Running a business is always a tricky proposition. Building and then running a successful business, no matter if it is a local company or a multi-national one, takes a lot of investment, not just financial, but physical and emotional as well on the part of the business owner.
It can often feel pretty much like a solo pursuit having to navigate the volatile waters of the business world and the need for a sounding board, an unbiased, professional voice becomes vital that can help with self-development, give insightful advice, break through roadblocks, unlock hidden potentials, set accountability for business growth and provide that much needed push to achieve desired business goals. And here’s where a business coach can make a significant difference.
What does a business coach do?
A business coach is a skilled and qualified professional (they can be entrepreneurs or business owners themselves) with experience of the business world, who provide personalized advice that can help a client with specific business issues, work with them to define their goals, aid in refining their vision for their business, help find solutions to problems along the way, and set in place a number of strategies that can help them finally accomplish their business objectives. In short, if a business is under pressure and is having trouble making a mark, a business coach is the right person to help the owner revive its brand via a systematic, organized, step-by-step coaching process.
Why become a business coach?
There are various reasons why professionals choose to become business coaches. It is the motivation behind choosing the business coaching profession that generally determines how successful a particular business coach will become. These are some attributes that help contribute to the success of a business coach:
- when you truly have the passion to help people and make a meaningful impact in their business
- the desire to make a positive contribution to improve your community by utilizing your skills
- to gain self-fulfilment via the chosen profession
- to put your degree to good use and maximize earning potential
- it is a natural progression in your career
- you have exceptional listening, communication and people management skills that let you connect with individuals easily and meaningfully
- you are happy to let clients be in the limelight and be a solid support behind the scenes
Why do business owners hire the services of a business coach?
Apart from seeking advice and strategy to revive a struggling business, there are many other aspects of business that a business coach can help business owners with, including:
- Devising strategies to make an already successful business even more successful
- Helping build a business from the ground up
- Taking a business stuck in a plateau to the next level of performance
- Redefining the business mission and vision to accelerate growth
- Helping improve operations to aid growth
- Working on short- and long-term plans to help future prospects
- To have a trusted, experienced guidance that is reliable when the going gets tough
Business coaching statistics and ROI
The numbers for business coaching are quite stunning. According to the ICF, business coaching was valued at over $2.4 billion, with a yearly growth average of 6% and was the second fastest growing industry in the US in 2021. The following statistics clearly show the efficacy of business coaching:
- One in every six businesspersons have used coaching to improve their performance
- One-third of successful business owners have used business coaching or help of a support group
- One of the most eye-catching statistics shows that 33% of startup owners who were coached by successful entrepreneurs went on to become top performers themselves
- 92% of small business owners reported that business coaching had a direct impact on their growth
- 80% of coachees report increased self-confidence after going through the coaching process
- Business expansion, HR concerns, and assistance with startups were the top issues where owners requested guidance from business coaches
A study conducted by Metrix Global LLC, that was quoted by Brian Tracy International, shows the remarkable ROI that business coaching delivers
- 53% of business owners said that it increased productivity
- 61% of owners reported increase in job satisfaction
- 23% of business owners reported that business coaching helped them reduce operational costs
- 22% of companies stated that business coaching increased their profitability
- 67% of business owners said that business coaching improved their teamwork
How to become a business coach?
Now that we’ve covered why individuals become business coaches, what a business coach does, why business owners hire their services, and the statistics that show the impact of coaching on businesses, let’s find out the process of how to become a business coach in 2022. This guide will prove helpful not just for the newcomers looking to make their mark in the field of coaching, but also for seasoned coaches looking for a fresher, more contemporary insights into the current world of business coaching.
1. Study & inculcate positive attitude and characteristics from successful business coaches
Before commencing your journey as a business coach, one of the most important things to do is to study what the legends of coaching have done to get where they are – the qualities, knowledge, and skills they possessed and cultivated that made them successful. Following in the footsteps of the best coaches does not mean copying them – it is more of inculcating the essence of their good qualities into yourself to give yourself the best chance of succeeding as a business coach.
