Business coaching

Written by Katherine Nicholls
Katherine Nicholls
Life Coach Directory Content Team

Last updated 20th June 2024 | Next update due 20th June 2027

Business coaching is designed to help your business thrive. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a small start-up or a global corporation, working with a business coach can help you identify and achieve your goals. Keep reading to learn more about how business coaching can help and what to expect when working with a business coach.

What is a business coach?

A business coach uses techniques like motivational questioning to help you build an actionable plan to achieve your business goals. The careful blend of techniques used, accountability and guidance come together to move you closer to where you want to be. 

Often, business coaches have experience running their own businesses and have expertise in certain fields (such as marketing). Drawing on their expertise in business and their coaching training, business coaches have a unique ability. They can ask the right questions to get you to tap into your resources and build confidence while providing guidance and support.

What does a business coach do?

Working with a business coach can be transformational, for both you and your business – but how exactly do business coaches help? The role of a business coach is to offer personalised support to help you navigate the ups and downs of running a business. This can involve setting goals, clarifying your brand vision and developing strategies for growth. 

In this video, life and business coach Oli Anderson tells us three ways business coaching can help you get your business where you want it to go.

Help you reconnect with your vision

When you started your business, you likely had a clear vision of what you’d like your business to achieve. As time goes on, this can become muddied. Working with a coach can help bring you back to your vision, clarifying your ‘why’ behind the work that you do. Your coach can also help you check in with your business values and ensure you’re working in a way that aligns with them.

This work can help you get back on track if you’re feeling a little lost in business.

Identify obstacles and gaps

Running a business is rarely smooth sailing all the time. You may come up against obstacles in your path. A business coach can offer an outside perspective, shedding light on obstacles you may not have noticed, or gaps that could be filled. This could look like helping with mindset blocks or more strategic work with gap and competitor analysis.

Raising your awareness in this way helps you see your business more clearly and exactly what you need to do to make changes.

Provide tailored support

There is a lot of business advice available online and in books. Some of it can be helpful, but the problem is that it tends to be generic. All businesses are unique, just like their owners. When you work with a coach, they take time to get to know you and your business. This means they consider your specific circumstances so all support is catered to you and your needs.

Offer accountability

The other problem with online business advice is that it can be easy to read it and forget about it. Taking action is an important part of helping a business thrive and coaching helps with this. Having a regular meeting scheduled with a coach provides a sense of accountability, encouraging you to do what you say you’ll do. 

Alongside this accountability comes support. Being a business owner can be a solitary experience for some, and working with a coach reminds you that you’re not alone and that you can do this.

Create space to reflect and be vulnerable

How often do you take time to pause and reflect on business decisions? When you work with a coach, you have the opportunity to reflect on how things are running in your business. This helps you understand if anything needs changing. Sometimes this includes the way you have acted as a business owner.

With a coach, you can be open and honest about what you might do differently. There is never any judgment in coaching, making it a safe space to explore all sides of business - the good and the bad.

What does coaching do in business?

Coaching in business offers many benefits, so let’s explore some you might experience to understand what coaching can do in business.

Your love for your business can be rekindled

If you feel like the spark of excitement around your business has gone, coaching can help you rediscover it. Working with a coach can help you understand what’s changed since those early days and what needs to change to help you fall back in love with the business.

Coaching behaviours can filter down

Whether it’s yourself being coached or a member of your team, the behaviours learnt from coaching often filter down to staff. The coachee can take what they learn in coaching and implement it in their work. This might include regular reflection from team members, questioning techniques to encourage out-of-the-box thinking or creating space to discuss ideas.

Even if you’re a company of one, working with a coach can help you develop behaviours you can use to self-coach once your sessions are over. This is a skill that you can carry over to your personal life too, transforming the way you speak to yourself.

Self-awareness can increase

A key theme of coaching is raising self-awareness. When we see situations clearly and dig beneath the surface, we gain a better understanding of them. Having self-awareness around the business can help you notice blocks or issues and approach them with clarity.

Raising self-awareness in yourself can also make a big impact. You might learn more about your management style, if you need firmer boundaries and what self-work can support your goals. It’s only when we understand, that we can truly make a change.

Resilience may improve

Being in business can feel like you’re on a rollercoaster. You may be flying high when things are working out, but then come crashing down during quiet periods. Developing resilience can help you cope better with the ups and downs.

Coaching can help you build resilience, using self-compassion to cultivate a more flexible mindset. It can help you make difficult decisions such as pivoting a business or even closing one down. A key element of building resilience is increasing your self-belief and reducing self-doubt; a common blocker to success.

Confidence can grow

Confidence can support many aspects of our lives, including business. Having more confidence will encourage you to dream bigger and take the steps needed to grow. This may include showing up in your marketing, improving your public speaking skills and having the self-belief to expand your comfort zone. 

The confidence built in business coaching will no doubt seep into other areas of your life too. This could improve relationships, help you create a better work-life balance and offer greater life satisfaction.

Analytic and strategic skills can build

You can also work with your coach on practical skills. This may include learning more about strategies and how to implement them. You might want to understand how to analyse data better, improve your marketing skill set or hone your organisation skills.

Some of this will depend on your coach’s expertise. Be sure to speak to them before agreeing to work together to ensure they can support you in the area you want.

Business and revenue can grow

Of course, this is a common reason people seek business coaching. If you want your business to grow, a coach can help you understand what needs to change to make this happen. Together you can figure out growth strategies, implement them and reflect to see if they’ve worked (and if not, why not). 

There are no hard and fast guarantees when it comes to business growth in coaching, and there can be outside influences on business that are hard to control. Working with a business coach can, however, shed light on these situations, helping you make more informed decisions. 

