I’ve been working as The When I Grow Up Coach since 2008, and I’ve been asked a bunch about whether my clients *actually* do their homework and follow through. I usually see surprised reactions when I answer: “Um, pretttttty much all of them. It’s pretty awesome.”
The truth is, working with a business coach is, well, serious business – and the incredible women who work with me have agreed to make a financial, mental, and energetic investment into themselves and their dream businesses. Fortunately, that usually means they show up, turn out, put in the work, and get the results (i.e. a dream business they love waking up to.)
The more I got this question, the more I realized how helpful it might be to share the thought process my clients go through so you can figure out if you’re ready, willing and able to hire a business coach of your own – and if you’re gonna get the results you’re looking for.
Here are 6 questions to ask yourself before you work with a business coach:
1. Do you want someone to tell you what to do? Or someone who will help you figure it out for yourself? It’s not that one is bad and the other is good, it’s just the difference between a business coach and a business consultant. A consultant will make recommendations based on their own experience and a coach will ask you clarifying questions to help you figure it out on your own.
In the 21st Century with such unique businesses being available (I went to a wedding catered by *a pizza firetruck* you guys!), I personally feel it’s impossible to be a Business Dictionary or Guru, telling others exactly what they need to do to be successful. And while I currently claim the “coach” title, I act more like a hybrid for my clients – getting the clarity they need to discover what their dream business looks like, and then guiding them to get there using over a decade of experience.
2. Do you feel a connection with the coach you wanna work with? You should get a great sense of whether you’d be a good match from the coach’s website copy + design, articles or blog posts they’ve written, and/or a consultation call that you hopped on together. It all boils down to: whether you feel comfortable with that person (believe me, you’ll be disclosing some personal stuff during the time you work together), whether you feel that you speak the same language, and whether you trust them to get you where you need to go. There’s no regulation in the business coach field, so make sure you ask about their background and education if it’s not on their site and it’s important to ya.
3. Do you need help with clarity and/or accountability? While coaches are also there to offer non-judgmental support, share their applicable resources, and help you build on what’s working for ya (and tweak what isn’t), the two biggest reasons I get hired are to help my clients with clarity and/or accountability.
When you’re in the midst of a challenge, it’s so.damn.hard to get a 360-degree view of your goal/problem or start some out-of-the-box brainstorming. As I like to say, it’s why business coaches have (and need!) business coaches! If you’ve been trying to figure things out on your own and have gotten nowhere, or if you know what you need to move forward but find yourself paralyzed, then a business coach would be exactly who you need.
4. Do you feel sure that you’re ready to Make It Happen – even if the “It” is still undefined? I’ve heard this the most from the former clients o’ mine who I asked to weigh in on this post (thanks Halley, Paula & Kelleigh!). If you’re willing to follow the “Something” that you know is out there for you, then you’re in a great place to put the pieces of your dream business puzzle together. There has to be a nice amount of trust between you and your coach, which is, again, why #2 above is uber-important.
5. Can you make the commitment to yourself and the (home)work you’ll have? Let’s be real – there’s never gonna be a “perfect” time to work with a coach: a magical X amount of weeks/months where you won’t have to work full-time/be a Mom/go on vacation, so don’t wait for it because you’ll be waiting forever. Instead, you need to know that when you sign up with your coach, you’ll make (not “have” or “find”!) a couple of hours each week that’ll be devoted to your sessions and your homework. Here’s an example as to how I know it’s possible: One of my clients worked with me while she simultaneously worked full-time, had a 3+ hour commute each weekday, and was a Mom to a four-year-old. Now, she’s in a new job with a 30-minute commute that she loves (she says she won “the new job lottery”) and is working on launching her own biz/blog on the side. She also didn’t totally collapse at any point in time that I worked with her! (I know. I was looking out for it.) I promise, if she can find the will and the way to make it happen, you can, too!
6. How do you work best – and does that coach offer that kind of support? You probably know if you thrive in a group setting or if you want 1:1 attention, and that’s great! Look to make sure the coach you’re jiving with works in that way, too – and if not, reach out and ask if he or she will color outside the lines for you. If not, it’s probably time to find a coach that *will* offer you the experience that you’re looking for. Your results count on it!
And *of course* if you’re thinking that *I* might be the business coach for you, you can learn more about all the ways we can work together (and start to get your pulse on if we’re a good fit!) on my Start Here page. Together, we can discover, launch, and/or build your dream biz – and you can join the list of my former clients who remark, “I can’t believe I did that!”