Are you looking for a business coach? Here are some tips for how best to find and work with one.
Before reading on, make sure to check out my previous post about the different levels of interaction when you are working with a business coach. Figure out which level of coaching you need before you start looking for a business coach.
If you don’t have the time to read it, here’s a quick summary:
- Basic coaching focuses on tactics and execution.
- Intermediate coaching focuses on developing skills.
- Advanced coaching focuses on the big picture of personal and professional growth.
Finding a Business Coach
Depending on your desired level of coaching, you can find a coach in different places.
Many organizations offer basic and intermediate level-coaching as part of their overall management support. You may have access to a coaching program, and it could cover one or both of those levels of coaching. But if that’s not the case, you’ll need to find a coach for yourself.
Finding a Basic Coach
If your organization doesn’t offer coaching, you can find a basic coach just about anywhere. One simple strategy is to find a peer-level coach.
Someone at your level is a great person to bounce plans off and get feedback on tactics. You can even coach each other and hold each other accountable to execute goals. This peer can be inside or outside your organization.
You might consider developing a coaching triad (3 people) to increase the level of accountability. Two people can give each other a pass, but it’s harder to do that with another person involved. And getting two perspectives can give you more ideas for improvement.
Finding an Intermediate Coach
For intermediate coaching to develop your skills, you may find someone in your organization to provide this coaching.
Your manager may be able to provide some level of coaching, but it might be better to find someone outside your reporting structure. You can even work with different coaches over time to help you develop distinct skills.
If this isn’t an option for you, you’ll want to seek an outside coach, either as a long-term relationship or just to help you develop specific skills.
Finding an Advanced Coach
For advanced coaching, you typically need to look outside your organization and find a professional coach.
You may decide to work with someone remotely or find someone you can meet with in person.
To find a coach, the best place to start is to ask people in your network for recommendations. You can make personal requests or use a social network like LinkedIn for a broader reach.
For some roles and industries, it’s best to find a coach with relevant experience. In some situations, though, that’s not a requirement, and you can just find a good professional business coach.
Establishing a Coaching Relationship
Whatever your level of coaching, and wherever your find your business coach, it’s important to take the time to establish a solid relationship with them.
You’ll need to trust your coach’s advice and be open about how you spend your time, what you’re struggling with, and your goals for the future. The level of trust you need grows as the level of coaching gets more advanced.
Take the time to get to know each other at a personal level early in your coaching relationship to help you develop trust.
You’ll also need to respect your coach’s advice. This can be based on their professional accomplishments, but that’s not enough. As you are evaluating coaches, ask them for success stories and references to help you understand what to expect.
I hope this advice is helpful as you evaluate whether a business coach would be helpful for your professional development!
Make sure to check out our eBook on the difference between business advisors, coaches, and mentors, and how you can best work with each.