12 Important Things You Must Know Before Hiring A Business Coach

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Thinking of hiring a business coach? Discover 12 important things you must know before hiring including, what it costs, how it works, benefits, do's, don'ts and...

Key points

So... you’re thinking about hiring a business coach. But first you want to know what it’s all about and whether it’s right for you.

Well, the good news is in this article we will cover 12 critical things you need to know.  So by the end of this article you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for you.

Now let’s get into it!

“A business coach is someone whose job it is to teach businesspeople to improve at business.”

#1. Why get a Business Coach?

Imagine waking up feeling refreshed, in control and relaxed.

You take a leisurely breakfast at your favourite cafe. In no rush, because you know exactly what you need to do that day.

In the morning meeting, your team is fired up. They’ve been busy building your business for you. Each team member has absolute clarity over where you’re headed, what’s expected of them, and how their success will be measured.

You spend the early part of your day reviewing key metrics in your business, including your sales and marketing engine that is generating steady and predictable growth.

Later, you spend time reviewing your strategic plan and have time left to catch up with several key team members, to discuss their progress.

All is going well, and you feel in control.

At the end of the day you leave, on time, and by the time you’ve reached home you’ve forgotten about work.

At the weekend, you’re not distracted by business worries, but present, and able to truly enjoy your time with friends and family.

Sound like a pipedream?

The truth is, it’s more achievable than you think.

And this is where a business comes in.

Because they will help clear the path to make this (or whatever goals you have) a reality.  

They’ll do this by helping you,

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#2. How does it work?

Each coach will bring their own style to the table (one of the reasons it is important to find the right match for you – but more on that later), however, there are some fundamentals that the best business coaches commonly follow, including;

#3. What won’t a coach do?

No business coach can be an expert in every single discipline, niche, industry idiosyncrasy, or even business stage.  So it’s important to get the right coach, and change when the time is right (and if needed).

A coach or mentor won’t do the work for you – they are there to guide, advise and teach – not to execute.  Some may be open to doing additional work, but that would be classed as consulting, and therefore, a different relationship altogether.

#4. How long will we work together?

A business coaching relationship should last only as long as it gives you value, and you want it to continue.

Sometimes this can mean several months; other times, it can mean several years (or decades, even).

A word or warning...

Be wary of any coach who wants to lock you into contracts with durations of 3, 6, 12, or even 18 months – especially if it is a new relationship.  

It does usually take time to see meaningful results and you should be prepared to dedicate at least three months working with a coach.  

But as for lock in and long term contracts, be mindful: circumstances change, and flexibility is key.

At MentorConnex, for example, our preference is for a flexible model. This is why you’ll find we have no upfront lump-sum payments or lock-in contracts – our customers can cancel at any time.

#5. How much time do I need to commit?

The purpose of engaging a coach or mentor is to free up your time and mental capacity, to do more of what matters to you, your business or your career.

Just by having someone there who can fill in your knowledge gaps, help you make important decisions faster, and brainstorm ideas and challenges, you will save time, money, and energy.

But let’s be realistic: in the immediate term, it’s going to need time investment from you. 

So if the thought of committing a few hours a month to get real, meaningful change (and potentially transform your life and business) seems too much, it probably isn’t for you.

Remember though, that you are reading this for a reason – you’re looking for change.  And change takes time.

And if you accept there is an initial time investment and put in the work, you will very quickly start to see that time back in multiples.

How often you'll speak

How often you actually meet will depend on your goals and aspirations.

For example, if you are looking for help with a one-off project versus ongoing accountability, your session plan will look very different.

However, accountability and consistency (through regular sessions) have been proven time and again to get the best results.  So typically, we recommend either weekly 30-minute or fortnightly 60-minute sessions, depending on what works best with your schedule.

How long you'll speak for

The most common durations and frequencies we see are 30 minutes (weekly) and 60 minutes (fortnightly).

Occasionally, you may choose to book a 90-minute session (or even longer) for strategic initiatives.

#6. How do we “break-up” (without a teary goodbye)

It’s completely normal for a mentoring or coaching relationship to draw to a natural conclusion. Typically this is when you have achieved your goals and are moving on to new challenges.

