What is a business coach? Everything you could want to know - Phil Drinkwater Coach

What is a business coach? Everything you could want to know

You are a smart person, you’re working hard, and you have great goals in place. A business coach is your accountability partner and champion who pushes you when you need it, and energises you with positive feedback. Let's find out everything to do with business coaching.
What we'll cover

As a business owner, you know it takes more than just good ideas to get your company off the ground. You need connections, funds, and skills too. But business coaching can help with all of those things (and more). More importantly, it can help you build on successes instead of consistently chasing and trying to figure out what goes wrong.

What is a Business Coach?

A coach can be someone who trains athletes for competitions or helps people learn new skills. A business coach does something similar: they provide training to help people in the world of commerce become more effective by helping them identify their strengths and weaknesses and building on them.

In the end then, a business coach is there to guide an executive toward success.

Think of it this way: with a business coach, the business owner or executive is in the driving seat.

The coach is still in the passenger seat helping them to work out where they really want to arrive at, and then help them to develop the most effective and joyful route, unblocking previously blocked roads that are more efficient and discovering new routes which had seemed impossible, or maybe which are just preferred compared to their current path. The coach is not driving, but aiding in the generation of an efficient route only.

Maybe one person doesn’t like right-hand turns, and another keeps going round the M25 never getting off at any junction. These situations will be causing inefficiencies or – in the case of the M25 driver – they will never arrive where they want to be and will continue to go round and round forever. Maybe on the journey they’re too hot, and the coach helps them discover air conditioning and windows to keep them cool. The choice of which temperative moderation to use isn’t for the coach to make – that’s for the business.

The term “business coaching” covers a pretty broad range of services though. Still, generally speaking, most modern coaches want you to recognise what areas of your business or life need improvement so that you can tackle them head-on. They want you to achieve more and focus more on the parts of your life that keep you moving forward. They want you to make good decisions in all areas of your life.

A good business coach is there to help you identify problem areas in your life, solve them, and help you move on to the next challenge.

What is an executive coach?

Executive coaching is one of the most popular uses for a business coach and it can be a game-changer for your business. Executive coaches work with business executives to help them do the hard work of running a company.

They can help managing directors, directors, CEOs, and CFOs identify where their strengths are and show them where they fall short, whether in leadership, sales techniques, or corporate culture.

Are you already a business owner?

Before you can get the most out of business coaching, you have to admit that maybe you’re not as prepared for it as you think. A good coach can help bring out what’s working in your life and identify where your weaknesses might be.

This is a popular business coaching process

Suppose there are aspects of your life holding you back when it comes to growing your business. In that case, a coach might be able to provide the tools or knowledge that will allow you to live in a way that helps develop your business and ultimately increase its profitability.

Business Coaches Offer Guidance and Support

A good business coach doesn’t just tell you what needs to change; they also advise on how to change it. This combination of guidance and support is the best way to make changes that are sustainable over time.

A Business Coaching Relationship

Business coaching is a partnership between the coach and the business owner, nothing more, nothing less. You’re still in charge of deciding what you need to improve and how to go about doing that.

The difference between a professional coach and your advisor is that – with a coach – you’re looking for a relationship. A relationship that will help you identify your strengths and learn how tocompensate for areas where you’re weaker.

Ultimately, this will lead to better decision-making (allowing for more effective long-term planning) as well as greater profitability (enabling you to keep making money without having to rely on external funding).

Coaching is about business growth

Ultimately, good coaching entails getting the most out of your business and achieving more success than you ever thought possible.

It’s about recognising what you know, what you don’t know, and working hard to become the most successful version of yourself. Your coach isn’t going to do everything for you – but that’s okay. The best coaches help determine what your goals are and then work with you to achieve them.

In today’s world, more and more people often use coaching as a business tool to achieve business results that wouldn’t be possible independently. Coaches of all types help businesses who want to grow for one reason or another (and there are many) to improve their performance and ultimately achieve more success than they ever thought possible.

The business coaching process

When you first start out with your business coach, they’ll want to know about your business goals and overall vision to assess whether coaching is the right fit for you and whether you are the right fit for them. They’ll also want to determine what skills you already have and what skills you’d like to have. From there, it’s all about going step-by-step through the process of achieving your goals.

