It seems like every time I open an email or get a message via social media, it is from someone wanting to coach me on some aspect of my business. In fact, I swear if I had a dollar for every time I've been contacted, I wouldn't need a business. I could just retire! Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. But there seem to be plenty of "coaches" these days!
"Wait a minute! Isn't that what you do? Aren't you Boomer Business Coaching?" Yes, that's true. I am one of those "coaches." Coaching is a good part of my business. But not all coaches are created equal. And not every coach is right for you.
I have worked with coaches in the past. A coach helped me get past the mental blocks that were keeping me from writing the book that was rattling around in my head for years. Another coach helped me become a more proficient speaker. And a third coach helped me discover that I needed to follow my own advice and devote my energy and time to those things I was passionate about and not what I thought everyone else wanted from me. A business coach can be extremely valuable to your business - if it's the right coach, with the right program, at the right time.
How do you know if you could benefit from a coach? Simple. Are you having problems moving forward with a goal? Perhaps, like me, you just can't get that book from your head to the paper. Do you want to improve a particular skill set, like speaking? Do you feel like you are constantly running but never getting ahead? When the alarm goes off in the morning, do you jump out of bed ready for the day or do you groan and hit the snooze button? If any of these sound like you, then a coach may be the answer for you.
How do you choose the right coach?
1. Does the information offered fill your needs? Working with an already published author and coach while working on my book made sense. Hiring a motivational coach may not have been as effective. Motivation was only part of the problem. I needed something more.
2. Do they actually provide good information? When I joined the author's mentoring program, I walked away from the first session with answers to several of the questions that had kept me from actually starting on my book. This continued throughout the program. At times, she even provided information I didn't know I needed (interview release forms - who knew?).
3. Do they tell the truth? If you are being promised riches overnight (or in a week or even a month) you are probably being lied to. A trustworthy coach won't make that promise. They can't. Only you know if you will actually use the information being provided. Only you know if you will put forth the time and effort and investment needed to reach your goals. The coach can promise that if you follow their guidance, you should reach your goals. But it will take time and effort on your part. And beware the gurus who spend all their time "proving" how much money they made. Anyone can photoshop bank statements or checks showing millions in income - even me (and I'm technologically challenged!). The real experts don't have to convince you they make money. They are too busy running their businesses and showing others how to build theirs.
4. Can you do what they do? A multi-level marketing expert I used to follow suggested the way to build my network marketing business was by purchasing leads and then calling these people every day and making my pitch. She sure was successful, but I hate cold-calling with a passion! Although these were "qualified" leads, the thought of calling someone I didn't know and trying to interest them in my business made me absolutely nauseous. Despite working with her for several weeks, I never could get past my distaste for cold-calling. Needless to say, we soon parted professional company.
5. Can they coach? Just because someone is an expert in their field does not mean they know how to share that knowledge and guide others in a way that is understandable to you.
6. Do they run in the right circles? And by that I don't necessarily mean the "in" crowd. I mean do other experts know and respect them? The best example I can give of this is Ken McArthur and his jvAlert events. I've had the pleasure of attending a couple of these and it's a veritable "who's who" of business and marketing experts. Ken knows his stuff, and what he doesn't know - well he knows the people who do.
7. Are you comfortable with them? This is an important consideration. Recently, I was going to start working with a new coach. I liked his program. He was recommended by many of my friends. But after talking to him on the phone, I realized I didn't like him! He had a way of speaking that I found pompous and arrogant. I always felt like it was beneath him to waste time with me; that I was just the latest check mark on his quota of new clients for the month. Perhaps it would have changed if I had actually started working with him. But I just couldn't get past that first impression. You must be comfortable with your coach or mentor or you will just be wasting your time and money. Many coaches will offer a free session so you can see if you are a good fit.
Coaching made a world of difference for me. Thanks to Denise Michaels, my book is just pages away from being finished. Under the stellar tutelage of Felicia Slattery, I can give a presentation (even in front of people I know) without becoming a nervous wreck. And thanks to Joel Comm and Andy Shepherd, I once again feel like I'm heading in the direction that's right for me. (Oh, yeah - Denise...the book you helped me start is not the book that actually got finished. Talk to Joel and Andy. It's all their fault!)
Now I need to learn how to use videos effectively. Anyone know a good coach?