The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Choosing a Business Coach

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If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, business coaching can be one of the biggest investments you make energetically, time-wise, and financially. So you want to make sure you choose the right person and the right focus when you make this kind of investment. 

But with so many coaches out there (some far more qualified than others), finding the right coach for you can be daunting. Fortunately for you, the other coaches and I over here at APB know the drill. We’ve heard all the questions. We’ve answered them countless times. And because we care about our clients and our community, we’re sharing our insider secrets with you. 

Here are the four biggest mistakes we’ve seen people make when seeking coaching support. 

#4 Mistake: Asking your network, “Who is the best business coach?”

This is one of the most common and also one of the WORST questions to ask when beginning your search. Though polling your connections for their opinions on awesome coaches may seem like a good idea, it’s a lot like asking someone, “Who makes the best husband or wife?” The answer is always subjective.

The connection you share with your coach is one of the most personal relationships you will ever have in your business. It is unique to your needs, your personality, your coach’s knowledge and personality, and the challenges you are working to overcome. 

The Solution: When you’re ready for coaching, look inward first. Ask yourself why you are seeking coaching. What are you trying to accomplish? AFTER you are clear on what you need, you can connect with your TRUSTED community to ask them who or what they would recommend for overcoming this kind of challenge. In addition to offering seasoned advice, they can also help you refine your options if you have a couple of possible coaches in mind.

#3 Mistake: Choosing a coach based on price alone.

At ABP, we often tell ourselves, our clients, and our community, “Coaching is not a cost – it is an investment.” Every time you engage with a coach, you are investing in yourself and your company. 

If you were building your dream house, would you cut corners while pouring the foundation? Of course not. You might not choose the most expensive finishings to decorate, but you’d definitely make sure your base was stable. 

Just like the foundation of your house provides a concrete base to build your home, quality coaching forms a solid foundation for business growth.

Does that mean the least expensive coach is not going to be quality? That the most expensive coach is the best? Of course not. All we’re saying is that while price is always a factor to consider, it should never be the largest or the only thing influencing your decision. 

The Solution: When seeking a coach, it’s good to have a budget in mind. But before you write off anyone whose prices run higher, ask yourself how much value it will add to your company and your life to overcome the obstacles you’re facing. What will it feel like to watch your vision for your business come to life? 

Then, ask yourself how much you’re willing to invest to achieve that dream. If you could invest X amount of money and achieve that end result, would it be worth it? If your revenue goal is $1,000,000, are you willing to invest $10,000 or more into making it happen? If not, there’s a disconnect. (If you’re struggling to figure out how much you should budget for business coaching, check out this post.) 

#2 Mistake: Assuming a coach will do for you what s/he did for your friend’s company.

Many coaches have effectively supported their clients in achieving outstanding results. But coaching is extremely personal, and coaching results are always unique to the client. 

Your business is not your friend’s company, and you are not your friend. Her successes are hers, and your successes will be yours. A great coach can guide you on the path to success, but results are always influenced by the client’s willingness to do the work. You, as the client, must invest time and energy into the steps and action items identified during coaching if you want the best return on your investment. 

So if a coach guarantees a result, or promises they can duplicate for you what they did for another client, be skeptical. Ask them how they know it will happen exactly that way. Chances are, they won’t be able to answer.

The Solution: When you invest in coaching, make sure you’re prepared. Write down your sessions on your schedule, and block out extra time on your calendar to make the most of your coach’s guidance, support, and expertise. Do not cancel sessions or miss assignments; doing so negatively impacts what you gain from the relationship and your investment. 

Instead, take your coaching relationship as seriously as your client relationships. Remember, your sessions are not just time. They are steps towards achieving your goals. 

#1 Mistake: Believing your coach will fix your company.

Sometimes people hire coaches hoping to hear something specific, only to find themselves disappointed when the coaching is not exactly what they anticipated. But no coach we have ever met has had a magic pill – and we’ve met a lot of coaches!

The magical results or transformations you see on the outside are always backed by hard work, dedication and FOCUS. There are so many options and opportunities for business owners that it’s easy to get distracted or pulled in a million directions. Sometimes the thing that makes the biggest difference is simply focusing your energy onto a single task or project instead of trying to do everything at once.

The Solution: Instead of looking to your coach for a magic pill that will solve your problems, keep an open mind. If you can take advantage of your coach’s expertise by approaching their suggestions and ideas with interest and curiosity, a whole world of possibilities will start unfolding for you. 

Still feeling a little unsure about finding the right coach? Sometimes just getting started is the best approach. As you begin your coaching journey, you may still not know exactly who’s a fit or precisely what you want to accomplish. And that’s okay. The coaching journey will inform you. 

By that I mean that literally every single time we have invested in coaching, we have learned something. Even the unsuccessful coaching relationships along the way have taught us, formed us, and shaped us. Each coach taught us more about who we were as business owners and individuals. Each relationship provided more clarity about what we were seeking in a coach and exactly what results we wanted to achieve. 

The same will be true for you.

And, along the way, you can avoid the four mistakes listed here by asking plenty of questions, relying on your tribe of amazing difference makers, and trusting the intuition that brought you to where you are today. 

Do you agree with these four mistakes when hiring a business coach? Have you made other mistakes and – hopefully! – learned from them? Share your experience in the comments!

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