And there will also be times when you want to part ways for other reasons.

So, how do you do this diplomatically?

Puppy pats puppy caption 'it's not you it's me'

Well, firstly, understand that a great coach completely gets it.  And if you have achieved your goals, they will welcome it as a successful mission accomplished.

The key thing is to be open and honest. 

All that said, we do understand that sometimes the “it’s not you, it’s me” conversation can be a bit daunting.  So, at MentorConnex we never take on a coach or mentor who we feel will put undue pressure on a client to retain them.

And, we’ll have the conversation on your behalf if you prefer us to.

We’ll even send virtual flowers at your request.

#7. How do I get the most from our time together?

When you are investing in one-to-one advice, you’ll want to maximise bang for your buck.

Here are our top tips for getting the most from your relationship:

#8. How to spot the real deal vs. the “fakes”

It can be tricky to know who is genuine and who isn’t.  Business coaching has a low barrier to entry, which unfortunately opens it up to inauthentic coaches and mentors.

So, it pays to do due diligence.

Check their background and references.  Ask to speak to a few of their past clients.  

Follow your gut, and if you are ever uncertain, insist on a trial period.

Red flags

When you are doing your due diligence, here are four red flags to look out for:

Finding the right person can be time-consuming, which is one of the reasons people use services like MentorConnex – we carefully vet all mentors and coaches (and have them agree to a strict code of conduct and ongoing feedback loop) so you don’t have to.

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#9. Is it remote working friendly?

Historically, mentoring and coaching sessions were conducted face-to-face.

There are two key downsides to this:

  1. Time and energy are lost traveling to meetings.
  2. Your coaching options are restricted by geography.

Fortunately, modern technology means many business coaches are happy to meet anywhere, anytime – from your home office, a favourite café, or an island in the Bahamas – via video call.  Saving you time and energy in the process.

And there’s a further potential bonus: with platforms like MentorConnex, you can take notes, store goals and more, whilst on your session.  Which means you’ll never lose that critical piece of information again!

With platforms like MentorConnex, you can work from anywhere

#10. What’s expected of me and my business?

High-calibre business coaches have zero expectations in terms of your knowledge, your business, or your achievements.  However, they do expect commitment to the process, for example:

What can I expect of my coach?

You, too, are a high-caliber businessperson whose time is valuable.

And, especially in a paid relationship, you are entitled to expect commitment from your coach.

Decide what’s important to you, and discuss it with potential coaches.  It pays to agree expectations upfront, setting everyone up for success.

Not sure what you should be asking for?

To give you some ideas, at MentorConnex, every new business coach in the community must sign up to a code of conduct that includes commitments to their clients, such as:

Whoever your coach is get clear on what they will deliver, and how you can hold them accountable. The clearer you both are on expectations, the smoother your relationship will run.

#11. What does it cost?

Business coaches are professionals, and their fees are usually their primary source of income.  

A good coach always has a plan. And formulating that plan – especially in one-to-one coaching – takes time and effort outside of your sessions. So, for a high-quality coach with experience and a track record of success to back it up, expect to pay upwards of $300 an hour.

Coaches will often package up their services and charge a monthly fee somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000.  This package may include weekly or fortnightly catchups, with email and some phone support, group sessions, or even face-to-face group sessions.

Executive coaching can even stretch up as high as $5,000 an hour – though typically this upper range is reserved for senior execs and CEOs of big, established businesses.

Coaching or training companies, with higher fixed costs to factor in – such as sales and marketing, admin, legal, accounting, client services, and more – will often charge higher fees. 

For example, one company in Sydney that I am aware of charges over $4,000 per month and locks you into a 12-month contract.  Their package consists of online learning modules, a monthly face-to-face group session (though this has now moved to virtual), and 30 minutes of one-to-one coaching per month.

Although it is relatively unusual, we have also seen coaches who charge 1-2 percent of revenue.

#12. Is it worth it?

Here’s a few facts worth considering:

So, whether it is right for you, is a personal question. 

But know that if you choose to explore it further, you will be in good company, and the stats support coaching and mentoring as major success contributors.

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