When is the right time to work with a business coach?

“The right time is now!” would be my stock answer to “When is the right time to work with a business coach’ But on reflection, I know that’s not always true.

This may not be what you expect of a business coach, particularly one whose living is dependant on clients, so let me explain.

The question “should I work with a coach now” is asked by people at different stages of their development within their business, ranging from having a great idea, help with a start-up through to an owner seeking to sell their enterprise. 

You can benefit from working with a coach at any stage of your business, that’s true.  But does that mean you should call the first business coach that pops up and start working with them straight away? Certainly not. Are you guaranteed success if you engage a business coach from the very beginning? The simple answer is no. Will you fail if you don’t hire a business coach at a particular stage? No again.

When is the ‘right time’ for you?

Another way to look at this is to rephrase the question to, “When will a coach be most effective?”. That way you shift the emphasis to the deliverables that are now expected of the business coach. This way, you are more likely to learn, resource and implement the strategies brought forward by the coach.

By identifying your needs, you can see how your coach can be effective.

For example:

  • You have idea paralysis. You’re toying with a couple of business ideas but you’re completely stuck.
  • You’ve tested the market and proved your concept. Now you need a strategic plan to run with.
  • You had a strategic plan but you’ve gone completely off-piste and lost your way.
  • You planned to grow an organisation but you’re stuck in a one/two-man band situation, doing everything yourselves.
  • You’ve grown your business successfully but you still don’t have an exit strategy.

(You could work through all the above with a business coach, or with different coaches at different times as not all coaches have the same skillsets. In some instances, you may actually need a mentor.)

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, whatever stage they’re at.

Strategy is the key

The most effective use of a skilled business coach is in developing and implementing your business strategy.

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 but limited experience of business 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 and 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:

  1. Time
  2. Team 
  3. Money

Yes, a coach can bring structure, eliminate the chaos that exists 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. 

The coach doesn’t do the work but instead educates and grows the client. This means the coach must have the personal integrity to also give direction to those not in a position to resource the commitment right away.

Another factor I find as important as the desire for a client to realise their goals is to understand how to use 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 themself and operates in service of the owner’s goals, vision & mission.

Recognise when you are ready

With all that said, the right time to work with a business coach is… when you’re ready. 

Do you have the right commitment to your future, the ability to assign resources and the willingness to do what is necessary? If you do, it’s the right time.

If you’re not sure, get in touch for a no-strings-attached call to find out if you’re ready for business coaching… or not! Drop me a line: joelzimelstern@actioncoach.com

Joel Zimelstern

Joel Zimelstern

Joel Zimelstern is a business leader and certified NLP coach from London where he grew a successful business for 21 years. Now based in Vancouver, he continues to coach business owners around the world to deliver optimum results. More here or connect with Joel on LinkedIn.

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