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As we start the New Year many business professionals and owners will consider the business and the revenue goals that they want to accomplish in the coming year. The smarter ones will understand that they can’t make the really big goals happen on their own.

They understand the principle that says ‘To go fast – go alone. To go further – go together’.

As a result – the really smart ones will engage a business coach, which is an excellent idea. A good coach should bring an external perspective, a good coaching structure, measurable outcomes and a depth of experience that should compliment and challenge any business executive or owner. Even more importantly – they should bring real accountability to the relationship and ensure that the client can reach her or his stated goals and reaps the rewards.

Choosing a good coach can be fraught with danger however. There are just so many people claiming to be coaches. So I’ve jotted down just a few important items to consider when choosing a coach for your business this year.

  1. Can they define the word ‘coaching’? I use this as a simple test to determine any coach’s competence. If you honestly can’t give a specific, articulate definition of coaching and its benefits then what kind of professional are you? I get all kinds of vague, woolly ideas about ‘helping the client’ and ‘having conversations’. Crap. I want a specific definition, if you can’t do that I won’t hire you. Then explain the difference between coaching and mentoring – ’cause they are NOT the same.
  2. They have specific models on which their coaching methodology is built and a code of ethics by which they operate: ..and they can explain and explore both the models and the code of ethics and the duty of care that they have both to the client and the sponsor (i.e. the business paying the fee). They also have a defined set of sessions – thus focusing on an end point at which they client has the ability to continue on their own. They are not operating on an open-ended basis where they can often foster dependence in the client. That’s not what coaching is about – it is a short-to-medium term intervention, not a lifetime engagement.
  3. The don’t have the word ‘Life’ in their title. If they do – run away: You want a business coach – one with relevant and extensive experience and expertise (not necessarily in your business) and one who can help focus and deliver on your business goals. Yes we all know that we walk on two legs – one personal and one professional and if either is weak we fall – but a coach should not be delving into your private life (less still your personal history). It’s about business buddy….
  4. They have a specific structure to coaching – one which delivers measurable results: Too many coaches rely on ‘the conversation’ and the ‘coaching relationship’ both of which are important. But what’s more important is that your potential coach uses a robust and proven system of clearly identifying and articulating your goals, your motivation and your actions. A good system should clearly identify the steps involved, allow us to measure them and the coach and the client to hold each other to the performance path until the goals have been accomplished. No system – no coach.

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There are a range of other suggestions to consider when choosing a coach this year. If you’d like to talk it through or are looking for a coach to help you develop your sales or management communications skills or strategy then feel free to contact me. You can contact me below. One last thing, a coach should always provide an initial complimentary session.

Sometimes they call this a ‘getting to know you’ session. Just make sure that if you commit an hour of your time to such a session that it’s not just a ‘sales presentation’ on behalf of the coach. You should know that by the time its over you’ll know exactly what you’ll be doing when you do engage them.

Happy hunting for your new coach – and have a fantastic and prosperous 2016.

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