Business coaching

Whether you’re a business owner, an executive, a manager, an employee or simply a person looking for a new job or career, hiring a business coach to help develop and hone your skills could greatly improve your chances of success.

The term 'business coaching' encompasses:

  • executive coaching (for seniors)
  • start-up business coaching (for entrepreneurs)
  • management coaching (for team leaders)
  • staff coaching (for teams)
  • interview coaching (for potential employees)

Business coaches utilise structure, impartiality and acquired expertise to help their clients explore their strengths, build on their weaknesses and learn new techniques to help them excel in their fields.

The history of business coaching

Business coaching first became popular during the business boom of the 80s and 90s. Before then coaching was specifically used in sport to help athletes push their bodies and minds to the absolute limits of their capabilities. It wasn't until the groundbreaking book, 'The Inner Game of Tennis' was published in 1974, that business owners began to see how sports coaching principals could be applied to the cut-throat world of business.

The concept of 'coaching', guiding a person from where they are to where they want to be, is something that has existed for as long as civilization itself. Our species has always demonstrated a natural hunger for perfection and in a tough business environment, it is this structured and forward-thinking approach that prospers.

How can a business coach help me?

A business coach could help you by offering an external, objective and constructive perspective of your situation. Business is an incredibly diverse subject and as such, different coaches specialise in different subjects. Where one might be an expert in public speaking techniques, another might be more accomplished in strategy and management. Before you hire a business coach you should make sure that they have experience with the subject you wish to address.

Below are nine reasons why a business coach may be good for you.

1. You want to develop further public speaking skills

Whether you suffer from stage-fright (sweaty palms, tight throat, debilitating nerves), or simply want to turn an interesting presentation into an inspiring one - a business coach with a solid background in public speaking could teach you the specialist techniques required to give an excellent and effective pitch, conference, or presentation.

2. You want to improve communication skills

Communication skills are paramount in business. How do you negotiate a good deal, get colleagues to like you and impress seniors if you can't communicate properly? Good communication skills don't come naturally to all of us by any means. Shyness, awkwardness, low self-confidence and feelings of inferiority can hold people back in business, no matter how intelligent or innovative they are.

3. You want to start a new business

Start-up business coaches offer much-needed support, guidance and expertise for new entrepreneurs looking to start a business. Start-ups are notoriously risky - nearly half fail within the first three years due to misjudged markets, overestimated forecasts, underestimated liabilities and so on - all easy mistakes to make for a first-timer. With an experienced business coach on-board, those fatal mistakes could be seriously minimised.

4. You need help managing a team

Managing a team of people can be incredibly hard work. Firstly, you have to be very perceptive - how do you identify and utilise everybody's strengths? How do you get everyone to work as well as they possibly can together?

Secondly, you have to be confident - there's no use worrying that no one likes you. If you appear unconfident and uncertain then you're unlikely to gain the trust and respect of your team. Some business coaches specialise in coaching the skills required to be an excellent leader.

To find out more about what it takes to be a good leader, please visit our leadership page.

5. You need to make key changes and decisions

For businesses planning to merge, expand, relocate or change in structure, making careful decisions at this transitional point is paramount. Often, it can be hard to see your business as a whole, especially if you have an emotional bond with the business. Staying true to your original aims is important, but recognising when changes need to be made is essential. Some business owners and partners try to resist change for private reasons and end up jeopardising the future success of their business.

Although business coaches should never work as mediators, they do aim to offer an unbiased, completely objective outlook. Sometimes a decision is much easier to make if an impartial perspective can be considered.

6. Preparing a CV

Whether you're looking for part-time work, you've just graduated from university and need help, or you're looking to change your career path completely, a business coach could help you to construct, write and optimise your CV to offer you the best possible chances of getting that all-important interview.

7. You want to improve your interviewee or interviewer skills

There are certain techniques that make a good interviewer and interviewee. If you are a prospective interviewee looking to increase your chances of getting the job you want, hiring a business coach specialising in career coaching could significantly boost your chances. From learning how to speak in a clear, confident manner, to constructing full, informative and convincing answers, lessons from a career coach could be invaluable.

Interviewing potential employees can be just as daunting. How do you know how to get the best out of someone? What are the right questions to ask? How do you know if an individual really will fit into your company? A business coach will be able to make the whole process clearer and less nerve-wracking by teaching you practical skills to become an effective interviewer.

8. You need help with work/life balance

It's easy to get carried away at work, especially if a tough project demands lots of time and effort. If you're finding it difficult to find a healthy balance between work and home life, then a business coach could help. By prioritising tasks, implementing time-frames and coaching time-management skills, you could soon find you finally have time to give your family, friends, hobbies and work the attention they're due.

Learn more about how to achieve a good work/life balance.

9. You need motivation

The problem with motivation is that it's often short-lived. We might wake up on a Monday raring to go and get started on new projects and exciting ideas, but by Wednesday that enthusiasm can begin to wane. For new entrepreneurs, having the motivation to keep going even when everything starts to go wrong can be incredibly difficult. Business coaches can help motivate you to keep going by introducing short-term goals and encouraging you to see the daily successes you might otherwise have dismissed as unimportant.

A coach will also teach you ways to motivate yourself, so when things become difficult and you don't want to get out of bed in the morning, you can find the strength to get up, get out and get going with the day.

Find out more about different types of motivation and how coaching can help.

Types of business coach

The term business coaching also covers the following more specific areas:

  • career coaching
  • leadership coaching
  • executive coaching
  • start-up business coaching
  • interview coaching
  • management coaching.   

How long does business coaching take?

Different business coaches practice different methods, so the number of sessions needed will vary from coach to coach. The number of sessions you have will also vary according to the subject you wish to address. For instance, help with your CV will take significantly less time than help with managing a new team.

Generally though, business coaches work with their clients from between six to 18 months. The sessions end when all the goals have been reached, or whenever the client wishes. Coaches aim to work at their client's pace and will never rush any decisions, or take longer than necessary working on a project.  

Business meeting, people shaking hands

How do I know which business coach to choose?

It is essential to have a good rapport with your business coach - after all, you will be working with them closely and taking on board their expertise. If you don't respect or agree with them then how are you going to gain anything? The best way to know if a business coach is right for you is to meet with them and trust your instincts. If you have any doubts about the intentions, integrity, or values of the coach you choose, then choose another.

Search for a business coach near you.

Business coaching prices

The price you can expect to pay for your business coach depends on the following factors:

  • Location of your business - if your business is located in the centre of a city, coaching fees are likely to be noticeably higher.
  • Complexity of your needs - if you're hiring a business coach to come in and help you re-organise your multinational corporation, it's going to cost you more than needing a short session to go through some presentation skills.
  • Experience of coach - if you're looking to hire a world-famous coach with expertise coaching the top-dogs in business, it's going to come with much a bigger price tag.
  • Number of clients - group coaching is likely to be cheaper than one-to-one coaching.

Usually, your introductory consultation comes free of charge. It’s a short conversation for you to discuss your needs, goals and get to know the coach and their way of working. And take your time choosing your coach. After all, it's for the benefit of your career, your business and you. There is no rush to achieving your goals - the fact you’re seeking support is something to be proud of and a massive step in the right direction.

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