Broadly speaking, business coaches provide expert guidance and advice to help businesses and employees achieve their goals, but there are many types of coaches who have specific areas of expertise, ranging from small business coaches to executive coaches to career coaches to work-life balance coaches. For business-specific coaches, there is an exclusive 1,000 member Worldwide Association of Business Coaches that has set certification standards and exists solely for business-related coaching. If you’re considering hiring a coach for your small business, the first thing you need to ask yourself is who within your organization should be coached? Is it your sales team, a high-impact senior executive, or even yourself? To help determine this, check out the three different types of executive coaching options below:
Sales coaching typically focuses on communication style and goal setting for people in sales roles. This type of coaching can also focus on maximizing contact management tools, creating attention getting sales presentations, evaluating potential markets and understanding team dynamics. Further, companies that provide coaching to less experienced salespeople can expect to see an average of a 17 percent increase in sales revenue and productivity, according to a study from the Sales Executive Council (SEC).
Senior managers may need a boost in areas such as leadership skills, strategic planning, marketing and career pathing. When determining which senior managers need to be coached, small business owners may first want to assess which key employees are most receptive to the idea. In fact, an AON consulting survey showed that 58 percent of all organizations feel they are faced with leadership shortages.
As a business owner, you may consider yourself the unofficial coach of the office. While this may be true, it doesn’t mean you can necessarily be objective about yourself. An executive coach can be a refreshing alternative to employees providing reviews on their boss, especially if they feel they need to soft-pedal constructive feedback. By contrast, a coach knows he or she has been hired to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly.
For example, you may be a micromanager who gets so caught up in the smallest daily details that you’ve lost sight of the big picture. A coach can help by providing advanced time management skills and analyzing your delegation alternatives. Or, perhaps your goals are grandiose, like spinning off your expertise into a book or a television show. A coach can help you create a step-by-step strategic plan to achieve these goals.
As the owner of your small business, you may be very aware of your strengths but not your weaknesses. Working with a coach may help you maximize your strengths and get some balance into your life so that you’re always able to maximize your time and energy spent on running your small business.
If you decide to look into using into a business coach, bear in mind that a coach’s knowledge of organizational behavior and management may be more important than specialized expertise in your industry. In fact, coaching experience in a diverse variety of industries, company sizes and markets may be ideal. He or she will be able to share best practices that are applicable to your company and industry. You should look for a coach with certification in specific assessment tools and knowledge of executive job functions.
Coaches’ billing rates may vary, according to a Harvard Business Review report, executives coaches charge $200 to $3,500 per hour for their services. You should expect a typical engagement to last six months to several years and have weekly or biweekly meetings.
Whether you’re seeking to increase sales, groom managers for company leadership or refine your own vision for the company, coaches can do more than give you a few pointers. They can help you devise and execute a winning strategy for your company’s future. Have you ever used an executive coach? How was your experience? Share your thoughts with the SBOC community below.