Business Coaching Basics

Theo Etzel’s Management Matters

Business coaches can be industry specific. However, I feel that there are many resources inside any industry that can provide detailed information for industry-specific challenges. One of the main values of a well-rounded business coach is a broad perspective developed through interactions with a diversified clientele. Since many business challenges cross company and industry lines, having someone who has traveled down many paths with various types of businesses brings a wider range of solutions.

A good business coach gets to know you, the person. He or she can read your body language, your mood, the mood of the company and areas where you struggle. These attributes separate a coach from a consultant. I believe in consultants. They can be useful for improvement in specific areas. They tend to possess expertise in processes and can enhance efficiencies inside departments. Business coaches get inside your head more and learn you as a person — your methods and motivations. They invest the time in understanding you and your interactions inside your company.

Let’s look at what I consider some basics about business coaches.
• They don’t come in and run your business.
• They will not have all the answers. They should help you find the answer.
• They do not necessarily have to come from within your industry, but they need to have an understanding of how businesses and organizations operate.
• They should be friendly but not turn into “just a friend.”
• They must possess great communication skills and be able to have brutally honest conversations with you.
• Above all, they must share your values and ethics.

Where can you find the right coach?
The sources of business coaches vary widely. Most cities will have multiple people offering these services. Of course, the larger the city, the more depth of experience and number of coaches there will be from which to pick. Often asking other business owners in your circle of friends and acquaintances will reveal people who already use such a person. Referrals are the best, just as in our businesses, from people you trust and respect. Chambers of Commerce and local colleges should also have sources for business coaches.

Watch for my next blog post:
3 keys to a Successful Business Coaching Relationship

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