I believe in the power of hiring business coaches. The practice is proven and pretty much a mainstream behavior for many in business today.
But, simply hiring a coach to help you work on some aspect of your business, career or life does not guarantee success or even progress.
One of the things I’ve learned about the coaching relationships I’ve had over the years is that it takes a certain kind of approach to get results and it takes a great amount of commitment from the person being coached if any kind of progress is to be made.
I recently started working with a fitness coach at Ward Fitness Systems as I see sustained business performance and fitness as two very intertwined notions. In fact, I think “business performance fitness” is a coaching niche begging for serious expansion.
Working with a coach in this arena reminded me of the attributes of the best coaching relationships and what you must look for in any coach you consider long-term.
Accountability is the easy one really. If you know you should be improving your speaking ability and you hire a coach, you’re probably going to practice and prepare more when you’ve scheduled time and spent the money.
But, making you show up is only half of the accountability element. The real task is helping you determine what it is you’re trying to achieve and holding you accountable for making progress towards your stated objectives.
A good coach will always spend a lot of time helping you figure out specifically why you want to hire a coach rather than trying to convince why you should hire them as your coach.
I want any coach I work with to have a set point of view about what I’m trying to do and a proven, practiced and repeatable process. That’s not to say that you’re looking for cookie cutter solutions, but you need a coach that can spot patterns and mold experience to your unique situation in a way that they can repeat. It’s the only way to truly measure progress and it’s the best way to create momentum.
When hiring a coach ask about their process. Even a brilliant coach can’t stay on track inside of your progress without a repeatable process and sharable language.
3) Behavior change
The job that you’ve really hired a coach for, know it or not, admit it or not, is to change your behavior. It’s the only way that growth happens, it’s the only way that habits are broken and formed and it’s the only way that you can attack any problem from a fresh framework. If you’ve ever tried to break a bad habit or, say, lose weight, then you know that you can’t simply use more willpower, you have to change the underlying behavior and perhaps the underlying reward for misbehavior before anything happens.
Maybe you’ve also succeeded in this category and seen first hand the role that your beliefs played in your behavior change. If your coach isn’t going to work on habits, behavior and beliefs as part of the entire plan, no matter what you’ve hired them to help you do, they will simply treat the symptoms at best.
Here’s a part that more coaches actually need to understand and sell better. A really good coach will pay for himself or herself multiple times over in terms of how fast they help you get a result.
When you consider what your time is worth and multiply that by the gains achieved by reaching your objectives, you can easily justify the cost of a coach that gets you results. But, there is a catch. Your coach not only needs to be good enough to help you get a result, they need to be good enough to make you faster at working towards one.
For example, one of the huge benefits of working with my particular fitness coach is that I get way more out of the time we spend together in the gym than if I am to spend the same time on my own. And, not because he pushes me harder than I might push myself, but because he insists that every single movement is done in a way that gives maximum benefit. So, I get twice the benefit of doing what I do with a coach and will ultimately reach my goal faster.
The only way to reach a goal or stay on track is to measure your progress. Most coaches know this and do this, but it’s an absolute must and another great reason to work with the right coach.
My mentor of sorts Peter Drucker was famous for saying “what gets measured gets done,” but the added benefit of a coach is that what gets measured and reported gets done exponentially.
A good coach must help you measure your progress in multiple ways and require you to report your progress and continually revisit your commitments.
Again, I think fitness coaches should be on every business owner’s team – right up there with attorneys, accountants, marketing consultants, business consultants, writing coaches, executive coaches and the like, but no matter what kind of coaching your get, get it right.
So, any coaches out there want to weigh in on this?