Becoming a business coach can be an incredibly rewarding profession. It allows you to become a teacher and give back to a community that can greatly benefit from your knowledge. However, in order for you to be an effective business coach and be successful in your career, you need to have an understanding about what business coaching actually involves.
This article will serve as an introduction to the business coaching career. It will outline information on the standard business coaching process, what business coaching is, and who uses it.
What Is Business Coaching?
Business coaching is a term applied to the process of assisting others in the development, growth, and progression of their business. It may also be referred to as business consulting, as coaches may occasionally be employed in that capacity by a client. As a business coach, it is your responsibility to take your knowledge of the business world and all of its aspects to guide someone and their business towards improvement. Think of coaches you might have had if you were on a sports team. They worked to help you improve your skills and get better at what it is you do. Business coaching is the same, just with a different setting.
There may be some misunderstanding as to what is involved with business coaching. To coach does not mean that you are a mentor or a trainer. As a coach, it is your job to listen, ask questions, empower your client, and push your client towards achieving their goals. Your goal is to get them from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. How you do so is entirely up to you and your client, and the methods you use will largely be based on your abilities and their needs. Keep in mind, though, that each client will be different and you may find that what works with one will not work with another. The skills and abilities you bring with you in to your business coaching career will determine how well you can adapt to your client's needs and objectives.
Business coaching can be applied on multiple levels. The
niches that business coaches specialize in or cater to is, like the methods you
choose in your coaching sessions, decided upon by you. As you formulate your
own business coaching career, you will need to spend time looking at yourself
and your skill set. Business coaching, while you may be seen as a teacher to
some, does not mean that you will be seen as an expert and will know
everything. Things change with time and new things spring up in the world of
business, so being a business coach will often require you to keep learning. Effective
communication, listening, and problem solving skills are also necessary for
your business coaching career.
first step will mostly involve planning for the rest of the process and
gathering information. The data you collect during this time will help you
tailor your coaching for the client. You should take extra care in conducting
your research, as any and all information you find can be useful.
- The Contract-This
stage is for you and the client to finalize the details of your service and
make any final preparations before starting any coaching sessions. You will
present your plan to your client and make any necessary adjustments. Basically,
you will use this stage to hammer out the finer details of the arrangement
face-to-face with your client.
- Start-up Session-Conducting
a start-up session will-and should be-the longest stage of the process. During
this time, you will assess your client at their current point. This session
will establish the style and tone for future sessions. It will also be used to
ensure that everyone involved in the coaching-you, the client, their employees,
etc.-are all on the same page in terms of the sessions' goals and objectives.
- Regular Sessions-Your
regular sessions will be the next stage of the process. What they will include
and how many there will be is determined earlier on. However, your sessions
should not simply be copies of one another, but each should instead be unique
enough to keep your client's attention and interest. You can also decide to
include assignments for the client to complete and offer a preview of upcoming sessions.
- Final Session/Wrap-Up-At the end of the business coaching process you should have a final session to wrap-up the entire process. It should be used to tie up any loose ends from other sessions and from the coaching as a whole. You can also use this stage as a final assessment for your client's progress and offer recommendations for what they can do after the arrangement is completed.
Some of the large corporations, should they approve of your efforts, may be repeat customers for business coaches. They may also employ multiple business coaches at once, especially if they are using those services for different niches and areas. It is possible that a corporation may keep a business coach on retainer or hire them as an employee of their company so as to have access to those services when they are needed.
While having a corporation as a client for your business coaching is quite an accomplishment, do not expect them to be readily available as a part of your audience. Many business coaches who have corporate clients typically have a larger operation, more skill, and have had the career for quite some time. This does not mean that you will never be able to coach for a corporate client, but it may take you some time before it happens.
Small businesses may not seek out a business coach as soon as other businesses would. There is the issue of expense and time that the owners and operators of a small business may not want to waste on involving someone from the outside. It is possible that a small business will probably not seek out the services of a business coach again, but they may refer a coach to others.
Like corporations, business owners may be repeat clients. If a business owner is satisfied with and greatly benefits from the help of a business coach, they may call upon them again for their own employees or as their business grows. There is also the added possibility that business owners may share your information with each other, such as at trade shows and conferences, and thereby help expand your customer base.
Some individual clients may already be in a position of leadership and want to sharpen their skills. CEOs, Executives, and other such positions may seek a business coach as their responsibilities grow. They may also want to employ the services of a coach in an effort to stay ahead of their competitors. As time passes, they may also choose to work with a business coach so they can keep their own skills and abilities in top shape.