My coach has enabled me to reach goals I thought were unachievable and has been key to aiding me to become the confident business woman I am today.

- Natalie Dawson

Why do you need a business coach?

Whether you’ve run your business for decades or are new to the business world, it can be hard to know if coaching is right for you. Here are some scenarios to consider when thinking if you need a business coach. If you relate to any of these, it may be worth exploring coaching.

You feel lost in your business

Do you ever feel like you are winging it when it comes to business? Perhaps you feel more reactive than proactive and a little unsure of how to move forward. Maybe you feel stagnant – knowing you want to make a change but feel stuck where you are.

When you feel lost, coaching can act like a GPS. You can figure out where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. 

The efforts you’re making in your business aren’t paying off

Have you been working tirelessly in your business, doing all the ‘right’ things but aren’t seeking results? Understanding why this is happening is crucial and can be tough to do this alone. Having the support of a coach can help you gain a fresh perspective, understand your business better and build confidence to work in a way that’s right for you.

Your team aren’t working together

If you have teams working together in your business – how well do they work together? If there are ongoing difficulties with communication, tensions in relationships or a lack of leadership, coaching can help. 

Visit our business hub to learn about different types of business coaching, including leadership coaching, staff coaching and mentoring.

You want to start a business but don't know where to start

Perhaps you don’t own a business yet, but you know you want to start one. You have an idea and a vision, but you’re not sure how to get there. Being supported by a coach can help you start your business on the right foot, going in with insight and understanding. This can help the journey from idea to reality run smoothly.

You’ve lost your motivation

Does working on your business feel like a slog? If your motivation is lacking but you know you want to keep going with your business, hiring a coach may be right for you. Together you can revisit your purpose behind your business, understand what’s changed and how you can feel motivated again.

Feeling excited about business can make a big difference to your everyday life and working with a coach can help you recapture this feeling.

You struggle to maintain a work-life balance

Is your business taking over your personal life? Do you feel you have to be ‘on-call’ 24/7 to keep it running? Over time, this imbalance between work and your personal life can hurt your well-being. You may experience burnout or start to resent the business.

A coach can help you create more distance between you and your business, allowing you to switch off and take a break. This may involve mindset work, creating better boundaries and starting hobbies outside of work.

Often we forget that we are powerful and that we can take charge of situations that seem to be out of our control. It takes a new way of looking at yourself, and aspects of your life and developing your knowledge and skills. Life and work are there to enjoy – not to bring you down!

- Dr Mariette Jansen

You feel your self-doubt is holding you back

Do you have ideas that feel ‘too big’? Are there actions you’d like to take, but you don’t feel confident enough? If your inner critic is stopping you from doing what you want in business, it could be worth reaching out to a coach. 

Business coaches can help you learn how to change your narrative from inner critic to inner cheerleader. When you believe in yourself, you can start to take small steps towards your goals and celebrate every win along the way. This, in turn, builds confidence as you watch your self-belief and business flourish.

Your business is going through change and feels unsteady

Is your business going through a period of change? Maybe you’re pivoting the business, entering a new industry or perhaps there are structural changes that need to happen. Making decisions like this and navigating change can be tough. A business coach with experience in change can help you feel confident in your decision-making and minimise the impact of change.

Going in a new direction should be exciting, and with a coach to support you, it can be.

What to look for in a business coach

If you’ve decided to work with a coach, the next step is to choose one to work with. There are several brilliant coaches available to help and choosing the right one for you is key. Here are some tips to keep in mind when searching for a business coach:

  • Look at their specialist areas and experience – do they align with what you need?
  • Read through their testimonials (if available) to find out how others have found working with them.
  • Check they are suitably qualified and have insurance.
  • Learn more about them and their way of working to see if you’ll connect on a personal level.
  • See if they offer any workshops or events to help you get a taster for how they work.
  • Consider the coaching style they use and if this fits with what you want.
  • Ask to speak with them before booking sessions (often coaches will offer a ‘chemistry’ or ‘introductory’ call so you can chat about your needs before making a financial commitment).
  • Ask about their fees and ensure you are happy with the cost.

When you are happy with who you’ve chosen, reach out to them to learn the next steps and start your business coaching journey.

Business coaching FAQs

What happens in business coaching sessions?

While this will differ from coach to coach, the first couple of sessions will likely be about your coach learning about you and your business. Gaining this information will help them tailor your support moving forward. A big part of this is finding out your goals and what you’d like to change about your business.

During further sessions, you can look at how to achieve those goals and what steps you need to take. Each session will offer space for you to reflect on actions you’ve taken to ascertain what’s worked and what hasn’t as well as any obstacles you’ve come up against. Some sessions may revolve around soft skills such as building emotional intelligence, while others may be more hard skill-focused. 

Can business coaching be delivered online?

Online coaching is when you meet with a coach for virtual sessions and it’s becoming increasingly common. These usually take place through video calls. Online business coaching can be a helpful way to meet with a coach who isn’t local to you and/or to keep up with sessions when you’re busy. Learn more about online coaching and how it could support you.

How much does business coaching cost?

The cost of business coaching will depend on several factors, including:

  • How complex the needs of your business are.
  • The location of your coaching, if you’re working face-to-face.
  • The experience and expertise of the coach.
  • The number of clients involved (for example, group coaching may cost less than individual).

To find out more about pricing and what’s included, reach out to a coach you’re considering and ask them to go through it with you.

Where can I find a business coach?

If you’re ready to take the next step and find a business coach, directories like ours can help you refine your search. We verify qualifications and professional body memberships to ensure all coaches listed with us are trained, offering you peace of mind. 

Use our search tool below to find the right coach for you and start making changes in your business. 

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