How to choose the right business mentor or coach for you and your business
A quick word of warning before we get started…we have nothing to sell, we’re oversubscribed! We simply want to share our experiences, feedback and lessons learned to help you scale your business. It’s also a question that we we get asked a lot!
The quickest way to learn any business is to study someone who has already been successful at it; they have lived through the sleepless nights, fear of failure, and mistakes…BUT they have also achieved and celebrated success. This is why business coaches and mentors are so popular with entrepreneurs and start-ups, as well as large corporates looking for an effective way to exit or re-structure.
One of our SCALE Maxims is: “Always look for Learning” and finding the right business mentor and coach will save you time and money in the long term.
There are so many people out there right now pitching themselves as a business coach or mentor, and it goes without saying that some coaches are better than others. Some clients I work with jumped at the chance to work with me really quickly based on a gut reaction and referrals, whilst others took a good 12 months of research to find the right one for them. Whatever your approach, here’s my top tips:
1). Experience: What exactly have they accomplished and how does this fit in with you and your ambitions? You don’t want a good talker to then find out they cannot walk the walk. You want someone honest about their background – their challenges, their failures, lessons learned, personal triumphs and failures. All of this insight will help you avoid making costly mistakes and accelerate the rate of your success. Look for positive reviews and testimonials as well as complaints/negative ones.
2). Sharing: Is this coach/mentor willing to share all their experiences in an open manner? How transparent will they be? The value is in them sharing all of this (after all, that is what you’re signing up to!).
3) Key Person of Influence: Something I learned in abundance from one of my Mentors, Daniel Priestly, is to see what credibility and positioning they have in the business circles and your sectors? A Key Person of Influence will be well connected and have the ability to open up doors for your business be it through new clients, acquisitions
4). The Numbers: Knowing your numbers – and relating these to your business – is a huge part of running any business – and one that cannot be ignored. Too many entrepreneurs leave it to their accountant and never ask them the right questions, meaning potential savings are lost, and there can be nasty surprises such as not saving for VAT.
Numbers are also an essential part of forming your Alerts and Alarms within your business and too many owners are using the wrong numbers as a benchmark and therefore their perceived success isn’t really what it is. Your coach/mentor should have a really strong financial background (not be an accountant but demonstrate how they’ve used numbers on the past), and look for financials as part of their program.
5). Accessibility: You must be able to reach your coach. They’re not going to be available all of the time as a good coach will be in high demand, but you should have ways to get hold of them in a crisis situation, and have visibility of – and access to – their diary. A good coach won’t hide this.
6). Expectations: You want a coach that can hold YOU accountable and who is there for the growth of your business. They should spell out what they expect from you in terms of commitment. Whilst they will be sympathetic to personal issues outside of your business, a good coach will still 100% focus on your business to ensure it’s stable during any times of personal difficulty such as death, relationship break ups. And it’s important for you to understand what you can expect from them.
7). Always look for Learning: A decent coach and mentor will love what they do and get a kick out of getting results with you – this should be their underlying passion. They are always looking for learning themselves to make sure they are on their A-Game and ask them how they learn and develop. Good coaches will have mentors and coaches themselves and will invest in time and money to develop. This in turn will add huge value they bring to you.