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  • Writer's pictureMotty Chen

Understanding Business Coaching: Is It Worth Your Time?


Demystifying the Concept and Its Value

When you hear "business coaching," what comes to mind? Some picture a business therapist, others imagine a sales or marketing guru, and some think it's just paid advice from an experienced professional. Let's clear up the confusion and answer some key questions about business coaching:

  • What exactly is business coaching?

  • How does coaching differ from consulting?

  • Which companies can benefit from business coaching?

  • What does a business coaching session look like?

  • Why does business coaching sometimes get a bad rap?


What Exactly is Business Coaching?

Business coaching is a professional service where an experienced coach guides and supports business owners, entrepreneurs, or corporate leaders in reaching their professional goals.

The process is customized to fit the specific needs and situation of the company or its leadership.

A typical business coaching process may include:

  • Goal-Oriented Guidance: A business coach helps clients develop leadership skills, craft business strategies, or improve their mindset, depending on their objectives. They also guide leaders in coaching their own employees, boosting morale, engagement, and buy-in.

  • Growth-Focused Approach: The process is collaborative and results-driven, aiming to help clients reach their full potential through guidance, support, and accountability. Coaches not only help with current challenges but also teach methods for addressing future issues effectively.

  • Strategic Planning: Coaches help identify the gap between the current state and the desired future, assisting in creating strategic business plans.

  • Personal and Corporate Alignment: They help clients align their personal values with their company's vision, fostering strong leadership and executive presence.

In essence, business coaching promotes growth, offers tailored advice based on real business needs, and helps clients navigate their professional journey towards success.


How Does Coaching Differ from Consulting?

Business coaching and consulting differ in their approach and the type of help they provide.

Here's a comparison of the two approaches:


Coaching

Consulting

Focus

Developmental, emphasizing personal or team growth over time

immediate, targeting specific business problems

Method

Coaches ask questions to encourage self-discovery and growth

Consultants offer expert advice and direct solutions based on their knowledge and experience.

Solution

Coaching draws out answers from the client, helping them uncover their own strategies.

Consultants tells the client what to do, providing tools that can support them in moving forward and executing2.

Goal

Building Capacity: It's about enhancing the client's ability to solve problems and improve performance

Resolving Specific Challenges: Helping the client address or resolve a particular challenge to operations, reputation, or competitive position.

In short, coaching helps clients help themselves, while consulting provides expert solutions to specific problems.

Which Companies Can Benefit From Business Coaching?

Business coaching can benefit a wide range of companies, from startups to established corporations.

Here are some situations where a company might need business coaching:

  • Startups and Entrepreneurs: For those new to the business world, coaching can provide guidance on strategic planning, goal-setting, and achieving product-market fit. It can help new leaders gain focus, define their vision and core values, set realistic goals, and fulfill their vision.

  • Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): SMEs often benefit from coaching to navigate growth challenges, develop new strategies, and improve team communication. It can help resolve personal conflicts, engage the team, and guide the transition to the next growth stage.

  • Large Corporations: Even CEOs of Fortune 500 companies use business coaching to refine leadership skills, foster innovation, and ensure alignment with the company's vision and goals.

  • Businesses Facing Change: Companies undergoing significant changes like mergers, acquisitions, or market shifts may seek coaching for smooth transitions.

  • Organizations Seeking Improvement: Business coaching can benefit any company that wants to boost its performance, increase revenue, or accelerate career advancement for its leaders.

Essentially, any company passionate about growth, improvement, and success can benefit from the expertise and guidance of a business coach.

What does a business coaching session look like?

A typical business coaching session is designed to be effective and provide tailored support to help clients reach their goals.

Here's a breakdown of what a session might include:

  1. Building Rapport (10-15 minutes)

  2. For regular clients: Go over the past week's events. For new clients: Explain the session's structure and expectations.

  3. Setting Goals (5-10 minutes) Decide on the session's focus, which could be part of a bigger goal or a specific issue.

  4. Checking Progress (5-10 minutes) Look at tasks from previous sessions and talk about any problems faced.

  5. Tackling Client Issues (20-30 minutes) Turn challenges into chances for growth and explore feelings about them. Work together to create doable solutions and plans.

  6. Encouraging and Visualizing (10-15 minutes) Keep the client's vision alive, even when they doubt themselves, and offer support.

  7. Making an Action Plan (5-10 minutes) Create a clear, achievable plan for the client to follow after the session.

  8. Reflecting and Celebrating (Remaining time) Take time to think, celebrate wins, and spot areas to work on in future sessions.


Some coaches prefer shorter, more frequent sessions, while others might opt for longer (half-day) sessions that blend exploration and guidance.

Each session aims to be productive and transformative, ensuring clients leave feeling empowered and ready to act. The coach's job is to guide the talk, offer insights, and help clients develop their solutions and strategies.

Why does business coaching get a bad rap?

Business coaching sometimes gets a bad rap for several reasons. For example:

  • Wrong Problem Identified: Sometimes, the real issue in a company isn't spotted, and coaching is sought for the wrong reasons or people.

  • Lack of Industry Know-How: Coaches without enough experience in a specific industry might not give the best advice, leading to poor results.

  • Unclear Goals: If the coaching aims aren't well-defined and shared, it can lead to mismatched expectations and outcomes.

  • Poor Coach-Client Fit: A coach and client might not work well together, which can slow progress and cause disappointment.

  • Unqualified Coaches: The coaching industry isn't regulated, so anyone can claim to be a coach, leading to inexperienced people offering services.

Companies should carefully check potential coaches, ensuring they have the right qualifications, experience, and track record. Clear communication and a good match between the coach's expertise and the client's needs are essential for successful coaching.

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