Leveraging your business coach the right way can be a big cause of stress for entrepreneurs. Many of these relationships fail primarily because the expectations set at the beginning do not allow for a relationship to grow
As a trainer, keynote speaker and consultant to businesses around the world, I talk to hundreds of entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurial Personality Types who are unsatisfied with their business coaches. While it’s often the coach’s fault, because they should be guiding the relationship in a healthy way from the start, clients also share a portion of the blame. They either didn’t do their research, didn’t set the right guardrails or didn’t know what they really wanted from the relationship.
I want all entrepreneurs to have a positive business coaching experience because I’ve seen the benefits that good instruction can provide. For entrepreneurs, getting advice from a solid, experienced coach can shortcut your learning by five to ten years. So, I want to make sure I do everything I can to help you avoid the fakes, pick the right coach for the job and get as much as you can out of your time together.
Having worked with many successful business coaches – and also been a client – here are four ways to leverage your business coach most effectively.
Transparency With Your Business Coach
Communication is an extremely important part of any relationship. In the case of your business coach, you are paying them for their services, so the health of your communication can have a direct impact on your business growth. Make sure you do everything you can to keep communications as transparent as possible.
More to the point, it’s important you don’t hire a “yes man” or “yes woman” who only encourages you and tells you what you want to hear. You need someone who will challenge you, and be brutally honest while also being respectful. It’s your job to weigh that criticism openly and decide whether or not you need to defer to the coach’s judgement.
At the same time, you should always feel comfortable challenging your coach or coming to them with concerns. Their objective should be to help you build the business you want and you should never roll over if you think their guidance is jeopardizing your company’s integrity.
Set Specific Outcomes With Your Business Coach
At the beginning of your coaching relationship, sit down with your coach and solidify your desired outcomes. Ask your business coach to help you set strong but realistic expectations for what you want to achieve.
More specifically, establish the exact metrics you’re going to track, the numbers you want to hit and the system by which you’ll be able to track progress. Many entrepreneurs allow too much ambiguity into their relationship with business coaches, and they’re unable to tell whether or not they’re winning. But if you can settle on a clear process for measuring your success, then you’re much less likely to feel overwhelmed, taken advantage of or left in the dark (more on what your coach should do for you here) .
Lower Pressure And Noise With Your Business Coach
Your business coach should help you lower the pressure and noise in your life so you can focus on the things that matter most in your business. If it starts to feel like your coach is throwing too much at you, and you’re becoming more and more overwhelmed, it’s time to take a step back and voice your concerns.
Entrepreneurs hire business coaches to help them simplify their lives, not complicate them. If you’ve hired the right coach, they can understand your situation and provide you with valuable advice on how to set the right priorities, eliminate unnecessary distractions and focus on the activities that will move you and your business forward.
Don’t Become Co-dependant With Your Business Coach
Unfortunately, a number of business coaches have been trained in a process to make their clients dependent upon them. This ensures a steady revenue stream as the client’s business grows, because the client feels that all their success is due to their business coach (and all their failures are due to not listening to their business coach).
As a business owner, it’s important to be aware of this possibility and not let it happen. Make sure that each step you take with your business coach brings you closer to independence as an entrepreneur. Establish operational systems that can function without your coach’s involvement so that you can easily part ways in the future, if needed.
By focusing on these four items, you can make sure you leverage your business coach in a healthy, sustainable and productive way. If it feels like a struggle to instill these traits in your business coaching relationship, search for guidance elsewhere. Any coach worth your time will work with you to make sure your relationship is as transparent, goal-oriented, stress free and independent as possible. If you’re unsure if you’re getting the kind of coaching that will move you forward, check out this post where I discuss the signs it may be tire to fire your business coach.