Over the last 2 1/2 years I was involved in a start up from the get go - creating the whole look and feel for the brand to taking it to market. My skills and experience are broad and varied and I am now doing my own thing creating Visual Identity for individuals and small businesses. But I am seeking someone to work one on one with to help me gain clarity on my long term goal.
Finding a coach is easy - there are many of them out there. Finding the right coach is the challenge. There are several factors to consider:
Working with a coach that has similar experience in their background is not absolutely necessary, but can be very valuable. Having someone that can truly understand what you're trying to accomplish, and can empathize with the challenges you face, will help smooth communication.
Coaching skills are equally important, though. Many experienced business people position themselves as "coaches", but they aren't actually very skilled at coaching - they're more likely to tell you what *they* would do, rather than truly help you dig deep and find the right answer for yourself. The result is that you end up pursuing your version of someone else's goal, or someone else's version of your goal. Neither is totally fulfilling.
"Fit" is also really important. Personality, communication style, sense of humor... - these all factor in to the quality of a coaching relationship, and are very personal and unique to each coach. Take the time to meet several potential coaches and see who you connect with. Also, don't ever feel bad about saying "this just isn't working".
I used to be very skeptical of coaching as a profession, for a number of reasons. Once I found the right coach, though, the experience was transformational for me, and pivotal to my success as an entrepreneur.
I'd be happy to have a conversation to determine if there's a "fit". I work with dozens of entrepreneurs, having been one myself for over 12 years. I'm not right for everyone, though. You have to make that determination for yourself.
Getting a clear idea of your long-term goal is valuable. It will help you work out whether short-term decisions are in keeping with that vision.
One problem I've encountered is people having no long-term goal (other than, maybe, "make some money"). Another is having long-term goals that are vague.
If you do speak to a business coach, I'd recommend you get some specifics short-term goals that you own, and, of course, that are in keeping with your long-term goal.
You could look at financial benefits, even emotional ones (you don't want your business to run you!), physical (working remotely, holidays, etc.) and even spiritual.
Of course I'd be happy to help you work through this, or recommend you speak to an existing business coach you know or a colleague or friend.
Many people arrive at a coaches doorstep for different reasons, but often there is a crisis which they are not sure how to navigate through.
Then the question becomes - how do I find the right person to help me figure this out? What questions should I ask a coach?
Here are nine principals for choosing a coach that's perfect for you.
Trust your gut
After the initial conversation, how do you feel? Would this coach be a good fit for your life? Do they relate to you and does it seem like they "get you?" Did anything shift? Do you feel lighter or have increased clarity after you talked? Do you feel a sense of trust? Have they made you feel safe to say what's on your mind without censorship.
If not, keep looking, but remember a masterful coach may also ask very tough questions, so temper the fact that it’s a new experience with the guidance of your intuition.
What kind of process does the coach use, and can they explain it in an understandable way? As the saying goes, if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it yourself.
If everything seems too complicated before you even start, you probably won’t finish.
What is the coaches philosophy? Is it in the same universe as your world view? Are you looking for a coach who has a totally different philosophy than you do? Perhaps you need a radical shake up in your life?
If your coach doesn’t have a philosophy they live by and can express, keep looking. It does not have to match yours exactly, but it should be one that inspires you in some fundamental way.
You’ll know when you hear a powerful question from a coach. It will crack something wide open for you. If you don’t hear any of these in your conversation with a prospective coach, keep looking. Without brave compelling questions, you just won’t go deep in coaching, and that’s a waste of time and money.
Does your coach have a way to support you between each of your calls or meetings? Do they offer online solutions and additional tools to help you track your process and set specific and measurable goals.
Do they incorporate accountability into the process? Do they offer you an efficient way to check in between the calls and do they have a way to allow you to see the complete history of all the coaching that you do together. Without a support structure in place, you won’t get dynamic results.
Does your coach feel like a natural or does it feel like the techniques they use are floating on top of the process?
Coaching is an art and a science, so you need to find the coach that has explored and developed their own gifts.
Some coaches have a gift, some coaches have a script.
Experience can be overrated. The more you do something doesn't always mean you get better at it. Underneath experience is understanding and wisdom.
Many coaches will tell you about there specialty niche to try and add some authority,
Niche coaching is largely about marketing.
Your coach does not have to have done everything you have done, nor do they need to be an expert in your field to offer effective coaching.
You need to be a rock star to coach one
This myth is incredibly popular in our niche obsessed world, especially for executive coaching. In essence, it's the idea that in order for a coach to be effective, they must have a resume that matches or exceeds the client's. So if your client is running a Fortune 500 company, the coach should have run one too.
But a similar track record doesn't mean an ability to coach effectively. Of course, every masterful coach must have the ability to understand the heartbeat and rhythm of the industry and what the client is trying to accomplish, but the "just like me" myth is flawed because it assumes that the right fit to take your game higher is always someone who knows what you know.
A coach that too closely mirrors the client may share the client's blind spots and biases, and it may not take the client anywhere other than deeper into what they already know.
Meaning & Purpose
When you boil the necessities of life down to the the basics, we see that people all need the same things. We all want to find a way to live and work that creates happiness and contentment.
We all need to develop strategies to help us navigate through problems and issues in our lives, and we all need to discover a vision for ourselves worth living for.
Does the coach you are considering offer ideas that are compelling to you? What kind of online presence do they have? Have they presented interesting ideas you can read or listen to?
Can you remember the first time you visited their website or blog? How did it feel to you? Did their message move you in some way or inspire you to want to take action? Are they adding to the clutter or taking it away? Did they have some kind of compelling presentation that felt fresh or were they just saying the same old stuff.
Hire that coach whose presence speaks to you.
Most coaches offer testimonials, so read them and see what people who have worked with them experienced. Some coaches will let you talk to previous clients if you like. If that’s important for you, then ask.
Does the coach create an energy for you that seems inviting in some way. You have to have some kind of spark in order to get the most out of a coaching relationship.
Choose someone who doesn’t feel like they came out of a cookie cutter.
Choose someone you enjoy talking with.
Choose someone who has a sense of humor.
Coaching is also about joy, not just about getting stuff done and creating a check list.
It's about finding deeper level of happiness in daily living.
It’s your life, so ask for a complimentary session, and before you have that session, figure out what’s really important for you, make a list and ask questions if you have them, and then follow your heart and you’ll make a good choice for yourself.
Your not just building a business, you are building a life. Something worth remembering.
Hope that helps.