Before you engage a business coach, it’s smart to ask yourself, ‘am I coachable?’

Business coaches are only good for two things – to help you see your blind spots and for taking short-cuts. Sure, there are other benefits of engaging a business coach, such as motivation and accountability, but you can just as easily find these from a good friend or like-minded colleague.

And while short-cuts and negotiating your blind spots might seem attractive, before you invest in a business coach, it’s important to know what’s involved and whether business coaching is right for you.

Are you ready to change?

Now I’m not asking if you want things to change, I’m asking whether you’re ready to change. Remember, nothing particularly needs to happen for you to declare yourself ready. There are no objective sign-posts that indicate “ready”, “not ready”.

I’ve met people who have developed sophisticated online businesses who aren’t ready to change and others who’ve simply registered a business name with no business to speak off who are rip-roaring to go. Let me repeat: there is no objective measure that says “this person is ready” or “this person is not yet ready”. There is simply you deciding that it’s your time.

Are you ready to feel uncomfortable?

Change is uncomfortable. There’s no avoiding this.

Once you start working with a business coach, you’re going to make changes and this will sometimes (often) bring up unpleasant emotions. It’ll be uncomfortable. It might feel too hard. Sometimes, you’ll want to blame your business coach for feeling bad. Before you were coasting along, not feeling much, now you’re making change and feeling terrible.

Of course, not everyone feels bad about feeling uncomfortable.

You know your business better than I’m ever going to know it. As a business coach, I’m never going to suggest you do something that you don’t believe is a good idea or try to talk you into something that you feel is wrong from your business.

But you are ultimately responsible for what you do and the results of this. Some coaches may ‘guarantee’ a particular outcome – this is a warning flag. The only constant is change and nothing can be guaranteed. You’re going to have to live with that. Your alternative? Stay where you are and be happy about it.

Are you ready to go deeper into yourself?

No doubt, you’ve got a long list, perhaps in your head, about what you ‘should’ do or ‘will’ do – at some unforeseeable date in the future.

Things like:

  • Grow your email list
  • Run a webinar
  • Create an online product
  • Optimise your website to improve your search engine ranking
  • Blog regularly
  • Update social media regularly
  • Pitch to exciting new prospects

So why don’t you? Because we all have a ‘lizard brain’ (as Seth Godin puts it) that rushes in with reasons why not and keeps us busy-busy on the hamster wheel of work.

Your blind spots in business don’t only include potential opportunities for your business’s growth, creative marketing ideas and collaborations, but also how you stop yourself doing what you say you need or want to do.

In other words, your psychology trips you up in business, over and over again.

Now this is going to feel uncomfortable (see point number two). But if you’re open and willing to examine this and to take decisive steps to work to your natural strengths and around your personal predilections that are stopping you, the results will be immensely satisfying. Oh yes.

Do you derive self-satisfaction from what you do?

Contrary to popular propaganda, it’s not an easy path to be self-employed. Sure, there’s perks, but there’s also increased stress and uncertainty, tendencies towards workaholism, and deriving too much of your self-identity from your business.

To counter these, you must derive self-satisfaction from what you do. This might seem a strange point, but I’ve met a number of self-employed people over the last eight years I’ve been in business, who derive little self-satisfaction from their work.

Perhaps you’re highly self-critical without countering this with self-satisfaction? Perhaps you’re too busy being busy to ever pause and take stock to realise you’ve achieved a lot. Perhaps you’re not actually that interested in what you do or the results you get – in which case, self-satisfaction is always going to be elusive.

To go through change, discomfort, and deeper self-awareness through business coaching, you must derive self-satisfaction from what you do. Now I’m not suggesting that your business needs to look like anything particular but that you need to be personally motivated by your success. Otherwise, you may as well go get a steady job and funnel your passion and energy into hobbies or your social life.

Don’t hire a business coach

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t hire a business coach, including:

  • You just want information on what to do (in which case, you’re better off Googling or reading my blog).
  • You want someone to do the work for you. In which case, you’re better off hiring an assistant, a copy writer, graphic designer or web designer. A good business coach should be able to recommend these and help you manage your projects with them.
  • You want to hand over responsibility for your business – its successes and failures.
  • You want someone to validate your business or ideas. Your friends are great for validation. A good business coach will always be honest and as objective as it’s possible for them to be.
  • You’re looking for a whipping! Yes, your business coach will hold you to account if you keep avoiding taking the action that you said you’d take. However, they’re not there to make you feel bad, time after time. Perhaps you need to engage a Dominatrix, not a business coach.

Are you ready to hire me as your business coach?

Check out my one-to-one business coaching or my group coaching program, Hustle & Heart.