The coaches who have truly made a name for themselves in the competitive world of business coaching all possess some common qualities – the total belief and confidence in their coaching skills and their ability to help/guide others towards a better outcome, the readiness to continuously learn and upgrade their capabilities to keep themselves relevant at all times, single-minded determination to work hard for success, complete acceptance of accountability for their results, ambitious, and motivated go-getters who don’t rest until they achieve their goals.
As coaches looking for a long, prosperous career, many of you will already possess most of these traits in some capacity or another – build on those that you do have and develop those that you don’t to give yourself a great head start in your journey as a business coach.
2. Choose your coaching specialty
Let’s face the fact – it’s a super crowded field in the world of coaching. The exponential rate at which the coaching segment is growing means that there are hundreds of individuals who aspire to become great coaches. That means there’s tons of competition for you right from the beginning.
Think about it, you go out and say to a client, ‘I am a business coach’ versus ‘I am a business coach who specializes in mergers & acquisitions’ – which sentence will have a higher chance of actually getting you the client? Specialization is the need of the hour.
Just like the medical field, it is not enough to be a general MBBS; you need to have super specialization in some area (paediatrics, cardiology, endocrinology, for instance) to become a top-rated doctor. Similarly, it is not enough to just be a coach, you have to specialize in a niche area of business – sales conversions, productivity coaching for business owners, executive business coaching, business mindset coaching, small business coaching, high-performance coaching for entrepreneurs, and more.
If you wish to stand out in the crowd and attract more clients, it is imperative that you highlight your specialty so that the client understands whether you are the right fit coach for their needs, what services they are getting, and what results they can expect from the process when they hire you as a business coach.
3. Identify your target clients
This is an important step in your journey of becoming a business coach – identifying the right client right at the outset. After all, how you structure your coaching sessions, coaching packages and pricing options are all connected to who you want to serve as a business coach. Because if you don’t choose the right clients you will end up accepting any and every on. For instance, working with a client who keeps asking for price cuts, or has no sense of professional timings & boundaries, or one who is externally focused and never seems to take responsibility for their business and life – can only result in disillusionment with your profession. To prevent that scenario from playing out, it is important to select the type of client who you think will benefit from your support as a business coach, who is truly invested in turning around their business into a success, and who is looking for meaningful collaborations with their business coach to achieve real transformation in their business.
4. Don’t just build a website, build your credibility
Having all the tools and tricks of the trade up your sleeve is all well and good (a tech savvy website, professional branding, top notch marketing and advertising strategy), but they are complementary and not the core of what you are offering as a business coach. Having solid credibility among your clients and peers is what will boost your reputation as a good coach so your focus should on delivering the best possible results for your clients.
How do you go about doing that? Well, you can begin by presenting an honest and factual data of all that you have achieved and done till now – your education, certifications, various course accreditations, previous success stories, feedbacks, client testimonials, etc., – which all adds up to portray you as reliable, solution-oriented and trustworthy coach.
People do respond to authentic messaging – they can pick the genuine from the gloss, so make sure your client engagements are true, based on real deliverables and have the best interests of the client at heart. Your credibility as a business coach is your ticket to not just success but also a long, fulfilling career.
5. Connect with your clients
Your clients are the engine that drive your business train. The more fuel you put into engaging with clients, the more volumes, growth and profits you will enjoy as a business coach. There are multiple mediums via which you can reach your clients. Having a fully functioning web-based integrated coaching management software that offers all services (admin, content, payment, monitoring) under a single platform at the click of a button is beneficial not just for you but also your clients.
Having your dedicated online brand presence via social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, vlogs, webinars, emails and affiliate marketing is also vital. With most of the coaching happening online these days, having a smart social media strategy is a must. Don’t try to be on each and every platform and spread yourself thin; instead, research where your target clientele is most likely to be present and then create content that is relevant to your business coaching niche that they are more likely to connect with.