There are a few different coaching styles. They can be described as:

  • Partner Coaching – Working with one coach and multiple entities and communicating directly throughout the process to maintain focus, accountability, and the overall process. Partner Coaching is most effective when coaches manage their time effectively or have someone who can manage their time, such as an assistant or coach’s assistant.
  • Quadruple-Coaching – Working with two coaches and multiple entities and communicating directly throughout the process to maintain focus, accountability, and the overall process.
  • Matrix-Coaching – Working with multiple entities. Each entity has set time frames to discuss the individual’s goals and objectives and implement, manage, and evaluate the process.
  • Hybrid Coaching – Combines the benefits of more than one style while minimising flaws or weaknesses associated with each style.

Once you’ve determined which type of coach you want to work with, the first step will be setting goals.

Once your business coach understands what you’d like to achieve as well as where you are now, they can begin asking the right questions, making suggestions, and helping you formulate a plan to reach your ultimate goal. Typically, the best way to know if a coach is “the one” for you is to try a few sessions – if it’s a good fit then great; if not then move on.

How Can a Business Coach Help You?

A business coach doesn’t have all the answers, but they can ask the right questions. And that’s what makes them valuable: their perspective can change the way you look at things so that you find new ways to improve. Mindset is critical in business growth because “What you focus on expands.” If you have a burning desire to succeed, it’s time to find a business coach.

There are many people who are great at giving advice, but few who can truly help someone reach their dreams and goals. The best coaches realise that coaching is more about helping you become the best that you can be rather than telling you what to do. Winning the battle is often not as important as reaching the goal.

Helping you to develop

By helping you develop your business on a deeper level, they can provide valuable insights and take opportunities that may have been missed or overlooked before. Once you figure out what needs to be done to benefit from a coach, you will likely want to see them regularly (and often).

A good goal in starting your relationship with a business coach is for you both to understand what each other brings to the table.

Common areas for business coaches to focus on

When it comes to running a business, coaching can help in pretty much any area that could use improvement. Some of the most common areas for coaches to focus on include:

  • Your relationships: This category includes your clients and employees as well as any partners you work with, such as investors or people who share your vision.
  • Your business skills: There are various aspects to this category, such as non-technical skills like entrepreneurship or problem solving; and technical skills including business management and marketing.
  • Your day-to-day operations: This includes the office you keep and all of the processes you have for daily tasks. Things like hiring and firing employees, creating product lists or customer service policies can all benefit from a little coaching.
  • Your finances: Business coaches can also work on your budgeting, accounting and tax preparation, employee payroll or even keeping up with sales tax (if that’s something related to your business). All these different areas of expertise make it easier for you to run a more efficient business.
  • Your emotions & mindset: Sometimes, our emotions get in the way of achieving our goals and taking care of business. When that’s the case, business coaches can help us let go of our fears and get more focused on our long-term goals. Perfectionism and people-pleasing are very common.
  • Your vision: Some business coaches can help you find clarity in your vision for your business’s future and help you create a plan to achieve it. You’ll work with your business coach on an ongoing basis to create measurable outcomes and outcomes that are specific to your needs. Along the way, you should see improvements in all areas of your business as well as increased profits.

The specifics of what you can get help with will depend on the individual business coach, but in general a business coach is there to help you improve the way you run your company. That’s why it’s important to know what kind of coach you’re working with, since not every type of coach has the right skills to be helpful.

What Types of Business Coaches Are There?

There are basically three types of business coaches available:

  1. The “Systems-based” coach
  2. The “People & Relationships-based” coach
  3. The “Strategy & Structure-based” coach.

The “Systems-based” coach

The “Systems-based” coach looks at how the “systems” of the business and what’s needed to improve their performance. This may include, improving your sales process, or how you organise your accounting system, or how to improve your relationship with suppliers.

The “People & Relationships-based” coach

The People & Relationships-based coach looks at the people side of the business – their relationships with each other and with customers. So, for example, this type of coach would look at improving customer service or team building. I would sit within the category of people & relationships. I look more at how to allow you to get out of the way of your success.

The “Strategy & Structure-based” coach

The Strategy & Structure-based coach looks at how the organisation’s strategy and structures work. For example, this type of coach would look at how to improve a business’s manufacturing processes or organise its marketing. I would sit within this category of strategy and structure

The growth of online business coaching

With the advent of Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, it’s not longer necessary to be in the same location as your coach

With online business coaching, you can now have a face-to-face meeting with a coach in your home, office or coffee shop that is still reliable and professional.

