There are many styles of business coaching of which you should be aware as you search for a business coach. It helps to have some insight into your own personality to know what types of coaching will help you get to where you want to be. The wrong type of coaching may actually harm your progress rather than push you forward.
Coaches who are innovators have a system already set up that they want to use. They are usually experts in helping businesses just like yours move forward. They already know exactly what you need to do to get where you want to go because they’ve worked with your business type and industry, and they've worked out all the kinks. But they’ll want you to do as you’re told, without much compromise. Nothing is wrong with that, as long as you have the right personality to trust your coach to lead you to the place you want to be.
Some coaches are teachers at heart and love to teach you how to run your business efficiently and solve the problems you have identified. They may want to try different methods throughout the coaching process which gives you a chance to choose your direction more than some of the other coaching methods. A trainer is going to teach you how to be successful, taking into consideration your own skill level.
This type of coach sees themselves as a partner in your business and will work with you in a consensus-type manner. You’ll talk out the various issues you have and likely they’ll use the right questions to direct you toward solutions you essentially develop yourself. They’ll offer a lot of feedback, accountability and encouragement.
Often a trailblazer on their own, they’ve already done what you want to do and they know exactly how you need to do it to duplicate their success. They’ll expect you to follow them and do it just the way they did it. Of course, they’ve already made all the mistakes, so you’ll only do what was successful. They are going to give high accountability and check in a lot to ensure that you followed through.
A lot like the leader, but more direct, the authoritarian coach has their way of doing things and if you don’t do it their way, you’ll be asked to leave. They want you to be open minded to their authority over your business choices in terms of the coaching contract. For instance, they may give you homework to do and if it’s not done at the time of your meeting, your meeting will be cancelled but not your bill. This works great for business owners who aren’t self-motivated and need that added incentive to get things done.
This is often considered the cheerleader of the business coaching profession. This type of coach can be a good match with someone who is self-motivated and already has a good idea of what they want to do (and even how to do it), but needs someone to push them forward and tell them they can do it, and should do it.
Some coaches like to feel out their client, and based on the client’s goals they’ll experiment with different ways to reach the goal based on the personality of the client rather than their own personality. This can work well for people who are sometimes self-motivated, but other times need someone to be more authoritative once a decision has been made about how something will work.
There are coaches who are very good at feeling out your emotional level and working with and using that connection to get you to move through barriers that have stopped you in the past. They are great at building a relationship with you, and they use that emotional connection so that you won’t want to disappoint them and you’ll do the work that needs to be done to achieve success. Don’t worry; they care about you too - it’s not a game. It’s just how their mind and personality works.
No one coaching style is right for everyone, and the truth is most of the time each business coach demonstrates one or more of these coaching styles. That’s why it’s important to understand what you need and use the interviewing and free consultation process to choose the right coach for you.
Rich Thurman’s passion is helping small businesses realize their full potential. With twenty years of real world experience in both small and large business, Rich has worked for and with both global industry leaders and small-town family-run storefronts.
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