Ep. 182 How to choose a business coach


In this week’s podcast, Anna looks at how to choose the right business coach for you.

There are so many resources available now to help you start and build your business – coaches, programmes, masterminds, courses, workshops… It can be completely overwhelming and incredibly difficult to navigate the options available and actually choose a business coach. So how can you make the right choice for you and your business?

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

Free consultation: If you’re feeling a bit stuck and not sure how to move forward, let’s get on the phone to explore how we can work together to help you achieve your goals, and which option is the best fit for you. onestepoutside.com/call

How to choose a business coach


Hello there and welcome back. And this week we are here for another ask Anna episode, which means I’m here to answer a question. That’s come in from the community in some shape or form. And of course, if you have a question you can get in touch with me on your favourite social channel, Instagram, LinkedIn, whatever floats your boat. And you can also use the old form of communicating via email. So the email is podcast one step outside.com podcast one step outside.com. And this is for the monthly ask Anna series. Now, the question I’m answering today, which is pretty pertinent is how do I choose a business coach? And I had this question on a webinar a couple of weeks ago, uh, someone in the, and said, you know what, I’ve been burned and you may have been as well. You listening right now, or at least I certainly know of a lot of people who have been by having chosen the wrong business coach now, whatever wrong means. 

Right. And we’ll talk about that in a moment. But the question of course is how can you know that somebody’s results are real, that what they’re promising you is true is guaranteed. Uh, for example, you know, a lot of coaches will say these are my sales figures, or at least they say they made millions and so on. And actually that’s not the same as profit. Of course, if you have any kind of accounting, financial understanding, they could have spent as much as they sold, right? We’re not talking actually a robust business model that doesn’t necessarily mean they can teach what they’ve learned and so on and so on. So how can we know that a particular business coach who seems legit, at least I hope can actually help you. And this is an important question because we are investing our money more. So maybe even we’re investing our time, we’re trusting these people with the inner most workings of our minds of our business and so on. 

  And it’s really important that that trust is there and that we feel we’re making the right decision for us.

Now, the interesting thing about the lay of the land these days, I guess, is that anybody can start putting out content. Anybody can start helping. In fact, coaching as an industry is not regulated like, uh, psychiatrists and so on. So although there are bodies like the international coach Federation and so on, and many of us have trained certified, you know, attended accredited trainings and so on. And that’s really important for ethics for the skill and so on. That’s not needed, that’s not a requirement, which mean, unfortunately that it is a very cluttered market. Now it’s exciting for us all coming out as coaches, because it means that we have lots of opportunities and it’s quite democratic because we can demonstrate. And this is in fact, even what I teach in my materials that I, um, teach, for example, in the course that I’m just launching that we can actually demonstrate our credibility in a much or democratic way as it were. 

  You no longer necessarily need the formal qualifications. You can show your life experience. You have testimonials, you can educate. And based on the credibility that you build through the content you’re putting out, you can attract people who, who want tho those kinds of results that you are talking about. And so that’s really exciting. However, for those of us looking for a coach, and that may be you since you’re listening to this podcast and certainly it’s me, it has been me and will be me because I continue to work with coaches. How on earth can we know amongst all these people? Who’s the right one. And to be honest, a little bit, selfishly coming back to myself as a coach, it’s really hard. <laugh> I come from a marketing background, and yet it’s really hard to put yourself out there in a way where you’re going to stand out where you’re going to have the right people get in touch with you, because of course it’s a two way street, right? 

  Like an interview for a job. I always say to people, although that’s not my speciality, if you are going to an interview for a job, remember that it’s two way you’re interviewing them to understand if you want to work with that employer in that culture, with those colleagues in that environment, with their values. And so on, just as much as they’re interviewing you for the role and the same goes for coaches in the kind of business I’m building and the kind of business I encourage you and guide you on building as well. I want to enjoy working with people. I want them to share my values. I want them to enjoy working with me. I want it to be a really trusting relationship where I’m having fun doing it right, as well as working hard, of course. And so then it’s a two-way street, but it’s really difficult. 

  Uh, I think it was last year coming out. My second coming out of the darkness of my second pregnancy, when I posted in a Facebook group, which is an amazing group, um, I posted and asked, Hey, does anybody know of something like, you know, a personal trainer slash nutritionalist, who, who nutritionist, who specialises in postpartum moms? You know, who’s gentle, but also so on and so on. I think I got like 200 responses on that thread before eventually I had to shut it down, which I’ve seen other people do. And it just made me realise I very rarely posted my own services and threads like that, but of course we all want to be helpful. And so if you post in a group of someone posts, Hey, I’m looking for business coach, which by the way, is the worst possible question. Because of course the savvy P people in the group will say, uh, what kind of coach? 