Online business coaching brings many benefits, including time, privacy, and cost to the business owner.

What type of people are coaches useful for?

Business coaches are useful for anyone who wants to improve their performance at work.

That includes the obvious example, such as senior management over the age of forty, who want to improve their performance. It can also include more junior people, and indeed even those who have been in a job or career for some time.

How a business coach can help executives

An executive coach helps senior executives – to improve the performance of these top people.

But for CEOs / managing directors and directors in particular, this can include all kinds of different things, helping them become better leaders and managers. These roles are very within the company, and can make or break it. So, improving their leadership and management skills is very important for their ability to make the change they want in their business.

For senior managers in general, including directors, this can include improving management skills on a day-to-day basis. But more than that, it can also include finding out the perfect role for yourself and finding contentment as a senior manager.

Leadership coaching is the process of teaching an individual how to lead and manage their company or team and can be very beneficial.

It begins with identifying the individual’s strengths and areas for improvement for a business leader. Many competencies can be assessed, but the most common ones are: leadership, management, execution, communication and interpersonal skills. The coach will help them identify their gaps in these competencies and develop a plan to improve upon them.

How a business coach can help entrepreneurs

For a business owner, this can include a range of different skills. It can include finding out how to develop your business as you go along, helping you get through the challenges and decisions that will be faced on the way.

A business coach will also be able to look at things around issues of motivation, which is very important for entrepreneurs – particularly if they are going through a period where they feel not motivated about their own project or their own business.

A business coach will provide a lot of support around planning your career, which is important for an entrepreneur. If you have been looking for ways to improve yourself in your job, then a business coach can give you that little insight into some ideas which will help you. This might include looking at how to develop the job you’re doing now – maybe there are some changes or improvements you can make – and it could also include finding out how to progress to higher levels within the company if it is appropriate.

How a business coach can help small businesses

A small business coach can be of huge benefit to a small business owner because there are often opportunities for the owner or manager to improve certain parts of their own performance.

If you are looking to learn how to improve your business as you go along, a business coach is perfect for that, because what you want is someone who can help with the skills. And that could mean looking at things like improving performance in terms of making decisions that will move the business forward and achieve more for it.

A business coach can also be hugely beneficial if you are growing your company into new markets. Challenging and evaluating your thoughts on these new markets can be really useful.

How a business coach can help freelancers

If you have a small business of your own, you might find that in addition to certain skills and abilities, you need to learn about things like the ways of working with clients. You can improve these skills, and a business coach will provide plenty of useful advice and information on this, which is really useful if you are looking to start up a business.

Freelancers have specific problems that a business coach can help with because they are the entire lifeblood of a company, but they also have specific skills and abilities that need to be developed.

Even more so than the above, if you are working part-time, a business coach can be hugely beneficial because they can give you some great tips on improving the performance in terms of what it takes to make more money as you go along.

Several different types of coaches offer assistance to small businesses, and each brings his or her own style and strengths to the table.

How to choose the right business coach

When you are looking to find a business coach, it’s important to think about what type of business coach is most appropriate for you. You might need help with your personal life, or your work life. Perhaps both.

The relationship between a business coach and the person they are working with is very important. It’s important that you are able to make an effective connection because very often it is this relationship that will be the key to any improvements that result from coaching.

A business coach needs to be able to understand and motivate you if you’re going through tough times. They need to understand what motivates you and your strengths so they can direct their coaching in productive ways – but also provide support when things are going well.

You need a coach who understands how your own personal life interacts with your work life.

For example, if you are a single parent, you might have to work evenings or weekends that other people don’t have to. If that puts a strain on your personal life, a good coach will be able to help you find ways to make this manageable and sustainable.

If your business coach doesn’t understand these things, they might try to say things like “you need to work only during normal office hours.” But if that’s not the reality for you, then it could reduce the effectiveness of coaching.

But if your coach understands the drivers in your life and can work with them instead of against them, they will ultimately provide much better results.

The right coach also can understand and appreciate your personal perspective on life, and why you are how you are. It’s important to be able to connect with the coach and have a deep understanding of how you are yourself personally – where your strengths and weaknesses lie – so they can work with that in ways that are inspiring and meaningful for you.

How does your potential coach make the most out of your sessions together? Are they going to be responsive and flexible to help you achieve your goals? Find out what their approach is like and see whether it fits your needs.

