Whether business coaching is worth your investment of time, energy, and money is something only you can answer. The easiest way to figure it out is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you know what you don’t know? If you’re an expert in your industry but are running a business for the first time, you may not be aware of all the possible areas for improvement. A short round of business coaching could reveal a multitude of possibilities for you to explore.
- Are you completely stuck? Are you unable to achieve your goals from the place you’re in right now by yourself? If you know what you need to do, but there’s something holding you back, business coaching may not be as valuable. If you’re totally stuck, ask yourself the next question.
- What would be the impact of achieving your goals? If your goals are pretty minor, coaching may be more expensive than the value it could provide. But if you’re really unhappy or completely snowed under or failing to pay your bills and achieving your goals would solve that problem? Well, business coaching will cost you money initially, but it could be well worth it in the long (or even medium to short term).
In the long run, business coaching may actually cost you less time and money. But you have to be willing to put in the effort early on and trust your coach.
When should you not engage a business coach?
There are several situations where a business coach probably isn’t going to be able to help you achieve the results you’re looking for:
- You just need someone to listen to your problems. In this case, talking to a trusted confidant might be a better start. Or if you’re looking for someone who can listen to your situation and share wisdom and advice to help you overcome it, you might be better off with a mentor.
- You don’t think you need to change or do anything differently and/or you don’t want to change. If you don’t go into a business coaching relationship wanting to make positive changes, your coach isn’t going to be able to help you. They can’t do anything for you, they can only empower you to do things for yourself.
- You’re not willing to work hard. Achieving worthwhile goals requires hard work. If you’re not willing to work, you’ll be wasting time and money on coaching.
- You need technical training. A business coach may be able to help you, but they’re not going to be the only service provider you need — you’ll also need some kind of teacher, such as a mentor or professional training provider.
- You’re expecting immediate results. Most people need to take several steps to achieve the kinds of goals business coaches help with. So, while business coaching is a short-term relationship than mentoring, don’t go into coaching expecting to achieve your objectives in just a session or two. If you can’t commit to a full program, now is probably not the right time to be hiring a business coach.
What is the ROI of business coaching?
The return on your investment (ROI) in business coaching is going to vary substantially depending on the expertise of your chosen coach, what you’re trying to achieve and the type of coaching you opt for. But here are some examples of the kind of value you might realise through business coaching.
According to a study conducted by Public Personnel Management, organisations offering staff training realised a 22.4% increase in productivity. Organisations that invested in training and business coaching realised an 88% increase in productivity. A similar study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (albeit from 2001) reported an increase in productivity of more than 80% for organisations that invested in training and coaching.
According to Fortune Magazine, managers typically realise a financial return of more than six times their investment in business coaching. A study in The Manchester Review (again from 2001) also found coaching delivered a nearly six-fold ROI. Another more recent study found a 529% business coaching ROI.
Having said that, a study by the International Coaching Federation found 86% of organisations realised a positive ROI from executive business coaching, so you’re certainly not guaranteed to achieve financial returns if you engage a business coach.
This highlights another important point. All business coaches aren’t created equal — each brings a different set of skills to their coaching relationships. So, for example, if you’re looking for a small business coach, make sure the coaches you’re investigating specialise in that kind of coaching. If you’re looking for group coaching for your employees, you might prefer to hire someone with specialised executive coaching expertise.
Where can you find business coaches?
There are lots of places you can find a business coach.
- You can approach any of the vast number of coaches that show up when you Google ‘business coach’ — this would give you the widest range of candidates to choose from
- You can reach out to a professional coaching body, like the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches, for a list of coaches who might suit your needs and reach out to those who look suitable — this would give you a list of coaches with a certification that might give you confidence in their services
- You can post a project brief on a service marketplace, like CircleSource, and have business coaches who meet your needs come to you — this would give you a shorter list of candidates, but the list would be comprised of somewhat expert coaches who believe they can help you with your challenges and goals (following these tips will raise the quality of the pitches you receive)
Whichever method you choose, it’s a good idea to have a chat to several promising coaches, so you get a feel for their style and personalities and can choose the coach who best fits with your exact needs.
Will you try business coaching?
Business coaching isn’t for everyone. But as the above statistics show, it can be really powerful when done well. Are you keen to dip your toe into the waters of business coaching? Tell us in the comments.
Or have you used a business coach in the past? What was your experience? Help others get the most out of their business coaching experience by popping a note in the comments with a little info about your foray into business coaching.