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8 Questions to Find the Right Business Coach

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A coach, mentor, trainer, or consultant might be the catalyst you need to take your business to the next level. As high-achieving women entrepreneurs, it’s oddly challenging to ask for help, no less receive it. So how do you know when it’s time to bring in outside help?

  • When you feel like your head is heavier than your car
  • When you’re anxious, confused, or lost
  • When you’re stuck and running in circles
  • When you’re drowning in busy-ness
  • When you’ve done everything right but aren’t getting results

In short: Now. Now is the best time to recruit a mentor or coach. As they say, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Every year you wait to hire adequate help for your business is lost income. I can speak from experience: Early on in my career, I spent a year trying to figure things out on my own, because I can, because I was proud. I’ll show you what I’m capable of! Ugh, how misguided of me. Had I hired a coach sooner, I would have made an extra $118,000.

So how do you choose the right person, the experienced guide who will witness your innermost fears and hold you accountable to your dreams? The first step is knowing what type of help you need. The differences between coaches, mentors, trainers, and consultants are subtle but important.

Imagine you need to get to a store by bike, but you don’t know how to ride a bike.

  • A coach will champion you to find your own way of riding that bike and getting to the store. They’ll ride their own bike alongside you until you figure it out. They’re excellent at getting you unstuck and moving forward. A pure coach, however, might never have been to the store before, so you’ll be figuring it all out together.
  • A mentor will tell you what to do because they’ve done it before you. They’ll put you on the bike, ride in front of you so you can watch, replicate, and follow. They’re excellent at leading you through the shortcuts directly to the store. A pure mentor, however, might not know what to do if you fall off the bike and refuse to get back on.
  • A trainer will show you how to get on, peddle, let you try for a while, adjust your riding technique, and teach you master riding techniques, until you get it just right. They’re excellent at getting you ready to leave the nest. However, a pure trainer will only stand by the curb while watching you ride to the store on your own.
  • A consultant will tell you to go away — they’ll ride the bike themselves, go to the store for you, and deliver your goodies to your front door. They’re excellent at taking things off your plate. We love them! With a pure consultant, however, you still don’t know how to ride the bike yourself and where the store is located.

Your business situation might call for one or a combination of these important supporters. Your business may even need someone who is a combination of a coach/mentor or mentor/trainer. So how do you choose the right person? I recommend that you speak with three potential candidates and ask yourself the following questions — then choose the best match:

1. Do you resonate with theM?

Is there an instant recognition of:

  • You're just like me!
  • I want to be just like you when I grow up!
  • How are you inside my head, speaking directly to me?

No amount of marketing or sales pitch can replace the precious sanctuary that effortlessly exists when you just resonate with your future coach/mentor. They just understand you, sometimes without you even saying a word. This is the best place to learn, grow and become your best self!

2. Do you like them?

It’s easy to be swept up in the glitz and glam of a sales pitch. It's easy to get hooked by their fame, titles, networks and/or New Yort Times ranking.

But if you don’t like them, it doesn’t matter how many awesome they are. If you don't like them, you won't thaw, trust and open up to them, like you've never opened before. You won't be naturally inspired to follow through on implementing each step toward your breakthrough.

3. Are they qualified?

A coach needs to be certified. A mentor needs to have walked their talk. A trainer needs repeated experience. A consultant needs a solid portfolio. This is your life, your happiness, your freedom that you're putting on the line. Make sure they are proven to be able to support and champion you.

4. Do your values line up?

Ask them to list their top five values. Are they similar or, even better, identical to yours? (If you don't know yours, this list of core values will be useful.) Go for gold and hire someone who has at least 4 out of 5 matching values.

5. Are they healthy?

Would you really want to be coached by a millionaire, who got there by becoming obese, on the brink of hospitalization for adrenal burnout, lost their marriage in the pursuit of riches and hasn’t taken a vacation in six years?

Is that the path you want to follow? Take a holistic approach to your selection process: Are they physically healthy? Financially healthy? Mentally healthy? Spiritually healthy? 

6. Are their relationships happy?

Harvard did a 60 year long study on determining what the number 1 key to happiness is. Can you guess? It's relationships, healthy solid long-term intimate relationships!

You get to decide how you get to freedom and prosperity. You get to decide who you role model after. Decide wisely. If you're not willing to sacrifice your friends and family, don't hire someone who is.

7. Do you like their voice?

I once hired an Irish man as my coach/mentor. Didn't understand half the things he said. He even recorded audio meditations for me. Now all the wisdom in my ears sound like a Lucky Charms cereal commercial. Oops #hiringfail

You’ll likely be conducting sessions over the phone, so you need to like the person’s voice! Hire someone whom you enjoy laughing with.

8. Are you Hiring from Fear?

Are you hiring coach A over coach B because coach A is cheaper? Cheap attracts cheap. What you focus on expands. The more you focus on how little you're paying your coach, the more you'll expand how little people will pay you. 

What you focus on expands.

I once invested $6,700 in a mentor to tell me what to do. As naturally creative, resourceful, and whole as I am, I needed someone who had walked their talk, to tell me what I don't know. I was sick and tired of trial and error.

It was the most terrifying investment I ever made until that point. What if I don’t make that money back? What if I can’t implement what she’s telling me to do? What if I succeed but at the expense of my health and love life? What if? What if? What if?

You can loose sleepless nights over what if's or you can shut up, sit up, make teeny tiny steps every single day for 120 days. And when you lift your head for air, you'll have reaped $40,000 from that $6,700 investment.

 

So go out, interview three candidates, and pick one. Stop watching time pass you by. Stop watching your potential wither away!

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Freedom on!

xo, Ella

Ellany LeaAbout the Author • Ellany Lea is an elite success coach. She's traveled 100+ countries and writes about freedom at the intersection of: entrepreneurship, enlightenment, and enchantment.
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