If you’re looking for someone to give you answers, you’re already in the wrong place. A business coach is not a teacher or a tutor, but someone who can help you learn by your own doing. As a business coach, I do not want to give you the answers; I want to be able to help you find the answers for yourself. That is how you can have a more successful business in the long term, rather than feeling the need to reach out every time you have a problem.

In this way, we will work together as a team and achieve results that will be of real benefit to your performance, saving both time and money.

Their business coaching style

There are a number of coaching styles and you may prefer one or the other. They are:

Democratic coaching

With this method, the team is expected to take ownership of their decisions and actions. The coach will only step in when necessary if there are any problems with communication or decision-making. Individuals should feel empowered by being given a voice and encouraged to give input for solutions as well.

While it can sometimes be difficult at first before seeing results, performance coaching styles like these have been shown to improve both the quality of work done on projects. It can also boost morale among employees who may not always get included during other types of meetings they might usually just sit back silently waiting for instructions from others – which isn’t necessarily productive either!

Authoritarian coaching

In this approach, the coach decides what to do and when and how to do it. All that’s required from team members is their understanding.

If you’re in a position where your employees are inexperienced or need more guidance than they can provide for themselves, then consider using this method. It can produce good results fast, because there’s little input needed on behalf of the team.

However, if discipline isn’t enforced properly by managers who employ these techniques – and clear goals aren’t set up – things may not go so well down the line as everyone settles into complacency without working hard enough anything outside of expected tasks.

Holistic coaching

When it comes to life coaching styles, holistic coaching leads the way, but it is becoming more popular with business coaches too due to being able to offer transformative change. With a belief that everything is connected, this approach theorises that individuals are a sum of all their parts: to encourage growth in the workplace and balance needs be achieved for those personal aspects.

It also gives employees an understanding of their role on your team; it can give perspective on how they fit into other sections of business, which might help them feel more engaged with work because you care enough about what happens outside of office hours too! This type looks at any blocks or repetitive behaviours negatively affecting them so there’s less chance these things will affect someone’s performance at work if managed properly early-on.

Autocratic coaching

The autocratic coach is in control at all times and strives for perfectionism and excellence, while some may expect certain tasks to be done the same way every time.

A result of this can make those being coached feel stifled by rigid rules that are meant to keep them on track but sometimes create a sense of drudgery instead.

Vision coaching

This style encourages and empowers employees by giving them clear direction and strategies for achieving objectives.

Like a personal trainer, this approach feels like a partnership that draws on feedback, reflection, and conversation to motivate people while empowering them. Although intensive with deadlines looming close-by the individualised attention given in these sessions can be very motivating – especially when driving teams to work on specific projects where they may have lost their way or focus without it!

How can you get the most out of your business coaching?

If you’ve decided to invest money in a business coach, it’s important for you focus on your goals so that you get the most out of coaching. Start with a clear goal in mind. Check that the coach understands your goal and has the skills to help you achieve it.

If you don’t have a clear goal, your coach can’t help you achieve it. For example, if you don’t have a clear goal, your coach might suggest that you should start from the beginning and create a plan of action, but if you don’t know what your goal is, how are you going to create something to achieve it?

It’s fine to set a general goal – such as “I want my business to be more profitable” – but this requires specific actions and decisions in order to be achieved. It’s better if you set a specific goal that aligns with this general goal. For example, “I want my business to be 25% more profitable than last year”. This is much easier for the coach to focus on.

Or, if you’re struggling with overwhelm, maybe you could have a clear goal that you want to make it through 3 successive days without feeling any anxiety.

What to expect from a business coach

Business Coaches walk with you through the various steps of growing your business. They guide and support you in areas of development that you may not be sure about how to deal with. They help you to look at challenges and opportunities in new ways, and they make you choose among a variety of possible options.

Business coaching can be an intensive experience, even if it is only for a limited amount of time.

It requires that you sit down regularly with your coach to talk about where you are, what’s working, what isn’t working, and what comes next. It asks probing questions to help you think through your business’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can make decisions that are right for your situation.

Popular topics to cover with your coach

Understanding how to communicate and share your thoughts with others is important. It is essential to develop good communication skills so that you are able to build meaningful relationships. Your coach will teach you strategies to improve your communication skills.

