When you start a business, and especially for the first time, it’s normal to face many challenges along the way. Our global business environment is changing constantly and there’s no recipe for success, as each business has its own unique progress.
But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t develop your professional skills to better handle turbulence, competition, change, and more, which can better equip you for success. In doing so, a business coach can help you grow and challenge yourself to fulfil your professional potential.
In this article, we’ll look at what business coaching involves, and how it can help entrepreneurs, leaders, and employees make the best decisions for their companies.
What Is Business Coaching?
Coaching is applicable to a wide range of situations and industries, and these days, widely available online.
A collaborative helping relationship, where coach and client (“coachee”) engage in a systematic process of setting goals and developing solutions.
Among its core purposes, coaching aims to:
- Facilitate goal attainment
- Promote self-directed learning, and
- Enhance the coachee’s personal growth.
It covers a range of different fields besides business coaching, such as coaching for personal life situations – life coaching – or for achieving your professional goals, such as executive or career coaching.
A Business Perspective
In business coaching, individuals or teams work with a coach who not only has expertise in a relevant industry, but who is also skilled at the above, and in providing advice for your specific situation.
For many, business coaching is mistakenly thought of as therapy for overwhelmed entrepreneurs. While it’s true that some coaches like to concentrate more on a coachee’s personal perspectives, however, good business coaching involves working with a clear understanding of how businesses work and what they need to thrive in a certain place, at a certain time.
The exact methods a coach uses to help their coachee and business on the path to success will vary with their approach, but broadly speaking, business coaching’s main goal should always the business.
Let’s consider how business coaching works and the tools, coaching apps, and software that coaches commonly use to achieve their goals.
Who Needs Business Coaching?
Business coaching can help any entrepreneur – as long as they find the right coach for their needs.
Larger corporations may employ business coaches for their entire management teams, while smaller business owners can also benefit from the guidance that a professional coach provides.
In addition, it has the potential to benefit seasoned entrepreneurs – with an experienced coach, it can be great for those with vast experience already. Even those with a portfolio of successful enterprises can find themselves looking for something new or better.
How Can It Help?
Seeking out a coaching expert is a proactive way to pursue continued growth and bring your company to new peaks.
Whether you want help tackling a specific business challenge, or you want to decide its future, a business coach can be a great partner in helping you:
- Assess and appreciate your leadership developmental tasks
- Challenge business constraints
- Explore fresh possibilities, and
- Create accountability and support for your business goal achievement, as well as its continued development.
How Does Business Coaching Work Exactly?
The main goal in business coaching is to help the entrepreneur shift his view to set achievable goals, break them into realistic tasks that are put on a timeline, and help them reach these goals.
In the table below, we consider a few of the main goals that a business coach will help with.
Supporting and accelerate work-related individual and team goal-setting and achievement
Creating clarity and focus
Managing successful organizational change
Working with individuals and teams to develop strengths and performance
Challenging and reframing individual and collective perspectives
What many business owners or managers wrongfully expect is for the business coach to instruct them on how to get from point A to point B.
A good business coach, like a therapist, does not give you the answers but helps you find them on your own. A successful entrepreneur shouldn’t be someone who is fantastic at following orders, but someone who is capable of lying down their own path and make the best decisions in the long term.
Finding The Right Coach for You
As a business owner, a great coach should be able to provide a few things. Among them:
- Experience in the relevant sector for your business
- The guidance to help a coachee identify and leverage their strengths and talents
- Ideally, a professional and collaborative process that leaves coachees with newfound confidence, self-efficacy, and perspectives, rather than feelings of insecurity or overwhelmedness.
However, it’s still common for business owners to wonder: “Why would I hire an outsider if I know my company best?”
One of the main things that a business coach brings to the table is an unbiased opinion. Even if you pride yourself to be an objective, rational leader, you are still very much involved in everything related to your company.
A good business coach, like a therapist, does not give you the answers, but helps you find them on your own.
