Most successful people have at some point in time, had someone to help them navigate their path. A mentor, a coach, a personal trainer, a teacher – someone walked beside and ahead of them, helping them make their way. Perhaps you know you are ready to invest in a mentor or coach to move your business forward. But how do you choose a coach?
There are dozens of coaches and mentors online. Many are promoting the same things. How do you pick the right one for you and your business?
Of course you will look them up online, view their various social media profiles, and try to learn as much as you can about them, but your research shouldn’t stop there.
Check through reviews, referrals from friends, and possibly some interviews. If a coach refuses to talk with you until you have paid money, walk away, he or she is obviously not interested in getting to know you, just in your money.
Just because coaches seem to be everywhere or have great on-screen presence does not mean they are a good coach or can help YOU! Sure, it’s great to be hot, but there are other considerations to make sure you’re choosing a coach. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you search for a coach or mentor:
Where is my business now, and what do I need to get to the next level?
If you are a beginner, acknowledge it and hire a coach who is great with beginners. You don’t want to hire an advanced coach if you are not there yet. It will just create frustration for you.
What specifically am I hoping this coach or mentor can help me achieve?
If you want to knock it up a notch in your legal nurse consulting business, pick a person who has extensive experience in the field. Do you provide behind the scenes services? Do you serve as an expert witness? Look for someone who can straddle both worlds. Know what you want to focus on when choosing a coach.
How do I work best – with weekly check-ins, daily updates, and monthly in-person calls?
How often do you want or need to be accountable? If you procrastinate and put things off until the last minute, you may want daily or weekly check-ins. If you are a self-starter, you may only need bi-weekly or monthly contact. Only YOU know what YOU need.
Should I be choosing a coach to give me “tough love” or be a sympathetic guiding presence?
Big difference and if you pick the wrong one, you can be totally wasting your money. A sympathetic guiding presence may have tons of knowledge but they won’t help you if you need someone demanding the best from you. Decide in advance what you need and pick a coach who has that style.
How does this person make me feel when talking with me?
Does this person make you feel happy, confident, gives you an “I can do it!” motivation, or do you feel like the person is just rushing through the call to move on? Does she seem to side-step your needs to talk about what they want to discuss? Feelings are important and if you are uncomfortable from the get-go, this probably isn’t the coach for you.
Does this person have time to give me what I need?
Does she have more clients than she knows what to do with? Is she popular but not attentive to your needs? Does she coach individually or only in groups? How available is she when you need assistance?
Have others who have coached with him/her had a level of success that I am interested in?
Talk to others who have coached with her and find out how much they have learned, progressed, moved forward, reached goals, etc. Do they recommend him/her without hesitation? Can they give specific examples of what goals they accomplished? Anyone can say they are a coach, but verify they actually have helped people before handing over money.
Different coaches and mentors have different styles. Some are no-nonsense taskmasters; others have a more gentle approach. Some are great cheerleaders, while others are better technicians. Some are great connectors; others are in-the-trenches comrades. No style is right or wrong; there’s only “right” or “wrong” for you. If you need someone to help you figure out how to set up a website and online shopping cart, a cheerleader isn’t going to do you much good. Likewise if you need someone to hold your toes to the fire and make you accountable, you don’t need a social media coach.
By the same token, if you need someone to inspire you, a well-connected “you can do it!” type may be perfect. No matter how nice, talented, or charismatic your coach is, a mismatch will cause you nothing but frustration.
To really move forward towards your goal, a mentor can be a perfect springboard, helping you move past obstacles and other blocks. But not all coaches are created equal or offer services that are the same: Find the one that matches your needs and provides the type of coaching and/or mentoring that will move your business forward.
The coach you need today, may not be the coach you need six years from now. You and your needs will change. Be prepared to change coaches when you have outgrown what a coach can provide.
So tell us, what are you considering when choosing a coach?
Debbie O’Grady prepared this guest post. She is one of 6 dynamic and successful business women who are teaching in Kick Start Your Business, an online course. Give your business a kick with fresh ideas. Check out the LNC Academy Inc for a mentoring program that may be a good fit for you.