With any profession and industry, there are certain aspects that can affect the success of those in that field. These driving forces are responsible for whether or not a business will thrive and can greatly affect a person's career. The demand for the services of an industry or career can also have an impact and the two can affect one another as well.
For business coaches, it is necessary to have an understanding of the demands and driving forces behind business coaching. Any ignorance or misinterpretation of this information can be disastrous for you and your services. Those who have not heeded the driving forces of business coaching often find themselves failing. Likewise, those who underestimate the level of demand that there is for business coaching tend to fail as well, usually because they were over- or under-whelmed by the demand of their respective markets.
As you begin to develop your business coaching career, you will need to develop your own understanding of the service's demands and driving forces. Staying up-to-date on this information before you start your career and as it grows will impact your success amongst your peers. For your benefit, this article will cover the aspects such as the demand for business coaching, the forces behind the service, the impact it can have on your business, and how you can use this information to your advantage.
What Demand is There?
Like with most industries, success can be dependent on the demand for a product or service offered. For business coaching, the demand from customers is the primary contributor to the industry's success, with the bulk of the demand coming from corporations. As of late the demand has been steady enough for the industry to be quite successful, with the revenue of the business coaching industry falling somewhere around $12 billion globally by some accounts. 1 This is a noticeable growth, as the economic decline cause the demand for business coaching services to decrease until recently.
The success rate of other industries and the economy as a whole tends to be a positive sign for business coaching demand. When the economy declines-even slightly-many businesses begin to make cuts on anything that is nonessential. For larger corporations, this often means any business coaching programs that they have for their employees. As the economy improves, the demand increases once again as customers are now able to afford business coaching. In some cases, they need to bring in a business coach to help reenergize their business or staff after a decline.
As of late, the professional business coaching industry has been steadily increasing in size and revenue due to the increase in demand. Businesses of all sizes and industries are seeking out business coaches to help with their own growth. The increase in demand over the last decade has led to the increase in the amount of business coaches and business coaching services available to the public. Despite the economic decline in 2008, the demand has allowed the industry's success to increase at a steady pace.
The Driving Forces for Business Coaching
Understanding the driving forces behind the business coaching are as equally important as understanding the demand. These driving forces are often the contributing factors for the industry's growth and success. What is listed below will not be the only driving forces for the business coaching industry, but they are typically the largest ones that you may be affected by in your coaching career.
This recent destigmatization of business coaching does not stop with the business world. While the industry at large is not federally regulated, it is increasingly becoming a more accepted and recognized profession. Independent organizations, like the International Coach Federation, are being viewed with more respect. The ICF by itself claims responsibility for pushing professional business coaching into the public eye and making it more acceptable. 3
When the economy begins to shift towards a more positive state, businesses that use the services of coaches are going to be more likely to seek them out. They've survived the decline and, now that things are improving, are able to resume spending for nonessentials. A coach may be seen as a tool to help them get back in fighting shape and allow them to be better prepared in the event of another decline. The better the economy is, the more likely a business will be able to justify the expense of using a business coach.
One of the beneficial outcomes that clients typically hope to have with business coaching is an increase in income and profit. A common goal for business coaching clients involves advancing up the professional ladder through promotions, job offers, and salary increases. It goes without saying, but money is a powerful motivator. The more money that business coaches make for their clients, the more money, and business that the coaches themselves will have.
The effectiveness of your coaching may depend heavily on your continued education. Supplementing your knowledge throughout your career can allow you to improve your own skills and put forth your best effort for your clients. Changes in industry and the arrival of new trends are things that you will need to be stay up to date on. If your knowledge is out of date, clients will not want to work with you. The more applicable knowledge that coaches have to share with customers, the more likely the industry will thrive
Coaches with personal driving forces find that they play a larger role than the driving forces of the industry. As you begin your business coaching career, you may want to look at what driving forces you may personally have for your career. Understanding your personal driving forces are just as important as understanding the driving forces behind the business coaching industry, although there is the possibility that doing so may take some time.
Impact on Your Business
As you develop your understanding of the demand and driving forces behind business coaching services, you also will need to develop an understanding of how that information can affect your business. The following are just some of the few aspects of your business coaching career that can be impacted by the demand and driving forces of the industry. Keep in mind that the impact will not be limited to those aspects discussed below, as every business coach may find their particular situation different from that of their peers.