I'm more than open to having calls with Clarity but as a startup have liimied budget to allocate to coaching. Problem that Iｆｉｎｄ ｉｓ Ｉdon't know if its a fit and don't have the budget to try everyone until I find the right one spending potentially thousands. I had a bad experience with an "expert" who offered no real value but costs $200. Any suggestions?
1. Check to make sure they have directly applicable knowledge / wisdom for you and experience in your industry. I've found that in the beginning stages of my startups finding a coach / mentor with specific experience in my sector gave me the fastest and greatest ROI.
2. Start with a short call (i.e. 30 minutes) and ask a very specific question. Be super focused and make sure the info you ask for (and get) is actionable. A small investment ($100 to $200) could result in a fantastic ROI. And remember that sometimes great advice / coaching SAVES you thousands.
3. Ask the coach if they offer an initial free consultation. But if you do so - be respectful of their time and if you figure out during the call that there's not a good fit - end the call asap.
4. Check reviews and get references. Do some online research and find out what you can about them. At the very least you should get a sense of what they are about.
5. Take action. Hey - you're an entrepreneur.. And taking risk is what we do. Absolutely do everything you can to mitigate that risk. But once you've completed your due diligence you just gotta go for it!
I have a couple of free calls left from my most recent offer. Should you wish to give me a try;
In any case - best of luck!
Most coaches that offer real value are not cheap! You'll find many of the more affordable ones don't have much real experience to pull from.
I found mine by asking for recommendations around the blogosphere, and being specific on what I was looking for. For example, I didn't want a coach who helps people launch businesses, since I already had my own business -- I wanted a coach who was experienced in helping small businesses scale. Being specific about what I wanted helped me narrow the field.
(I ended up with Charlie Gilkey of http://productiveflourishing.com. He's awesome.)
You've asked a very vague question - if you start out with a vague (aka poor quality) question you'll get a poor quality result.
There are all sorts of different coaches and consultants so it ultimately depends on what stage your business is currently, eg startup, existing profitable business with stable cashflow, existing business with cashflow problems, and what your goal is, eg get the business of the ground, grow the business, dig out of a cashflow hole.
To me is sounds like you need a more specific set of criteria and tangible, measureable outcomes before going any further.
Look for a coach who is actively involved in your startup community. There are lots of "business coaches" out there but few who really understand the dynamics of startups.
I believe any credible coach even one that charges substantial rates for substantial advice would be open to providing a 30 minute Q&A, in which you can try to present situations to them to see if they have the right sort of expertise and can properly communicate it with you.
Often times, you can approach other start ups with a similar product or service type and ask them who they are using. Former founders, VCs, and board members are eager to help out others within the same niches to continue to grow opportunities in the areas they already have interest in. They are also usually right on top of the knowledge waves.
Make sure you respect the coach enough to be able to take candid constructive and sometimes difficult feedback. If the coach isn't challenging the way you think and bring change to you and your organization, you probably aren't getting the value out of the relationship you need to for the rates you mention above.
Lastly, understand the difference between a coach and an area expert. Coaches are frequently there to help with broader macro strategy and the development of leadership. They can help you season faster and identify problems to proactively manage instead of being reactive to them or letting them dent your business model. Area specialists are people who can help you in specific segments or areas of the business where your company doesn't have the right mix and isn't looking to add full time talent. Think of marketing, sales management, human resources, public relations, supply chain, finance, etc.
Good luck on your hunt, I believe you will know when you have met your correct match. If it doesn't feel right or you aren't seeing clear value don't continue with it.
This is the real issue with the professional coaching industry today. As per ICF, there are over 47,000 certified coaches across the globe. But there isn't any way to identify a credible and most relevant coach today. As per the American Management Association (AMA) survey, it is evident that over 65% of the coaching engagements fail because of personality mismatch (Refer to pg #15 at http://www.opm.gov/WIKI/uploads/docs/Wiki/OPM/training/i4cp-coaching.pdf). Few directories such as www.noomii.com, www.freelancecoach.com, etc lists many coaches, but finding the right person is still an issue. Even the Coach referral service from ICF also does not solve this puzzle.
I'm part of a project - www.coatom.com - based in Bangalore India which is trying to solve this. The project will be going live by next month (April) and over 350 coaches have signed up already. Complete personal & professional profile of the coach, a unique scoring methodology (algorithmic), etc are expected to solve this match making issue.
I shall keep you posted. If you are not in a hurry, you can wait till it is launched. Else, as Dan suggested, try few credible coaches on Clarity.
Hope this helps!
After 10 years as an executive coach I would suggest that you get really clear about what coaching is and what you truly desire in what you're calling a coach. Many self-styled coaches are really educators, workshop leaders, information marketers, consultants or mentors using this decade's buzz word to describe what they do. A coach will help you achieve your goals by building your internal capacity, problem solving abilities, supporting habits and self awareness. A coach will help you formulate questions that expand possibility and will assist you in creating habits that sustain and build you. A great coach will leave you stronger with more capacity and more faith in yourself than when you started.
Be careful of the person who styles themselves an expert in the domain you're trying to improve. Experts tend to offer answers that have worked for others. One of the wonderful things about coaching is that it works to help you find answers that work for and with you, that build on your strengths and get you around any areas that have been challenges for you in the past.
Beware the 3,5 or 7 step process or any 'coach' who promises a blueprint to a promised land.
There can be value in 'program' based learning and 'blueprints' to success but it is decidedly not coaching.
Ask yourself if you're looking for a mentor, a consultant or an accountability buddy. All of these roles have value, but again, are not coaching per-se.
The International Coaches Federation (ICF) website provides a good list of well trained and tested coaches. After that proceed as you would with any professional, ask for references, training schools attended, years in operation. Rather than asking for a 'sample' coaching call ask for a conversation to discuss right fit. When you get the conversation inquire into how the coach themselves determines if a client will work well with them. Newer or less confident coaches will have trouble answering this question. An experienced coach knows who they work well with. Ask specifically how a coach distinguishes between mentoring, coaching, consulting & training and listen carefully to see what it is exactly that you want.
I'd be happy to speak with you regarding right fit if you like.