So, You’re Ready for a Business Coach? Five Qualities to Look For

What do professional musicians, movie stars, athletes, and successful entrepreneurs all have in common? They all have a coach, or in some cases, multiple coaches. But not all coaches are created equal. If you’ve made the decision to enter into a coaching relationship to achieve your goals and take your business to the next level, consider the five roles a business coach should play in the coaching partnership:

1. Partner

For your coaching relationship to be successful, it’s critical to develop a partnership wherein you’re both working toward an agreed-upon destination—your destination! No one succeeds alone, and together, you will achieve more.

Through standards and expectations that the coach and client establish at the start of the coaching relationship, they determine that the relationship is a partnership, but the roles and responsibilities are not the same. The coach has the responsibility of ensuring the client is progressing toward their goals, and the client agrees to the activities required to reach those goals.   

“To keep your resolve, surround yourself with those who want you to succeed—and who are also on a path of practice.”

Kare Anderson,
“Moving from Me to We”

When you see your coach as a partner, you know you’re not alone, and there is a sense of relief knowing that you have someone in your corner who is equally interested in your success.

Through asking the appropriate questions, your coach will help you gain massive clarity around your goals and will also help you identify if they are big enough to create a transformation in your life. We refer to these as possibility goals. I like to tell my clients that if people aren’t laughing at how ambitious your goals are, they are not big enough! 

You have to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow.

2. Potential Unlocker

The right business coach will help you unlock your potential.Blind spots How? In order to function at your maximum capacity, you first need to identify your core values. Core values are principles that guide an organization’s internal conduct as well as its relationship with the external world.

Are you living according to your core values? Your coach should help you identify areas that are inconsistent with your core values, decide what your true potential looks like, and create a vision of what you want your business to be.

When you are not performing to your potential, your coach will help you identify your blind spots. Blind spots are areas that are impossible or difficult to see due to an obstruction, such as ego, insecurity, or a narrowed perspective. They’re so difficult to see because frankly, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Once you become aware of your blind spots, you can see the change in mindset or activities necessary to overcome them, and that’s when you’re on your way to maximizing your potential.

3. Mindset Changer

We have all heard the definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over expecting different results. Your coach should help you change your thinking and open your eyes to a different way of doing things to get the results you desire. This often happens by asking big questions that allow you to think bigger. One of these questions, from the bestseller, “The ONE Thing,” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, is “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” A question like that requires a big answer—and big answers aren’t right there at your fingertips. They require research and an open mind. When we open our minds, we begin to gain massive clarity on our purpose and priority.  

When you focus on the plan and not the problem, you move into a positive mindset taking you closer to achieving success. For example, the fear of chaos is a mindset. Understanding this allows you to focus on the plan. Chaos occurs during growth, and when there is no growth, complacency can set in, preventing you from moving forward. Adopt the mindset of welcoming chaos—and see where your growth happens.

Mindset can also be impacted by word choices. What you say to yourself and others matters. If you are using phrases such as “I can’t, I’m not good enough, it’s not possible”, etc., you are creating the mindset of defeat. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t—you’re right.” The right coach will help you create the mindset of winning.  

4. Teacher

You also want your coach to be a teacher—not all the time, but sometimes, gaining additional knowledge of a topic or a way forward from someone who’s “been there, done that,” becomes a necessity. A coach’s goal is to teach you how to fish, especially when you need to build a new skill that will allow you to accomplish your goals.  

5. Accountability Champion

“Accountability is the breakfast of champions.”

– Gary Keller

Accountability may be the biggest role a coach can play in your relationship. While Webster’s defines accountable as “subject to having to report, explain or justify; being answerable, responsible,” an article written by Roger Connors and Tom Smith suggested this definition: “A personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results—to See It, Own It, Solve It, and Do It.”

While the first definition implies little to no choice, the latter reminds us it is a choice, that we have agency. In other words, if you are saying the activities you chose are the most important steps to achieving your goals, why would you be doing anything else?

The expectations established between the coach and the client on what the client will be held accountable for is very important. Accountability is what keeps the client on track with the activities they are committed to doing. Clearly defined methods of measurement will determine your success.  

Now that you know the five key roles a good coach can play, make sure to interview coaches to find the right fit for you. By forming a partnership that puts your goals at the very forefront of each conversation, you’ll both be accountable to achieving extraordinary results.