When is the right time to work with a business coach?
I was asked this question recently and was about to give the sales, stock-answer of "NOW!" But I stopped and reflected upon it, recognizing that it isn't always true; this may not be what you expect of a coach, particularly one whose living is dependant on clients, so let me explain.
As a coach, I feel it is my responsibility and duty to be what a prospective client needs in terms of where they want to get to and enable them to grow through learning and accountability into that future in the most congruent and efficient way possible.
Herein lies the intersection posed by the question. The destination is everything, and clarity will inform the advice or enrolment of someone enquiring about the services.
The question of "when is the right time to work with a business coach" is asked by people at different stages of their development within their business, ranging from having a great idea, helping with a start-up to an owner seeking to sell their enterprise.
Yes, a coach can support subjects to their skillset and experience in all these instances. It could equally be the case that mentoring is more appropriate to support those businesses in the early stage of development.
To rephrase the question to, "When will a coach be most effective?" shifts the emphasis to the deliverables that are now expected of the Business Coach and the ability of the client to learn, resource and implement the strategies brought forward.
Of course, implementing a strategy for the first time is easier than adapting behaviours and protocols that are already in place. Unfortunately, most start-ups begin with a great vision and limited business experience and are poorly resourced. They tend to act tactically, bootstrapping or flying by the seat of their pants. It's totally understandable when strategic thinking implementation is anathema to the desire and need for results now.
As such, to be effective, those considering hiring a coach must have three critical resources that will be needed to derive the benefit of the coach:
Yes, a coach can bring structure and eliminate the chaos in an ongoing business that ensures that these three resources are brought under control and leveraged to deliver the desired outcome of the business owner.
However, as the coach doesn't do the work but instead educates and grows the client, the coach must have the personal integrity to give direction to those not in a position to resource the commitment required of the client.
Another factor I find important is the desire of the prospective client to realize their goals, using the business as the asset that will derive the highest return on their investments. For this to happen, a client must accept that the business has an identity independent of itself and operates in service of the owner's goals, vision & mission.
The right commitment to their future, the willingness to do what is necessary, and the ability to assign resources is the right time to work with a coach for business owners.