The right business coach is crucial in establishing a business. A skilled coach can inspire you and offer guidance that will ultimately be helpful to you and your company. They can aid in goal-setting, planning, and improving one or more business metrics. These metrics can be quantitative (measurable), such as gross income, or qualitative (subjective), such as executive work-life balance.

As such, it's crucial to pick a business coach who can give you the assistance and direction you need to give yourself the best chance of success. This article will walk you through how to pick the right business coach for your business.

How to Find the Right Coach

Once you’ve worked out that you need a business coach, try using these steps to find one that’s appropriate for your business.

Aggregate Coaches from Google or Coach-finder Tools

Searching for the best coach using coach-finder tools can help you find instructors based on various factors, including area, credentials, and previous work experience. Tool filters also let you focus your search and select the ideal coach for your preferences.

You can also search locally via Google like 'business coach [your area]', which lets you study available reviews, check credentials, and visit their ‘Contact’ page to determine compatibility.

Having many different options is another benefit of using coach-finder tools. This step lets you contrast many coaches and choose the best match for your demands. You may also be able to view coach biographies, including information about their training, expertise, and past customers.

You can use ActionCOACH’s coach-finder tool to source verified coaches who use ActionCOACH systems.

Qualify Based on Cost

After you’ve aggregated a list of prospects, qualify coaches based on your budget. Every company has function-specific budget allocations – work out which functions your coach can help with, then put together a spend ceiling that draws from all involved budgets.

Choose a business coach who has the capabilities to assist your business, knows their value, but, at the same time, doesn't chew up too much budget. Coaches who fit in the desired cost parameters will pass the second step in choosing the right business coach.

Check for Managerial or Executive Experience

Checking for managerial experience is crucial in seeking a business coach. Consider coaches who have a thorough awareness of business leadership and can offer insightful advice.

Searching for a business coach who has previously held leadership positions can be a good place to start (check their website or LinkedIn profiles). You can also identify coaches with particular degrees of experience, such as middle management or C-suite, by using the search functions offered by many coach-finding tools.

Check for Industry Experience

Finding the right business coach is vital to growth and success, but it can be daunting. Evaluating potential business coaches on their experience and track record is essential. Before you decide whether or not to work with one, ensure they have years of experience in the business world and, potentially, in your industry.

Keep in mind that, while industry experience is helpful, good business coaches fulfil a business success function. This means that they don’t need experience in your industry to improve how your business works, just as C-suite executives often transfer between industries. For example, ActionCOACH’s proprietary coaching systems are industry- and size-agnostic – they’ve been validated across hundreds of industries in more than 88 countries.  

Check for Proof of Growing/Stabilising Businesses

When searching for the right business coach, look for those who have proof of growing or stabilising businesses. Don't just take someone's word for it; find success stories, testimonials, and other social proof that backs up their claims.

Not only will this help ensure that you work with someone qualified to help you, but it will also give you some insight into what success could look like when working with a business coach. A good business coach has experience in walking the walk and showing tangible results over time.

Check for Strong Communication Skills

Communication is one of the specific qualities and skills to look for in business coaches. They should be good listeners and communicators who can ask the right questions and provide concise feedback. They need to listen to different perspectives and build strong relationships with clients. As such, they must clearly understand their business goals, challenges, and strategies to help them progress towards success effectively. Look for someone who can communicate well verbally, in writing, and online to create successful business coaching experiences for everyone involved.

Check for Industry-applicable Systems

Looking for a business coach with an industry-applicable system and applicable tactics is essential. Not all coaching systems can be translated across industries. For example, a coaching system developed to help solopreneur tradies might not be suitable for a Series C unified communications startup.

To validate a coach, ask for referrals from business contacts, networking groups, and existing customers. Where possible, request proof of key results (case studies with metrics are best). Coaches who have transitioned to being business success practitioners, as ActionCOACH business coaches have, generally use systems that are applicable to most industries and most business structures.

Examine Social Proof

Looking at social proof can be a reliable criterion for confirming a business coach's credentials and track record. Ask yourself, “What have others said about their experience with this business coach?”. Look for positive reviews, testimonials, and success stories that reinforce the coach's offering. If a business coach has inspired the transformation of other business professionals, that's evidence to trust them as your business mentor.

Pay close attention to how much effort a business coach puts into building business relations with clients. It says a lot about their character, motivation, and dedication to helping others become successful.

Ask Friends or Associates for Referrals

Companies have different needs, budgets, and timelines, so weighing all options before deciding is essential. A great way to start finding a business coach is by asking friends or associates for recommendations.

Word-of-mouth referrals are often the best approach as they provide more information than reviews. They also allow you to get an inside look at how other people felt while working with their business coaches and whether they think that coach could be the right fit for you. Reaching out to your network is especially helpful if you have specific requirements, such as qualifications, price points, or experience. By getting honest feedback from those in your network, you can avoid the common pitfalls of trying out business coaches that don’t meet your expectations.

Book Consultations

When looking for a business coach for your company, start by doing comprehensive research and booking consultations with prospective coaches. Booking initial meetings or phone calls to assess the professional credentials of each business coach is essential in finding someone who can meet (and exceed) your business's specific needs. Many coaches offer free 20- or 30-minute consulting calls.

These scheduled consultations will also allow you to assess their business acumen and see if you and the coach have chemistry. Doing your due diligence upfront will show future business coaches that you are serious about developing your business and making a lasting, impactful change.

Finding the ideal business coach for your business can be a daunting task, but knowing what qualities to look for in a coach is half the battle. Once you have established the type of business experience you need, take your time to evaluate potential coaches. Consider their respective philosophies, approaches, experience with businesses similar to yours, and communication styles.

Next Steps

ActionCOACH is the #1 Franchise coaching business in the world. We have over 1000 qualified coaches operating in different local areas. Browse our Find a coach page and take advantage of our free strategy calls to start working on your business. 

Remember: a business coach isn’t a mentor, but they’re just as important to your long-term success. Finding the right person is worth it – even if it means spending a bit more or taking extra time. Click here to find a coach in your local area.

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Written by ActionCOACH April 19, 2023
ActionCOACH is recognised as the creator and most successful practitioner of business and executive coaching methodology that offers owners and managers a new perspective on their businesses and companies.