  What are your goals? What kind of business do you have? What’s your experience?

What’s your level, et cetera, et cetera. It’s just far too general, but even not withstanding that, it’s just so vague and hundreds of us, including me sometimes will go, yes, hello. This is what I do have a look at my website. Nobody has time for that. And to be honest, I’m pretty diligent. I did go through those 200 posts and I looked at everyone and I did eventually work with one of them. And of course, people may search that Facebook group in future. So by all means poster diet does, if you want to, I’m just trying to illustrate that. It’s very difficult for you as the person looking when so many people are responding. So that was for a personal training nutritionist, but you know, business coaches, especially when you literally say business coaches so vast and vague and broad to how on earth can you choose among those 200 plus people? 

  So if you’re like me, and if you are diligent enough to go through and look at all the websites and so on, Google means, but that’s too many people, right? So look, here’s my perspective. My approach to this, there are so many opportunities now to get to know somebody to in effect, work with someone before you actually work with them. Let me explain. So I have my podcast. Hello. There you are. Now listening to my re-imagining success podcast. Maybe the first episode you’ve come across in which case, hello, and welcome to my community. I hope you will continue to learn from other episodes and do in my Facebook group and maybe have a look at my book or join a workshop. And so on the podcast been going for three years, I’ve got my website. I’ve got blogs from years back. I do have my book and another one coming. 

  I run live workshops. Now every couple of months, I have a five day challenge on escaping the nine to five. You can sign up to my emails. You get a weekly email. You can watch my videos on link to in on YouTube, on Instagram, you can watch my reels now because I’m doing fun reels on Instagram. There are so many marketing touch points as we call them. And again, because I’m constantly thinking of the two way road here as a marketing person, as the business coach marketing, you know, they say that you need at least seven touches before somebody buys from you. I’ve numbers like 16. The true journey might be that you come across this podcast, or I’ve been a guest on someone else’s podcast. So you head on over here and listen to a couple episodes. Maybe you subscribe maybe a few weeks down the line. 

  You hear me talking about the group and you join the Facebook group. Maybe then a couple of months later, you join a workshop, maybe sign up to the emails and you know, it could months or years later, or hopefully that’s a bit more condensed, but it’s many, many touch points along before you then might start working with me. Now, there are faster ways. And of course, some people are very intuitive and know right away that they want to work with somebody. But again, coming back to how you can choose a business coach. There are so many opportunities to get to know somebody to get to work with them before you work with them. So use those opportunities. So to give you a few considerations, I suppose, and, and you know, the most important consideration is what you want because ultimately of course, that’s what we’re talking here. 

  And it’s so important that you have somebody that you want to work with.

In fact, your intuition is so critical, but a couple of things to consider. So the style, now it’s hard to put your finger on that, right? But maybe I speak really quickly and that’s intimidated to some people, or maybe you are really fast and you need somebody who’s really on it. And someone who’s a little bit slower and more considered, might not be able to keep up with the pace that you want, or you might want the opposite of you. You might want somebody balances you out. I’ve come across more spirit coaches. And I had somebody recently who came to cover workshops and really love what we did, but felt that my style wasn’t quite right for her. And I totally got that and understood that and wished her well to go and work with a previous coach she’d had before someone might have more academic style. 

  Someone might be really action, performance, you know, high octane, and it could be a masculine message for lemon and energy and so on, but what kind of style? And it’s impossible to know. That’s very difficult to know that just right off the bat. So by all means, you know, explore that again, have a, have a watch of their videos, have a call with them and so on. So style, but of course, credibility, as well as I said a moment ago, it’s not just, although it is partly accreditations and certifications and studies and so on. Right. You know, I went to Oxford and I studied a masters and I worked at Proctor and gamble. And so on now that might not be relevant. I studied international relations. Maybe that’s not so relevant, but I do get clients to say, Hey, I came from a similar background to you. 

  And speaking of background, that corporate background of course gives me a certain relatability to other people who are plentiful, who, and maybe you yourself as well, who have that similar background. And, and I, then they understand that I understand the difficulties that come with leaving behind that salary, the advantages of the, the structure, but also the stress and the, the cultural, you know, process driven organisation and all those things. Right. So I have that background. Others might have been entrepreneurs all their life, and that’s a very different background. How long in business have they been? You know, um, how long have they been in business would probably be more grammatically correct. If they’re too far ahead. And I had someone like this who just at accelerated rush into the stratosphere, they may have forgotten what it was like, the challenges and so on of being earlier in business. 