An expert from the outside can show you things from a perspective that was hidden from you and your team and is able to give you straightforward feedback.
Ultimately, for a business owner to truly get the benefits of business coaching, it’s important to set realistic expectations from this experience.
Business: Coaching, Consulting, or Mentoring?
If you are tempted to consider business consulting and business coaching to be equivalent, you must know more about the psychological factors involved in coaching.
Coaching vs. Consulting
Business consulting is focused only on your business. In a similar way, business consulting is also focused on the strategies, strengths, and weaknesses of your organization, technical workflow improvements, and so forth.
However, while they may be subtle, there are many differences between business coaching and business consulting. The table below summarizes just a few.
Instruction vs. Guidance
|A business consultant may show you how certain critical soft skills work during your work together; they may give you the resources to develop them on your own. Examples include:|
Problem- vs. Client-Focus
Asking Questions vs Giving Answers
Coaching vs. Mentoring
Similarly, a few key elements distinguish business coaching from mentoring. Briefly:
- Business coaching is typically more psychological than business consulting, as business mentoring is less focused on the practical side of organizational challenges. Instead, it is more concerned with giving advice and leading by example.
- A business coach will also roll his sleeves and get into your betterment plan headfirst with you, while a business mentor might give you a good example by running his own business and highlighting the things that you can take as a lesson.
So, are you looking for a coach, a consultant, or a mentor when it comes to your company?
If it’s the first, let’s look at how you can find the right specialist partner to help you achieve your goals.
How to Find the Right Business Coach for You
If you are in employing a business coach to help you refresh your vision, be sure to do some research first, and find a coach that is fit for you and your company.
There are many business coaches on the market, and many of them will promise extraordinary results in record time. While good coaches do work to get results in a reasonable time frame, miracles don’t happen overnight. Improving your business is a constant effort, and it won’t end with your coaching sessions.
Things To Consider
Whether you are using a coaching app or looking for someone who can help you in person, it can be useful to create a checklist. For example:
- Are they asking the right questions in your initial consultation? A good business coach should be interested in your entire business history and will ask questions about your core motivations, values, the goal you want to set, and how you see the current situation.
- Does your potential coach have the right qualifications to help you? The best business coaches have been entrepreneurs themselves, and they know what it means to be the one responsible for such a huge deal. The least you can expect from a good business coach is to have business studies and be familiar with the newest methods in the industry.
- Do you want someone with similar, or different experience? While it might be tempting to hire a business coach who has a similar background to yours, it’s more rewarding to bring someone who has a different experience from yours. The important thing in all coaching relationships is to work with someone you can click with, you respect and enjoy talking to.
When interviewing a business coach, ask about the actual businesses they have helped to grow.
Did they manage to generate actual revenue or not? Do they have palpable results and former clients who can vouch for them?
As with many therapy apps, a coaching platform’s reviews and testimonials can be important in your search. Some providers allow coaches to display their qualifications, and some specialists may offer free consultations to help you explore whether your coach has what it takes to help your business.
If you trust your peers more than online reviews, why not ask them for recommendations?
How Long Should Business Coaching Last?
There’s no real answer to that. In truth, your relationship with your business coach should last for as long as you want it to.
At the beginning of your collaboration with your business coach, you will define some clear goals and tasks for the near and far future. If this is your purpose from hiring a coach, you can limit their services to the moment those goals are achieved. If you are more interested in a long-term relationship and in constant improvement, you can discuss other terms with your coach.
For some entrepreneurs, this relationship can be needed only at certain crucial points in their careers. It’s also possible to hire a business coach for short periods and more defined tasks and get back to them the next time you need advice.
Business Coaching Tools
Curious about the methods and tools that a business coach uses to help you to better run your company?