Make sure you post regularly (and not just once in a couple months!) to keep your audience sufficiently engaged. Remember, out of sight is out of mind; if you don’t make an effort to be sufficiently visible online, not only are you letting go of the carefully cultivated client connection, but you are acceding space to your competitors to take over.
6. Keep upgrading your own skills
As a business coach your job will be to help and guide business owners/entrepreneurs, no matter big or small, to maximize their potential, overcome their challenges and grow their business. But for your coaching to be effective it is imperative that your own skills and knowledge are at par with the current coaching developments. And this applies to all coaches, whether new or experienced, to have a concerted effort to continuously learn new information and technologies. So, stay alert and join in training programs, courses, and seminars that will provide value additions to your business coaching niche.
Coaching certifications are not necessary for you to start out as a business coach, but having one is always a good option. Look at it as a long-term investment towards making you a more complete coach. These certificates on your resume will further solidify your qualifications in the eyes of prospective clients by providing tangible proof that you have spent time, money and a lot of effort to become a coach who can offer effective coaching services.
7. Develop a tangible coaching plan & pricing
As a business coach you need to prepare a complete strategy on how you will guide your clients from where they are to where they want to be. After all this is the main reason for them hiring your services.
Have a detailed plan that will specify to the client the steps that will be taken at each level to reach the next stage. Begin by deciding a mutually workable communication method (how often you will meet in person or online), make a list of priority topics that need to be addressed, and then create rough outlines for the session. Next, clearly outline the client’s goals, then chart out an executable action plan, zero in on the best learning strategies for the client, and make it clear to the client that although this is a collaboration, the accountability for the execution of plans and the eventual success of their business goals rests with them.
As a business coach you can earn either by charging per session, per month or per package (3 or 6 months). The income that a business coach earns is directly related to their credentials, experience, skill sets and their target clientele. As a newbie business coach just starting out in the segment, charging per package might be a better option as it lets you have a set income in the coming months, identify the actual clients who signed up and makes managing the balance between income and expenses easier. Seasoned coaches charge higher price per session, but these are individuals who have a proven track record and have already made a name for themselves in the coaching field.
An effective business coach will create and implement an organized, precise and clear coaching program that will deliver true transformation to the client and their business. This ability is what will set you apart from the competition, boost your reputation as a great coach among clients and set you on the road to success.
Business coaching is a demanding profession but also a rewarding one. You have to be prepared to put in the time and effort, be patient while establishing your foothold in the industry, keep upgrading yourself regularly, actively nurture client relationships and most importantly, have the inner desire and passion to help business owners/entrepreneurs overcome their challenges and achieve their goals. If you are prepared to put in the hard work for the long haul, then there’s a good chance that you will succeed in your mission to become a great business coach.
What qualifications do you need to be a business coach?
Having the right credentials and genuine skill sets, the ability to forge and nurture meaningful client-coach relationships, good listening, communication, organizational & strategizing skills, and empathizing with the client’s issues are some vital aspects needed to be a business coach. Advanced educational/business degrees or coaching certifications are not mandatory (but if you do have one, it surely doesn’t hurt!), but having a solid knowledge of the business world & some work experience in the corporate arena makes it easier for the coach to truly understand their client’s challenges and ambitions. Certain level of coaching training is of course a big advantage as it projects to the client that you have the necessary skills to guide them in their coaching journey.
What is a business coach’s niche?
Business coaching covers a vast space and in order to become a successful business coach, you need to define your specialization or select a specific business coaching niche to attract clients. It’s not enough to say that you are a business coach – you need to mention what type of a business coaching niche you are an expert in. Mergers & acquisitions specialist, small business coaching, executive coaching for top management, sales conversions expert, productivity coaching, perfecting business mindset coaching are some examples of the known business coaching niches that coaches specialize in depending on their education, skills, interests, and profitability.