  But of course you still want someone to be a role model to be aspirational.

So as an, as an important, um, side step here, coaching, and let’s not get into analysis this, but coaching as a, I was going to say as a sign, but it’s also an art coaching as an industry, as a field is actually pure coaching, strictly speaking, you don’t need any knowledge. And in fact, in a way it’s almost better not to have knowledge of the industry of the situation I found when I was doing my coach training, that when it was somebody who was talking about marketing or business, I right away wanted to jump in and help. And that’s not what to pure coaching experiences about. It’s listening, it’s asking questions challenging and so on. Right? However, many of us in particular, when we add the business word and funds a business coach, it becomes a combination. 

  And certainly that’s the approach I have of coaching with mentoring. And when you’re talking about a business mentor, then it is interesting that they have done some that you aspire to do now. Not exactly. And I hope it never will exactly be what you want because the whole point is your forging your own path. But certainly there’s an element to having a mentor who has been there, done that. And again, you want them to be aspirational, but not too far ahead. So you’re actually checking for both the business experience and skill set and the coaching skills and experience on the other hand. And what about the, the type of business that they have and the type of business they work with? It’s very different to have a solopreneur freelancer lifestyle business versus the VC driven finance hundred plus employee startup techy thing, right? I’m on the former spectrums of the so-called lifestyle, business, smaller team, if any team, and, and often you, one person it’s about still making that money and having the financial freedom, but it’s really you, it’s not about them being tied to have an office and all those employees and funding and so on. 

  And of course, a very important consideration ethics. And it sort of goes without saying ethics and integrity, but of course that’s really important. So style, credibility skills, experience, time in business background type of business ethics, right? Those are some of the considerations. So what can you do? Well, look, by all means, start by asking people, you know, ask Facebook group, but, but just be aware that you will probably be overwhelmed, check the profiles, have a Google as well, because that’s often how people find me that they’ll find articles that I’ve written. And, you know, sometimes you’ll find coaches who are paying for ads, which again, isn’t necessarily the right, uh, coach for you. But again, by all means, check them out, check and use their free content. Read the testimonials by all means asked to speak to previous current clients. I rarely have people do this, but I, a couple of times I have, and I’ve always, and, and my clients have always been very willing to speak to them, which I love because I have no idea what they’re going to say, but I hope that they’ll have a very honest conversation about pros and cons and style and so on. 

  And they will then filter the right people who, who would do well with me, right? So again, it’s that two street use the free consults, whether it’s a chemistry call, a perfect fit discovery, call coaching consultation, whatever it is, use, what they offer, uh, that’s really the best way to get on board, but I would prefer you of course, to have done the research before I’ve had people book a call with me and they’ve literally not the website. They, they add me on LinkedIn and say, so what do you do? And then I think, well, hang on a second. Why are you adding me? Why are you wanting to work with me? If you have no idea, even what I do, I’ve also had, um, a couple of, I think literally two people in the, in the six, seven years or so, I’ve been coaching who’ve said to me, oh, you’re one of 12 coaches I’m speaking to. 

  And I admire that. I really don’t mean into, um, be in any way derogatory about this because I think it’s so good. And by all means, if, and again, if that’s your, what you need to do to make that rational decision. But I think there’s just a point at which it’s its information overload. You can’t make as with all these important decisions. In fact, as in choosing the next stage of your career in starting a business and so on matters of love, we can make that decision with complete accuracy, complete information. There is always going to be an element of faith of trust. And if you’re starting to have 12 people with, you know, a traffic like scorecard of each of them, and so on, I would question whether you will arrive at the right answer, but I’m sure if you’ve done that due diligence, you know, then certainly you’ve chosen good people on that list. 

  And if it’s not me, which probably won’t be, if it’s the 12 people that you’re comparing, then, you know, by all means, I wish you well with those, with those, um, choices. But I think, you know, again, ask for recommendations from other people, you know, have been successful with coaches, but remember that you are a different person, you have different goals. And so on, check the profiles, use content, ask to speak to clients, ask questions. Most people will ask things like how much does it cost? How many calls do I get? And of course that matters, but really try to challenge me, try to challenge the coach more about, okay, well, have you worked with somebody in a similar position? Obviously you can’t expect them to give away all their sort of strategies and so on, in a call, but, but ask them, what do you think would I would need to focus on? 

  And what would those three months look like together? And what kind of access do I have to you?

