5 Key Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Business Coach

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  • What business consulting and coaching experience do you bring?

Coaching and consulting are different skill sets. In a business coach, you’re looking for sound business knowledge, ideas, alternatives, advice (consulting) as well as the ability to step back and challenge you to step up to greatness, be accountable for your actions and ask you great questions so you get unstuck in order to achieve your goals (coaching). You want someone with both skill sets. Check out the recommendations and testimonials from those they have worked with. What kinds of work does your coach write / publish? Is this coach the expert you need?

  • Tell me about your experience as a coach and a small business owner.

Working with a business coach who also has experience as a business owner can make all the difference to you. Coaches with prior or current business experience just “get it”. They have walked a mile or more in your moccasins and struggled with similar challenges. They can offer more practical solutions and anticipate obstacles you’ll need to overcome to implement change. Experience with different industries brings different ways of seeing solutions and more options – often what is needed for innovative thinking.

  • Who is your ideal client?

Your coach needs to fit with who you are. If your coach can’t answer this question, chances are s/he hasn’t thought much about target markets and is not likely going to bring that mindset to your business. Does your coach specialize in small businesses with fewer than 50 employees? Solo entrepreneurs? Mom Preneurs? Are you a good fit from a personality standpoint? Do you have rapport? Can you stand to work with this person?

  • What additional tools or programs do you offer?

Do you have the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs / clients of the coach? Are there workshops you can attend, articles or newsletters you can subscribe to? Does the coach partner tools that you can use right away or leave you with concepts that you need to figure out how to implement? Are there other coaches or partners you work with that you can access? How flexible are the coaching programs? Do you have an opportunity to change your program as your needs change?

  • What’s your availability? Between coaching sessions? To my leadership team?

Sometimes, you just can’t wait for the next coaching session. Is your coach available in-between sessions (via email or otherwise)? Does your coach work with the business or only you, as the business owner? For example, will your coach work with your operations manager in implementing changes that you are driving?