6 things to consider when looking for a small business coach
#5 Not all small business coaches are the same (but in a good way)
A business coach can help you grow and evolve your small business, so that you can move closer to the life and success you’d like to experience. A great coach can help you focus on your strengths while identifying areas in your business that could be shifted to see progress.
Whether you’re looking to update a thing or two about your business, or you’re looking for someone to team up with long-term, here are 6 things that I believe are important to keep in mind as you’re choosing a business coach:
1. Collaboration is key in small business coaching
There are many coaches who tell you what you should (ahem) do, based on what has worked for them, what sounds like a great idea on paper — or what works “right now”.
If a coach makes you feel like they’re the only one with solutions, if they’re not listening to how you feel about their advice, or if they push back when you try to voice your opinions… RUN!
You are the expert on yourself, your business, and your situation — your input matters.
That being said…
2. Your small business coach can bring a fresh perspective
When you work with anyone who’s an expert at what they do (like a designer, a coach, a strategist), you may not always get what you paid for. But in a good way.
👉 You go in to solve a particular issue
👉 You think you know what’s causing the issue
👉 But because they’re the expert, they see opportunities for changes that might have gone overlooked — and working out those kinks may provide much more relief than you had originally imagined..
This might mean that you’ll get solutions to problems that you thought had none — or your coach might help you work through an area that you didn’t recognize as an issue at first.
Related to this point: A coach may also recommend that you work with other types of experts to implement certain things in your business. For example, hiring an operations expert to set up your client management system, if you want to focus your time on revenue-generating work.
3. A good business coach takes a holistic approach
It might be the psychologist in me, but I also think this is just common sense; it’s important that your coach sees you as a whole, not just as a business owner.
A great coach considers your personality, ideas, values, preferences, and situation in their advice. This helps you make shifts that align with who you are, and how you best work — so that you can create a business that works for your life.
It may take longer than running you through a cookie-cutter program, but it’s 100% worth it to experiment and find what works best for you. You’ll experience more sustainable shifts in your business, because working in a way that fits you requires less effort and energy than pushing through with activities that don’t feel right.
This is also why 1:1 coaching and group coaching are powerful, because you’re getting help on your particular issue from the coach. It’s very hard to create a course or program that has solutions to everyone’s individual situation, business, and personality — which is why many still struggle after participating.
4. Solutions should be simple and practical
We Finns value practical, simple solutions that feel doable — and refining what you already have if it makes sense. Small shifts are usually easier to manage than sweeping overhauls, and can make a huge difference in how you feel.
5. Not all small business coaches are the same
Because there are so many small business coaches out there, my #1 recommendation is to pick one that’s specialized in supporting people who share your current biggest struggle.
For example, when you’re starting out you might want to work with someone who helps you figure out what you do, who you do it for, and how to market that.
Another coach might be better when you’re figuring out how to grow and scale your business as you’ve gotten some momentum.
A coach focused on time management or productivity is best when you’re not happy about what you’re spending your time on. Maybe you’d like to reclaim some of the work spent on admin for clients, or you’d like to step away from your desk at a decent hour and experience more work-life balance.
A business coach should also tell you if they’re not the right fit for you.
For example, I specialize in helping small business owners be more productive and free up their time for either more paid client work or for work-life balance — but I’m not the right fit if you’re looking for someone to help you find and book more clients.
6. Signing up for business coaching should feel mostly exciting
I’ve signed up for a handful of coaching or strategy offers over the years. In hindsight, I can recognize that every time I didn’t feel mostly excited to hand over my money, the service also didn’t yield the results I wanted and overall it felt like a bit of a waste of time and money.
In even more hindsight, I can see that I still learned valuable lessons from those purchases — mainly that I got better at recognizing what types of people I like to work with and purchasing services that are appropriate for the season my business is in.
If you’re feeling more apprehensive than excited about hiring a specific business coach, it might not be the right time, the right type of service, or the right coach right now.
Final thoughts on hiring a small business coach
When you pick a coach who can help you focus on what’s current for you, who will consider your situation holistically, and who works together with you to find solutions you can actually see yourself doing, you’ll spend your money intentionally and will hopefully see great results.
Want to be more productive ASAP?
Together we can figure out practical things you can do to be more productive — without having to push yourself so hard. Find out how we can team up on my website>>
Or listen to the Building Balance podcast for weekly thoughts and tips around productivity and work-life balance for solo business owners.