Starting to work with a business coach can be hugely exciting. But it's important to secure the right business coach for you. Here are our top 11 questions that you should ask a potential business coach to help!
A business coach works to improve your individual performance within a specific skill or area of knowledge. A business coach aims to bridge the knowledge gap through a short-term contract of 6-10 sessions.
When finding the right business coach for you, you may have to interview potential candidates to decipher who will offer you the best advice for the specific area that you are looking to improve.
Of course, questions to ask a potential business coach can include asking what credentials they have, what their clients say about them, or how many people they’ve helped. Knowing that background information is certainly important, but what we think is more important is really knowing who your business coach is, and how you think your relationship with them will work.
Here are Mustard’s top 11 questions to ask a potential business coach that will help you decide whether a specific business coach is the right fit for you.
We’ve broken the questions down into four key segments: getting to know them, allowing them to know you and the issue(s) you are facing, measuring the relationship between you, and measuring success.
Questions to ask a potential business coach
Getting to know them
1 – Why are you a business coach?
This is a key question that you want to ask early. Learning why your prospective business coach took this career will tell you a lot about them.
If their answer is something along the lines of: they want to help, they want to see small businesses grow and increase profits, these are all great answers. If they say the job comes with a good salary or similar, that’s not such a good sign.
2 – What makes you different from other coaches?
This question will give your prospective business coach the opportunity to sell themselves and get their USPs across to you.
It’s a great question to allow you to see what they perceive their strengths to be without asking them outright.
3 – What are your key values?
This is one of the key questions to ask a potential business coach. Knowing someone’s key values is crucial before you start working together. Asking this question will help you understand what they consider to be important.
This will also allow you to evaluate how you think they will be able to help you best.
Allow them to get to demonstrate their understanding of you and the issue(s) you’re facing
4 – How can you help me?
The reason you’re hiring a business coach is because you have a skill or aspect of your work that needs improving. When hiring a coach, you don’t just need to know that they are capable of helping you, you need to know how they plan on doing it.
By asking this question, you’re also checking that the prospective business coach fully understands the issue you’re facing too. You don’t want to hire a coach who thinks you need help with time management, when instead it’s time efficiency that you struggle with.
5 – How many people have you seen have the same problem as I’m experiencing?
This is a great question because not only does it give you reassurance that others struggle with the same skills as yourself, but it’s also a subtle way of asking for the coach’s background and experience.
With this question, it’s an opportunity for the coach to shine a light on some of their previous success too.
6 – What’s your experience in my specific industry?
Having a business coach specialising in your niche industry isn’t crucial by any means, particularly if you’re looking to improve your project management, presentation, or organisational skills, which are transferable across sectors.
However, a business coach who has worked on improving organisation for business owners within the manufacturing industry, is great if that matches you. The closer fit of past experience can often be better, as it reassures you that the coach will understand the specific problems you face within your industry.
Measuring the relationship between you
7 – How will you know if I’m the right client for you?
As well as you getting a feel for whether the business coach will be right for you, it’s also important that your business coach feels that you are the right client for them.
In order for business coaching to be successful, a professional working relationship needs to be established between the two of you. By asking this question you can get a feel for the type of client your coach typically likes to work with, and whether you think you fit that criteria.
8 – What is your preferred method of communication?
When you’re considering the questions to ask a potential business coach, considering communication is important. This is a great question that often gets overlooked, and can really help to measure how your relationship with the business coach will work.
Some people are hugely responsive over email, but are reluctant to take phone calls, while others are the total opposite. There is no right or wrong way to communicate, but ensuring that you and your business coach are on the same page in terms of the method for, and amount of communication, is important.
9 – What is your process?
To effectively work with a business coach, you need to know what their process is going to be. This will help you understand the path that they have in mind for you to take.
This question will help you break down the task that you’re struggling with into multiple manageable parts. It’s also a great way for you to get a sense of how many sessions are going to be included and fully understand the course of action from start to finish.
10 – When and how do you evaluate progress?
When you have goals in life, no matter whether or not they’re work related, you need to make sure of two things. 1) That the goals are measurable, and 2) That you remember to track your progress.
Knowing how the business coach plans on measuring your progress can help you make your goal defined, and having a clear aim is the first step to achieving your goals.
11 – What is your definition of success?
When you work with a business coach, you’re doing so because you have goals in mind that you want to reach.
Understanding how your potential business coach defines success is an important aspect that you should know. If you’re aiming for progress, but a coach defines success as perfection, this isn’t going to be a good match for you working together.
Ensuring that you both define success in similar ways will make sure that your coach can really reach the goals that you are striving for.
Hopefully these 11 questions to ask a potential business coach have been helpful, and you are able to take some of these on board next time you have a business coach in mind.
For business coaching and business advice, Mustard Business Advisers offer a wide range of services, from business growth to exit planning, and much more.
If you’re looking for qualified and professional business advice, Mustard can help.
Contact us today to get started.