Some notable coaching tools in the business sector include approaches such as:
- Defining your mission and vision with the help of creative exercises and lists of relevant questions
- SWOT analysis and other classic tools for reviewing your assets
- Brainstorming exercises, mood boards, and other creative outlets for your business ideas
- Organizing and planning tools – including, but not limited to agendas, timelines, milestones, and quantifiable results
- Feedback tools – such as exercises and tools to help you provide feedback about the coaching process, your business’s progress and your relationship with your coach;
- Personal improvement tools – for example, methods to eliminate procrastination, increase motivation and keep positive energy at the workplace;
These are only a few examples of the tools that can be used in business coaching, but a coach’s portfolio and method can include hundreds more. You can even invent your own tools for the unique profile of your business, and inspire yourself from your coach’s work to become a better leader and person in general.
4 Best Examples of Business Coaching Software
The best business coaching software provides an easy to use environment that helps both the entrepreneur and the business coach communicate with each other, share data and use practical tools in the coaching process. Developers have been providing highly specialized software for this field, so there are many options to choose from.
The software you will probably use during your business coaching sessions and in between will be chosen by your coach, since they are the ones defining the general style of coaching, but you can provide feedback if you feel there are better options for you.
Here are some examples of business coaching software:
|This online coaching software helps small and big businesses alike and provides a friendly interface for its users.|
This HIPAA-compliant solution makes perfect fitness software, as it’s secure and fit to handle sensitive data like business reports and client data.
Why not read our in-depth Nudge App review for a full look at its features and benefits?
|Good For||Goal setting and tracking, Client management, Progress monitoring, Business Coaching|
|Cloud-based online coaching platform CoachLogix is an integrated management system that allows coaches to:|
Good for large and small companies as well as sole traders, this specialist coaching management platform offers a host of services designed for the industry, such as mentor and coach matching.
|Price||Available on request|
|Good For||Billing and invoicing, Progress monitoring, Scheduling, Program Management|
|Like CoachLogix, web-based CoachOrbit requires no on-premise hosting. This platform is designed to enable coaches in a range of diverse fields to practice professionally.|
Designed specifically for the sector, it offers useful goal-setting tools such as session management, invoicing, and a client dashboard.
|Good For||Life Coaching, Happiness Coaching, Executive Coaching, Performance Coaching Practice|
|Healthie is another specialized coaching software is Healthie, dedicated to wellness and health businesses.|
Managing such businesses takes niche expertise, and coaches who are experts in this industry prefer fitness and nutrition software solutions that understand and address the particularities of this sector.
|Good For||Nutritionists, Health Coaches, Dietary and Fitness Coaches, Patient Management|
Business coaching can be fit for any business owner or management team, as long as your coaching relationship is based on respect and a common vision.
It might take a bit to find the right business coach for you, but a good partner will not only help you increase your profit but will also provide you with the necessary tools to keep your business on top in the long term.
Are you a practicing or experienced business coach? What would you add to our lists of crucial coaching elements or tools? Or are you on the hunt for a specialist who can help you achieve your organizational goals? Tell us below, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
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- ^ Ting, S., & Hart, E. (2004). Formal coaching. In C. McCauley & E. Van Velsor (Eds.), The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development (pp. 116-150). CA: John Wiley.
- ^ Brandmo, C., Aas, M., Colbjørnsen, T., & Olsen, R. (2019). Group coaching that promotes self-efficacy and role clarity among school leaders. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, August, 1.
- ^ Rosha, A., & Lace, N. (2016). The scope of coaching in the context of organizational change. Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, 2(1), 2.
- ^ By, R. (2005). Organisational change management: a critical review. Journal of Change Management, 5(4), 369.
- ^ Grant, A. M., & Hartley, M. (2013). Developing the leader as coach: insights, strategies and tips for embedding coaching skills in the workplace. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 6(2), 102.
- ^ Forbes Coaches Council. (2018). Key Differences Between Coaching And Consulting (And How To Decide What Your Business Needs). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/06/14/key-differences-between-coaching-and-consulting-and-how-to-decide-what-your-business-needs/