Coaching is a complex job and can be arduous in a one-on-one setting, let alone a large team/group in an organization. Getting the right balance between supportive, systematic guidance and result-oriented direction is a tricky one to balance.
So in a career sector already jam packed with expert business coaches, how do you stand out and make a difference? As any experienced business coach will tell you, the trick is in building regular habits, breaking down the process into small, organized steps, doing those little things well and trusting the larger result will take care of itself.
Here are some key habits of effective business coaches who have carved out their own niche…
Set up a disciplined day schedule – smart time management is crucial
Try to get a full 8 hours of sleep which will ensure you wake up refreshed and full of energy, ready to take on the day. Make sure you have an organised day plan, where enough time is set aside for professional (sessions, communication, reflection) and personal work (exercise, hobbies, spending valuable time with family etc).
A disciplined, organised schedule is essential for you to have a clear head, and a balanced life is essential for you to be able to give your clients 100% of your attention as a coach.
Set and work on your own goals
Be clear about your own goals and vision, create short/medium term goals and set a time frame to complete them. Have periodic evaluation to see if you have managed to fulfil them. Coaches who have a must do/can do attitude themselves will be able to inspire their clients to put in best efforts.
Having direction and your own goals also help you convey your concepts and opinions with clarity and conviction to your client. Additionally, drawing from your own experiences can be a big ice breaker in establishing a one-on-one rapport with your client.
Take steps daily to establish trust
The value of establishing trust between you and the client is unparalleled. This trust will not only inspire faith in your ability to provide coaching services but will also help develop long term relationships with the client.
As a business coach you must take micro-steps that help create this trust: right from showing up to sessions on time to being a good listener, always delivering on commitments, going out of your way to help them make progress, and so on.
Be patient and inculcate patience
The best business coaches in the field have tremendous patience and the ability to wait and work towards getting the right results, even if it takes longer. One of the most important tools that you will give your client is the confidence to find solutions to their problems themselves.
Sure, you will identify the problem areas and help them set goals to fulfil, but the journey of self-development for the client – and the idea that he/he has the tools to transform their business – must be handled without rush.
Be curious, ask tough questions
Asking questions and having the ability to look at a problem from all angles is a given in coaching. But asking the right questions, even the tougher ones, will help you identify tricky areas and hotspots and get to their root causes.
To be an effective coach you must have the courage to ask difficult questions, even if they are not desirable to the client, and have total honesty in helping them arrive at solutions that may be a bitter pill upfront but will eventually cure what ails the business.
Bring focus back to goals in every conversation
As any experienced business coach will tell you, setting & fulfilling goals is one of the key factors that contribute to the overall success. Encourage yourself and your client towards having a mindset focused on achieving set goals. In order to achieve goals, it’s important that you regularly draw attention (however subtly) back to them.
A good business coach will always have a structured process or a road map, be ready to deviate from it as needed by the client, with a clear vision of the end goal in sight.
When the client starts needing your services less it means that you have done a stellar job (even if it has a financial impact for you!).
A good coach becomes a true partner and empowers the business itself by providing the tools, the ability to conduct a deep analysis, gauge their own problems and the confidence to take constructive action by themselves to implement a successful journey towards end goals.
Repeatedly instill positivity
A good business coach is a someone who encourages others and always tries to bring out the best in them. Avoid negativity, be it little complaints, finger pointing or knee jerk reactions, instead always focus on the positive side.
This supportive attitude will percolate to the client and will encourage and inspire them to approach the tough asks head on and not give up. After every session your client should come out of the meeting with a sense of having moved forward in a clear, positive direction.
Park your ego outside the door
A business coach knows that projecting arrogance, of superior skills, experience or opinion, is the worst way to interact with any client. To be an effective coach you need to leave your ego aside and instead of giving advice from an elevated perch, take a more inclusive approach that helps clients work on their own goals.
Regularly invest in personal development
A good coach is one who invests in their continued personal development and recognizes the need to regularly upgrade themselves, in terms of skills, coaching competencies etc. by reading books, taking courses and attending seminars. After all, you are your service! Only when your skills are up to date can you make a difference for your clients.
To summarize, a great business coach must wear multiple hats with aplomb every day. From being a mentor to s a true partner who supports, encourages and inspires confidence & trust and one who is truly invested in their client’s as well as their business success…your daily habits must hone every complex aspect of being a business coach.