There’s been an explosion of growth in coaching industry. This fiery evolution has brought an interesting leaning along with it. It’s nudged a shift from acquiring professional training on the art and science of coaching to a vast number of professionals hanging out their “the coach is in” placard. After all, as is often heard, everyone’s a coach. (Psssst. No, they’re not.)
I have to admit – in the 20 + years as a business coach, I’ve seldom seen bad press on the coaching industry. There must be a number of stories lurking someplace. Coaching shills exist.
In one report, it appears the FTC busted a ring of con artists acting like business coaches. You can read the nitty gritty here.
In another article, there are coaches coaching coaches on how to make money coaching others how to make six figures. Yikes!
As someone who has dedicated a career to upholding the highest standards of honesty and integrity – not just for the coaching industry but for business, in general – it saddens me to read the stories of those unfamiliar with the coaching industry.
It’s as frustrating for me as it is for you. It’s painful to see you invest your hard-earned dollars into business coaching delivered by someone who is merely guessing at what works.
Without any previous experience with a business coach, how can you separate the wheat from the chaff? Being aware of the initial hints of concern will safeguard significant resources
It's impossible to list all the scams and shams that you might come across that rise to the level of buyer beware. Instead, let me outline a few things to look for to ascertain the fitness of a business coach.
Do they have a website?
The notion of no web presence sounds laughable in this day and age. Yet, it happens. A business missing vital marketing pieces requires scrutiny.
Is contact information listed?
The concern for safety of those who work from a home office is valid. Nonetheless, resources that demonstrate legitimacy are easily accessible – like a P.O. Box.
How long have they been in business?
This is not to say that a business coach with one year under their belt isn’t skilled, but you want to look at their entire picture of experience to get a sense of what you’re getting into.
What is their area of specialty?
What type and size of business is a good fit for them?
What is their coaching philosophy?
For instance, do they follow a particular methodology that may, in fact, conflict with your style and strengths?
How are their listening skills?
This is huge! You want a coach who listens to what you say as well as hears what is not being communicated. The difference between a coach listening and hearing influences the level of transformation you’ll realize in your business. You can read more about what makes an effective coach here.
What technology is available that allows for just-in-time access?
Previously “walled off” by boundaries of engaging your coach during a brief meeting weekly, business needs have changed. Coaching must modernize and adapt to the changing needs of clients with availability and access.
Do they allow a complimentary consultation, coaching session, or get-to-know-you meeting?
It's a rare sighting when a business coach stops short of the offer of a courtesy call. Don't let them do all the talking, however. Come to the meeting prepared with a few questions to ask your potential coach.
Coaching is a bit of a mystery – even to this day. It’s a challenge to figure out how to measure results and ROI when soft returns such a reduced stress and less overwhelm are the catalysts to greater clarity and clearly defined outcomes. Working with a business coach without any formal training turns the experience into a nightmare.