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Hiring a Coach: What’s Your Perfect Match?

Updated: May 20, 2022

Hiring a Coach - What’s in It for You?

So…you’re… coaching curious. You’re at a place in your business where you need help moving forward. You may be wondering, “What does a coach even do? What’s really in it for me?”

Well, that depends. What kind of help are you looking for? I mean what flavor of coaching do you want? Are you looking for a nanny? A taskmaster? A teacher? A strategist? Or do you just need a cheerleader?

Whatever it is - you can find one.

But in most cases, what you get when you hire a coach is an objective third eye. A good coach can raise your perspective, clear your vision, and mobilize your development. They can help you break old habits, form new skills, realize opportunities, build momentum, and move you to the next level.

Basically, when you hire a good coach - you hire someone who can help you move out of your own way.

“Oftentimes, the biggest hurdle to success is that you don't know what you don't know.” Keynote Speaker, Brittany Hodak told Forbes, "You can't Google your way out of a problem that you aren't sure how to articulate—or worse, how to anticipate. I've invested six figures in business coaches over the years and can directly attribute much of my success to what they've taught me. ”

A good coach can help you find gaps - and then fill them.

But notice I said “a good coach.” You want to get a good coach. Or even better - you want to get a good coach for you. Because hiring a coach is part hiring and part filling a glass slipper.

Meaning… you have to find someone who fits just right. Someone who fits you and your needs.

In this article, let’s first figure out what kind of coaching you need. We’ll discuss the most important questions to ask a coach when you’re shopping for results. Then let’s discuss some of the finer details of what you - just you - need.

Makeover, Mentor, or Mastery: What’s Your Focus?

Let’s start by considering what your focus is. Do you want someone to build you into a business person, to guide you through the stages of business, or to train you in hard business skills?

You don’t have to know 100% what your focus is, but give it thought before you meet with a prospective coach. Considering this helps you ask better questions and get a line on what kind of coach you’re dealing with.

There are three basic approaches to consider: a makeover, mentorship, and mastering new skills.

  • The Makeover

When hiring a coach, you may need someone who’s zeroing in on building your “inner business owner.” That means working on personal qualities that are about your identity, your confidence, and your ability to command respect.

This kind of coach can clear up your decision-making issues. They can help you to communicate with authority and authenticity. They can strengthen how you present yourself to the marketplace.

  • The Mentor

The mentor approach is about hiring a coach who’s a few steps ahead of you on your journey. They know where you’re at because they’ve literally been there. They can advise, sometimes, very specifically on what you need to do. They teach behavior by modeling it.

These situations can be great for absorbing an avatar of your future self. As long as you keep in mind that you’re not the exact same person. Remember to take the essentials of the lessons being modeled, but don’t try to turn into a Mini-Me.

  • Mastery

This version is all about skills. Your coach is essentially a teacher of hard skills. This can mean marketing, funnels, hiring, management, delegation, social media, pricing strategies.

When you hire a coach that leans into a trainer identity, there’s a feeling of being in class. There’s almost a curriculum to be pulled from to get you ship-shape for doing the everyday necessities of running your business.

  • Whoops - There’s a Fourth Kind!

Actually, there is a fourth option when hiring a coach. That’s the hybrid coach - like me.

The hybrid style of coaching is a fluid approach that adapts to the client’s needs in real time. Needs change with every level up. It’s good to have a coach who can roll with it and create a new plan centered around the moment.

But be careful when someone offers “whatever you need.” This can be a cover for a coach having no point of view at all and just wanting to make a sale.

You don’t want to hire a coach who just follows your whims. You want them to know enough to see the holes you’re not seeing, speak the truth to you, and not center their coaching around the moods of the moment.

Two Questions You Need to Ask

When you’re hiring a coach, there are basic qualifications you should look at - obviously.

You ask about their training. You look into their certifications. Everyone knows that.

But there are two - I think - obvious questions that a lot of people forget to ask. And they’re essential.

How successful is your business? How successful have your clients been?

I know. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s rarely done. Maybe it feels rude. But it seems pretty reasonable to me, and it’s a good sign that you’re taking this process seriously.

So don’t be squeamish. And listen, a lot of the detective work you can do on your own, anyway.

For instance, you can check out their website and their social media presence. How robust are they? Do they have livestreams to sample or free content? You can get a sense of their track record, their depth of knowledge, their community, and how they deal with questions.

Look at their testimonials. Do they have videos of satisfied clients or at least pictures that don’t look like they’re from a stock photo site? Are the testimonials specific in their praise? Do they talk about a meaningful transformation?

And you can ask them…point-blank, what the results have been for their past clients. You want them to talk about how specific clients benefitted from their services in a sort of before-after model. What pain point did the person come trying to solve and what was the result.

A coach who can’t talk about their work likely has nothing worth hearing about. If they can’t talk comfortably about it, move on.

Your Personal Needs

When you’re hiring a coach it’s easy to get tunnel vision about your business needs. But you’re more than the sum total of your business-related pain points.

You have a vibe, values, specific tastes, and baggage. Some coaches are going to be easier for you to connect with than others.

If you decide to hire a coach, remember it’s not just about getting the best coach. It’s about getting the best coach…for you. It should be a qualified person, yeah, but they should also be a good fit for your specific needs.

Building your business can be thrilling, but there’s no way around it, it’s hard. Stuff will come up. Stuff that you’re not expecting. Emotional things.

All the shadow work that you’ve been avoiding - that social anxiety, that fear of making real money, that sense of unworthiness - whatever it is, it will come out in the process.

So try to find someone with life coaching skills as well. You’re going to face yourself on this ride. And you need someone trained to deal with these things as they pop up.

Also if you have some area of specific concern, ask about it when you’re hiring your coach.

For instance, I’m not an ADD coach, but I have ADD. I live with it. I work with it. I’ve turned it to my advantage when I can, and I’ve navigated the downsides. If you come to me with ADD, this is going to be a huge help when we work together.

If you’re a person recovering from trauma or are immersed in a yogic tradition - you should feel free to ask about those skills and values.

Finding the right coach for you is a combination of expertise and value alignment. So advocate for yourself in the interview. Even if the person doesn’t have specific certification in the arena you’re asking about, how they respond to your questions should reveal a lot about how they’ll care for your deepest needs moving forward.

The Last Ingredient Is You

Mm. One more thing.

Jared Weitz, CEO of United Capital Source once told Inc Magazine that a good coach doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear. Coaching “will get you out of your comfort zone and find growth that can be translated into your business.”

Hiring a coach is essentially about making change. Which sometimes means a gentle nudge toward new skills and knowledge. Sometimes it’s a big shove out of your safe little nest.

Whether or not you leave that comfort zone is, ultimately, up to you.

So do some homework, find your ideal person, but be ready to move. Because it’s not all about the coach. When push comes to shove, you have to be willing to leave that nest. Get ready to jump.

Need help choosing your coach? Let’s chat and see if we’re right for each other.

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