Everyone struggles at some point when you’re running your own business. It’s not easy wearing all those hats and most of us realise (or quickly do) that you just can’t be good at everything. It’s at that point that, instead of employing the highly specialist knowledge or resource (at great cost) you might look at getting a business coach to help you through this next phase of your business.

Once you know the areas you are struggling or lacking, you are actually half way there to finding a great coach! Consider why you want a coach in the first place, and look for someone who specializes in that area.

Step 1: Think about your goals

If you don’t first consider what your needs are and why you want a coach in the first place, you might pick the wrong person. Perhaps your business financials are growing steadily, but you have a hard time leading your team? Or maybe you’ve got a great team but you think the systems may be letting you down or some other operational challenge? While most coaches can speak to things holistically, you might benefit from a coach who specializes in one specific area.

Step 2: Everything doesn’t start and stop with Google

It may be tempting to start with a simple online search for the best business coach in your area. However, like many consultants or service-based business roles, a referral can make all the difference. Tap into your business network and ask around to see if anyone you know and trust has had a positive experience with a coach.

You can also ask industry groups and business associations like entrepreneurship and startup groups, chambers and so on. Most of these organizations have LinkedIn groups and local meetups where you can ask for referrals.

Step 3: Your industry does matter

While there may be specific things that you need coaching for that are the same across industries, there is value and matching with a coach how has some experience in your industry. After all, running a high-growth technology company that is looking to raise capital is very different to a manufacture looking to innovate for efficiencies. Some of the things you need coaching for might overlap. But if you don’t feel that the coach truly understands what you are going through then you may not trust their advice.

Step 4: You need to like each other

It is important to connect with your coach in a natural way. After all, you likely will be sharing all of your professional wins and losses with this person, much like you would with a friend. But with coaching, it’s a fine line. You shouldn’t be choosing a coach like a friend or even a favored co-worker. While it may be great to find a coach you would enjoy having dinner with, crossing the line into friendship can make it hard to receive tough feedback or continued professional accountability. Remember, the relationship is to make you better in your career and help grow your business first and foremost. 

It’s worth it

The process of finding the right business coach can take a bit of time, but it is worth it. Seek out a referral, make sure the coach’s experience aligns with your needs and ensure your connection allows for openness and accountability. If you check all of these boxes, you will undoubtedly find the right coach for you—and your business likely will benefit from it.