3 Things to Look for in a Business Coach

Michael Gallagher, .


Some people look great on paper; they seem smart, savvy, experienced, and  a great fit. But a one-dimensional representation
doesn’t do the whole person justice. A great resume doesn’t always translate into a great employee, for instance. When hiring a business coach, it is important to get a more three-dimensional look at your potential coach. What should you be looking for?

  • Experience. The coaching industry has exploded in recent years; the good news is that this means you have some highly trained professionals
    out there who can really help you achieve your goals. The bad news is that nearly anyone can call himself a business coach. You don’t want someone who decided to start coaching this week. Is the ink on his/her business card still wet?

It is not that those starting in the profession are not professional, but you really want to make sure you are connecting with someone who can help. What training and education do they have? What credentials or affiliations do they hold?

  • References. Can this coach give you the names of someone (preferably local) with whom he has worked? Ask the reference how well the coaching process worked and how they felt about this coach in particular. What did he/she bring to the table?
  • Connection. This is arguably the most important factor in your decision. How well do you connect with this person? You can have a very effective coach on one hand, and a very smart business owner on the other, but if the two don’t connect, you are not going to get much of value from the relationship. It’s no one’s fault; it may be that they don’t communicate in compatible ways, or that they don’t have the same priorities or values.

Whatever the reason, it is better to make this determination as early as possible. Some of this can be addressed via the referrals and references with whom you speak, but much of it has to come through interaction with the potential coach. Can you work with this person?

You’ll hear top CEOs, advising colleges and business owners to hire coaches; you’ll hear how beneficial the ROI is. This is all true; or rather, it can all be true. Finding the right coach is one of the two determining factors. The other is how much you put into the process on your end.

Implementing some of the ideas mentioned here can be challenging. If you would like to discuss them in the context of your own specific business please contact us. We’d be glad to help.


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Michael Gallagher

Mike Gallagher, President of Michael Gallagher Advisory, has spent the past 20 years helping small business owners and managers develop and implement strategic business plans, achieve sustainable, targeted growth and solve the problems that keep them up at night.