There are many articles out there that discuss how to discover a business coach. These articles describe where to find a coach and how to determine which ones are right for you. The articles also tell you what you can expect. Yet there are few that tell you want not to expect, until now.
Selecting a business coach is a personal decision that is going to take a financial investment and a time commitment from you and/or your team. Like all investments and commitments there are realistic expectations and not so realistic expectations. Moreover there are just some things a business coach cannot deliver for you. So it is important that you know what not to expect so that you can focus on maximizing your results.
Here are five things not to expect from a business coach:
Do not expect your coach to know everything. Each business, entrepreneur, and executive faces unique challenges to their business. A coach has to learn first what has gone right in the past and what has gone wrong. With that knowledge a coach can determine what action plan will work best to put you on the path to success. That does not mean the coach will pull perfection out of their hats or peer into their crystal ball divining the future. There will always be unknowns and there are just some areas coaches do not have experience in. No one can know everything, even coaches. In fact if a coach says that they do… run! Fantail Foundation
Do not expect an expensive investment. Business coaching is an affordable solution that costs less than hiring a consultant and much less than therapy. There are two reasons why this is the case. First, a relationship with a business coach is built around a specific time frame and for a specific problem. Your coach is not going to keep you engaged for an infinite amount of time. So you do not have to worry about your coach “living” with you. Second, your coach is there to provide solutions to the problems you have and not force a cookie-cutter solution or “discover” new problems. Your investment costs in a business coach can be predicted and are not never ending. Data from a recent study conducted by the International Coaching Federation shows that the average coaching engagement is under $5,000 and last approximately under seven months.
Do not expect an out-of-the-box approach. This does not mean a business coach does not have a method or an underlying fundamental skill set they will use to build your success. A coach that cannot articulate clearly their methodology should not be hired. At the same time a coach that applies the same “insert problem in slot A and get solution from slot B” should be avoided at all costs. Yes, there are common problems in all companies, but that does not mean your experience is the same as your competitors or the shop on the corner. Take for instance the recession. It is having an impact on businesses across the country and the world. Yet, how it effects the software industry is different from how it effects the manufacturing industry. A coach understands this and applies the tools necessary to help you solve your unique problems.
Do not expect your coach do it all for you. You have to execute the agreed upon action plans you and your business coach devise to place you on your path of success. Coaches build the conditioning and instill the fundamental skills in you so that you can rise to the occasion. Like in sports where coaches do not take the field of play, a business coach is not going to run your business, lead your teams, or perform sales for you. That is your role.
Do not expect to a “yes-man.” A business coach is there to be an objective observer of your business and to hold you to the highest standards. A business coach will challenge the conventional wisdom. A business coach will ask you the tough questions. All of this is for your benefit, the benefit of your team, and a critical part to reaching your dreams. You can only grow by being challenged. You can only learn how tough you are by be being pushed. You will only learn your blind spots when you are placed in a different situation. It is an essential part of life, just as it is an essential part of any business success.
A business coaching relationship is a rewarding one. Every great captain of industry had a mentor, a teacher, a coach that helped them along their journey. Knowing what to expect and what not to expect makes coaching stronger for both the coach and the coached.