8 Questions to Ask A Business Coach – Your Smart Guide

Questions to ask a business coach - hiring can be a minefield.

Finding a good business coach can be a real minefield…

Getting the right help to improve your business can be a real minefield. 

This list of insightful questions to ask a business coach will guide you to make a smarter decision. 

You may also want to read Working With A Business Coach: The Ultimate Guide.

The important thing to remember is that because there is no professional qualification or requirement to become a business coach, there is a real glut of them.

This means that there are many who cannot give the help you need.  It’s the old Latin saying, caveat emptor, let the buyer beware,

For your business, seek out a high performer using these questions. 

Do you want to achieve average, or do you want to achieve breakthrough results for your business?

The Question They Cannot Answer…

The big reason to formulate your list of questions to ask a business coach is to answer one central question…

If I work with you, will I finally get the breakthrough that I have worked so hard to achieve?

That really is it.  Will you make more money without selling your soul to the gods of work.

You want to grow faster than your competitors.  Build a better long-term legacy.  Create a better life.

That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

So… use these questions to ask a business coach and really get underneath his or her skin. 

But above all else, you need to answer that one question above so you have the confidence to know you’re buying the right help you build a better business.

Many who describe themselves as business coaches know very little about business.

As a published author on business growth and one of the UK’s leading business coaches, I’ve figured out the top questions you need to ask to make sure you get a coach who can deliver the goods.

1. Do clients achieve measurable, substantial results?

You don’t have time to waste on people with no track record of achieving results.

So the first of the questions to ask a business coach is not something you need to ask at all for a lot of them.

Just look for a range of case studies or testimonials.  Like this one from one of my clients…

If you doubt them at all, ask to speak to past or present clients.

Talk the detail of how much extra revenue they’re making as a result of working together.

2. What business skills do they have – or are they just a life coach?

Many life coaches, who specialise in motivation and self-development, call themselves business coaches.

They do this because they can charge more for their services that way.

But they are missing key skills you will need.

A true business coach will specific knowledge of business strategies that will add tremendous value to your business.

For example, I have a track record in marketing.

Business coach should have proof

Along with several friends, we built a financial services business and brand called Varooma.

We grew it to over £1m in its first year of trading in 2012/13 and since then we’ve grown it to £11m per annum.

£11m is a big result – big proof.  Only 2% of all businesses have sales over £1m.  Very few get into 8 figures like Varooma.

Look for something similar in the coach that you hire.

Skills and knowledge are bare essential tools for coaching.

But it’s the direct experience that provides wisdom on dealing with problems and a more balanced perspective on the problems you face.

Would you prefer surgery from a doctor with no experience, or one who has successfully operated on 100 people before you?

Avoid the life coaches and all the woo-woo that goes with it.

3. Can they demonstrate their expertise?

Top business coaches publish a book
Lee’s award-winning book

It’s too easy for people to inflate their experience and expertise when selling.

What have they written or published that demonstrates their expertise without question?

For example, my award-winning book Double Your Business has been published in 4 languages and is a best-seller.

4. How do they describe business coaching?

This is one of the most important questions to ask a business coach.

If they tell you it’s all about helping you to focus and bring out the best in yourself, they are only halfway there.

The other side of the coin is analysing your business to identify what’s holding you back.

Then building a plan with you to move forwards – quickly – to achieve the results you’ve not been getting on your own.

Do they provide you with systems, blueprints, templates and processes to help you implement?

Will they support you to tailor things to fit your business more precisely?

  • You want ideas and contributions to help your business to grow.
  • You should look for guidance to build a clear action plan to deliver growth.
  • It’s also good to have a little accountability when you let things slip.
  • One client told me something before deciding to work with me…

He was wary of getting ‘another consultant who just talks things through without arriving at a clear action plan’.

We grew that business together and he’s now successfully growing a substantial marketing business with my help.

Every time we speak, you’ll end the conversation with clear actions to drive your business forward.

5. What types of business have they coached?

You don’t need a coach who is expert in your industry.

You need a coach who can quickly adapt and help clients to be successful no matter what their industry.

There’s a huge value to bringing in somebody external with ideas from other sectors that none of your competitors are doing.

I’ve used ideas from manufacturing with clients in retail.  I’ve used ideas from IT services to help a golf business.

I’ve used sales strategies from a franchisor to help another sell more franchises.

The wider your coach’s experience, the bigger the breadth of knowledge, tactics and strategies he can bring to your business.

6. Will the coach provide practical help as well as coaching?

My clients always send marketing to me before they use it.

I’ll review it to make sure they don’t waste their money on ads that don’t work.

As a result, my clients see bigger results, and they get them faster.  Which is the whole point of having a business coach, after all.

7. How long have they been professionally coaching?

It may not be wise to trust the future of your business to a newly-minted coach, armed only with a manual from their college or franchisor…

I was trained to coach in 1994 and have been a professional full-time business coach since 2004.

Financial Times published Double Your Business in 2012.

8. How do they market their coaching business?

Business growth is driven by effective marketing strategies and sales skills.

Yet many coaches struggle to get clients in sufficient numbers.

The end up having to supplement their incomes by selling multi-level marketing products like multivitamins and utilities!

This is one of those questions to ask a business coach that deserves a little exploration.

Do they earn all of their income from their coaching business?  Or is it a part-time gig they’re doing on the side of a 9-5 job?

A good business coach will have a solid lead-generation system that is reliable and consistently produces enquiries to keep them busy.

My marketing includes several websites, SEO, Adwords, Facebook and email marketing.

My lead generation is completely under my control.  Which is what every business wants and needs.

I also enjoy a healthy flow of referrals from clients and enquiries from people reading Double Your Business.

Summary: Questions To Ask A Business Coach…

The bottom line is they must win your confidence.  Just remember that the role of a coach often means they’ve got a lot of bluff and bluster, or ‘front’.

Having a sensible set of questions helps you to cut through the bullsh*t and find out the reality.

Serious about growing your business?

Download my free 21 Ways To Increase Your Sales guide to discover some of the strategies I’ve used to help clients add millions to their sales.

Need a Business Coach on Your Side?  Let’s Talk…

Now that you now the right questions to ask a business coach, apply for a free strategy session to test them out.

I’ll help you figure out whether you’re a good fit for Double Your Business Coaching.

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Lee Duncan

Lee Duncan is the author of "Double Your Business: How to Break Through The Barriers to Higher Growth, Turnover and Profit", from Financial Times Publishing. He teaches the owners of small to medium businesses how to make more profit and enjoy more free time.

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