business coach. They’re scared of saying the “wrong” thing or fear being judged. It’s natural to want to conceal your weaknesses, but this is ultimately a waste of time and is actually a weakness in itself. You shouldn’t feel ashamed of being honest about your personal challenges and the true state of your business.

The bottom line:

An experienced business coach will make it easy for you to reveal some uncomfortable truths, and they’ll use this information to develop strategies that get you moving in the right direction. If you continue to feel uncomfortable with your coach, it might be time to look elsewhere.

2. Communication Is Slow

Time is precious for any business owner, but not every business coach will respect your time. Sometimes, you’ll have time-sensitive questions that need answering, but your coach is unavailable. They might constantly cancel meetings or regularly fail to get back to you in a timely manner. If your coach is missing in action, it can lead to poor decisions and missed opportunities.

The bottom line:

You deserve a coach who answers your questions without undue delay, whether it’s during meetings, via email, or by private message. If you have been set tasks to do between your meetings, they need to be meaningful and not time wasting. Clear and effective communication will give you the peace of mind to proceed with confidence.

3. They Expect You to Wait Too Long to See Results

Your coach should set goals and help you identify business milestones. They should also measure outcomes at regular intervals or show you how to track progress. If your coach expects you to wait six months (or a time period that seems unreasonable to you) to start measuring progress, this should be a red flag. While change won’t happen overnight, measuring progress is something that needs to be experienced within a few months (or sessions).

The bottom line:

If your business coach is not setting goals and objectives in the early stages of the relationship, it could be a sign that (just maybe) they’re not that invested in the success of your business. Afterall, what reason could there be for not having this clarity upfront? You and those around you should notice the benefits of your coaching partnership within a few sessions.

4. You Aren’t Seeing the Progress You Want

It can take time to see results, especially in certain business sectors. However, if you’ve been with your coach for a while and you’re not seeing the outcomes you expect, it’s time to question the partnership. A good business coach can quickly identify opportunities and develop strategies to maximise business growth. They’ll help you prioritise tasks to ensure goals are met, and help you recognize progress at every step of the way.

The bottom line:

If you feel like no progress is being made, or you’ve outgrown the relationship with your business coach, it’s probably time for an upgrade.

5. They’re Not Pushing You Enough

While business coaches should offer a certain degree of empathy, they’re not there to hold your hand every single step of the way. They should be telling you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Their job is to challenge your thinking, question your assumptions, and open your eyes to new ways of working. They should treat you with respect and be supportive, but they should also be motivating you to take actions that support business growth.

The bottom line:

The best coaches will steer you in the right direction, but you need to pay attention to the advice you receive, put in the work required, and sometimes be prepared to step outside your comfort zone. If they’re not inspiring you to take positive action, they’re probably not the right coach for you.

6. They’re Not Really Listening

Is your coach regularly distracted? Do they keep forgetting important details about you or your business? Do they seem to actually care about your business? Some coaches will pretend to understand your challenges, but then only offer cookie-cutter “strategies” that they use from one business to the next.

The bottom line:

A good business coach will know that it’s crucial to listen to your point of view and try to understand your unique situation. They should be able to adapt their coaching style and make specific suggestions that are tailored to your style of leadership and specific business needs. To put it bluntly, if they don’t seem to be listening, they’re not really interested in the success of your business.

7. You Disagree About What Success Looks Like

Different business owners have different needs, values, and goals. When you hired a coach, did you have a specific challenge in mind that needed to be addressed? Is your coach providing solid strategies to help you achieve specific goals? If your current business coach isn’t taking into account your expectations and desires, you may need to explain things more clearly. If they continue to ignore your vision, it may be time to get a new coach.

The bottom line:

People have different ideas about what success looks like, but if your coach thinks you’re focusing on the wrong goals, it’s up to them to explain why their approach makes good business sense. Sometimes, you need to trust their judgment. However, if their values consistently clash with yours, it might be time to find a coach who’s a better fit for you and your business.

Hire a Business Coach Who Is Right for You

While finding a business coach isn’t difficult, finding the right business coach that complements your unique personality and business is a different story. As with any hiring process, it’s hard to know if you’ve found the right person until you see them in action. Be mindful with your due diligence when selecting a coach. Be rigorous insuring you have checked their qualifications. Have they studied business coaching at university, what type of degree do they have? At a minimum, did they get a diploma or certification through one of the Coaching Associations? Do they do professional development courses? Do they attend supervision? Can they define the difference between coaching and mentoring? If you recognise any of the warning signs outlined in your vetting process, or in this article, your current business coach might not be the best person for the job.

It’s also true that some partnerships start out well, but then quickly go downhill. Not all coaching partnerships are destined for success, and sometimes you’ll outgrow your coach. With this in mind, you should regularly monitor progress, taking into account your personal needs and the needs of the business.

Whether or not you stick with your business coach is up to you, but hopefully, this guide will help you make the right choice. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. The wrong coach will waste your time and money; the right coach will set you up for success for years to come.