Most home business owners start their businesses on a shoestring budget, DIYing everything from planning to marketing. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you’re coming from a business background, you probably don’t know everything there is to know about running a successful business. And when things go wrong, you may not have the distance to figure out what’s wrong. This is where small business coaching can help.
What do small business coaches do?
In general, a business coach will work with you to identify strengths and weaknesses in you and your business, help you find solutions to overcome real and imagined challenges, and guide you in setting and achieving your goals.
Small business coaches not only offer tips, advice, and business world strategies, they also act a bit like a counselor, helping you overcome limiting beliefs while building confidence.
Trainers vary in how they deliver their service, but generally, they use a combination of talking with you, asking questions, and providing guidance, along with assignments and perhaps checklists. Most coaching is action-oriented, in the sense that you are expected to take some type of action that you and your coach have determined is important to your business.
Here are some tips for finding a quality business advisor:
Does the coach listen and ask questions? If you just want someone to tell you what to do, he buys a book or a course. A coach offers a personalized plan based on her needs and goals. To do that, the coach needs to listen and ask questions to learn about you.
Does the coach have experience in what you need in your business? While there is general business coaching, there may be cases where you need something specific, like productivity or marketing. Whether you choose a general trainer or one with a specific niche, make sure they have experience in what they intend to train.
Do you connect with your coach? Keep in mind that this does not mean that your coach is always kind and understanding. The best trainers will challenge you, especially if you are not delivering. But you must feel comfortable with your trainer.
Does the coach offer a strategy or plan to help you reach your goals? Most coaches have systems to guide him to where he wants to be in his business. This is not therapy, this is training, where you should be offered a plan or help to create a roadmap to success.
Does the coach have references? The best way to find a trainer is through referrals from people he knows and trusts. If you find a trainer some other way, ask for references that you can contact for feedback on the trainer.
What about coaching certifications?
There are coach education programs that offer some useful tips and guidelines on how to be a successful coach. That said, the ability to listen and offer guidance is more of an innate skill than a strategy that can be taught. There are very good trainers who don’t have any official training, but are great at helping people. And there are certified trainers who are not. So ultimately you want to find a coach that you relate to who has good references and can help you in the area you need guidance.