You know, some bigger coaches now will kind of delegate you to their minions. So you get to talk to their associates and so on who by the way, sometimes can be amazing, but just be aware of what you’re signing up to. You’re not necessarily getting to work with that amazing person who is the top of the business. So of course a smaller coach might then, or definitely would be more available to you. You know, do you want to be able to access them? I, I offer my one-to-one clients WhatsApp access. We can message or do voice notes and so on. Do you want a group element of being with other people who are in a similar business and by the way, yes. Do you want to work with other people who are all doing the same kind of thing? 

  I wanna work with lots of graphic designers in the group, or do you want to be in a mix where you’re challenged and you get inspiration from unexpected quarters and so on. And unfortunately if things go wrong and again, I’ve heard of quite a few people. And I, I would say I haven’t been burned yet as such in a way our brains are quite smart in that they kind of make any decision. We make the right decision for us unless it’s disastrous. Right. But obviously if we’re talking and I’ve seen again in Facebook groups, and so, and people talk about, oh, invested $25,000 and you know, they just ghosted completely. That kind of thing is just of course, unacceptable and terrible. But I hope that if we’ve done our due diligence and checked those referrals and teas and CS and whatever, then we feel comfortable. 

  And I don’t think we’d usually go from like a $0 investment in coaching to suddenly pay a hundred thousand. I certainly started with some cheaper, shall we say, coaches are starting out and have gradually increased my investments. If you are new, you might not go for the one that’s like $75,000 per call or something like that. That might be a little bit, um, too much too soon. But I was going to say if, and when you do invest in the wrong coach, unfortunately, I’m so sorry. However, learn from that mistake, right? If that’s happened in the per ask, what went wrong? What did you not check? How did you sort of miss those signals? When I, and I do think you would’ve picked up on something in the past, right? And maybe by the way, maybe it’s not the coach to be fair to them. 

  Maybe it’s just the wrong time for you. Sometimes people sign up and then, you know, things happen. You move house, you have kids, there’s some illness in the family and just isn’t the right time for you. Um, and then of course you need to ask, what’s the kind of flexible policies and so on. And I think most coaches who are, um, you know, have integrity and so on, would be understanding of those things of postponing and so on. But just to, to put that out, that it might not necessarily be the coach’s fault. And I guess that’s the last thought to leave you with, of course, is that will we can’t do the work for you? So again, the clients I work with certainly would never blame me. I hope for not getting the results because they know that it’s a lot of the responsibility is on their shoulders, but I will certainly do my utmost and help with accountability, help with inspiration, help with reassurance, help with knowledge, help with everything I have in my toolkit. 

  And with that. And with somebody, if you do show up to the calls, if you ask me questions, if you hold me accountable, work through the materials, have the sessions with messed your time and mere and so on. Then, you know, you certainly won’t be disappointed, but I hope that was helpful. It’s a really important question and something I’m constantly asking myself, how should I find somebody? And again, it’s often a little bit fortuitous, serendipitous, I suppose that you come across one of my coaches. I heard her on a podcast that I was on a week later, and then her webinar popped up and then somebody referred me to her in a group as well. And that was sort of a little triangle of people pointing me in the same direction. I would certainly keep my eyes open for podcast, guests and articles. Maybe who’s engaging on LinkedIn, whatever. 

  And it doesn’t mean you have to work with them, but just kind of keep your eye on them, follow them. And of course, if you happy listening to me for a while, then please take the next step if you haven’t already. So of course you can move from the podcast to the Facebook group. You can join me on the accelerator masterclass, the five day escape plan challenge. You can join me on the workshops. I don’t usually advertise so much the live events on the podcast because I want them to be evergreen as it works. So, uh, the earlier episode, I think I was kind of promoting things, but if you are in doubt, go to certainly the Facebook group, any of my channels, LinkedIn, Instagram or son, be promoting things that are happening. And of course the website one step outside.com and above all. If you’re ready, when you’re ready, then use your opportunity to get that free consult. 

  So one step outside.com/call one step outside.com/call. There are a few questions there for you to fill in. There is a couple of videos that will guide you on how the process works and so on. And then you can go ahead and book that call in and no obligation, but again, use these opportunities to find out am I the right coach for you? And I promise I’m experienced enough by now that I’m not going to say yes to just because I’m sort of desperate to have my first client. The good news is I really will be clear if it’s not a good fit for me, then, you know, I would say that. So that’s something else to, to look forward to or to expect. So thanks so much for listening. If you have a question again, email@podcastatonestepoutside.com and I’ll see you back here next week. Bye for now.


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