You will also be working with your coach to clarify your role and responsibilities for your business and the roles and responsibilities for other employees or partners in the business. You will learn how you can best delegate, mentor, train, develop and support others so that they understand their roles and deliver results.

You will look at what business systems work best for you and those in the business. You will also discuss strategies to deal with unexpected challenges while working towards a vision of where you want the business to be. Business coaches help people find the answers they need and provide assistance during this process.

A business coaching session usually lasts an hour or two and will take place every week or two, during the week. You’ll often start with the coach asking a quick set of open-ended questions, and your coach will then ask you to reflect on this information and choose what you’d like to focus on in order to build on insights from the session.

In addition, business coaches will often review topics that have arisen from previous sessions as well as send emails and other communications that help keep conversations current and focused.

What successful coaching looks like

Many people assume that a business coach gives advice. However, this is not how coaching is supposed to be.

A coach will ask you questions about your challenges and frustrations to come up with the best possible answer or solution for yourself. They will help guide you through the process of developing plans and goals so that you can work towards something better in your company.

A coach has expertise in making decisions which makes them an excellent choice when it comes to turning around a struggling business or finding ways of improving performance in areas where improvement is needed.

What’s the difference between a business coach and a business consultant

When choosing a business coach or business consultant you want to make sure that you consider and check where they have the most experience. Business coaches help people solve their business problems by asking interesting and difficult questions about business issues so that they can work through possible answers to get to a solution.

On the other hand, business consultants (or business mentor) analyse data, evaluate options, and provide a detailed plan or work out an implementation strategy to achieve particular outcomes.

To decide between a business coach and a business consultant, as yourself a set of questions:

  • What are you looking to achieve?
  • What’s your biggest difficulty to overcome?
  • Do you need help with thinking through options and brainstorming or do you need help with implementing plans?
  • Do you need someone who requires detailed information or someone who asks open questions that will get your own creative juices flowing.
  • What are your time frames in terms of what needs to happen and when?

A business coach works best by asking questions, listening, reflecting, challenging and identifying possible solutions. If this isn’t what you’re looking for, a consultant might be a better choice.

What’s the difference between a business coach and a life coach

Business coaching and life coaching share similar goals, but look at the circumstances differently. If you are looking for help to achieve a variety of goals in your business life, or to improve your emotional well-being in work, then you might find that business coaching will suit you better.

Life coaches tend to focus on improving your personal life quality, building confidence, and achieving your emotional and physical goals.

Both business coaches and life coaches help you to look at how to move yourself forward. They support their clients in achieving various objectives, whether they be related to work, family or other areas.

The two types of coach can both provide support in a variety of areas like work/life balance. However, business coaches would focus more on relationships at work, career development, time management and even supporting you through difficult workplace challenges such as conflict with others, or burnout.

What’s the difference between a business coach and a career coach?

A career coach helps you to explore, broaden and define your career path. They will also help you through the process of clarifying your strengths, abilities and values so that you can develop a clearer idea of what work might be a good fit for you.

Typically, a career coach will facilitate conversations with you over the course of many sessions to help identify and define what is important to you in life. They work as a sounding board for ideas and thoughts before any decision is made.

They are there to offer information so that decisions can be made based on all available options. They work with their clients together on building skills in negotiation, networking, and conflict management to be more confident when they are being interviewed.

What other types of coaches are there?

Briefly, there are other types of coaches too, including:

  • Wellness coaches; Wellness coaching comes from the idea of a life coach that focuses on your health, wellness, and your emotional well-being.
  • Holistic coaches; Holistic coaching is used to help people who are struggling with a variety of different challenges but want to live healthier lives. It looks at the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of your life.
  • Relationship coaches; Relationship coaching helps people to have better relationships with others. The coach will work with their client over an extended period of time to explore the relationship and determine what needs to be changed for it to be more effective.

Are you looking for me?

As a business coach, I work primarily with people who are overwhelmed and struggling with their businesses. I see many perfectionists, people pleasers and entrepreneurs who feel they have no option but to spend every minute of the day working. I also see people who find delegation difficult. In short, I help people get out of the way of their own success.

As a business coach, I have a particular focus on people who are struggling and feeling overwhelmed

I also look at processes within your business to ensure that you are finding the most effective path forward.

Primarily, I’m an online business coach, and I have a variety of online tools which help me to get the success that you’re trying to achieve. For me, the online platform allows for a simpler communication system, and easier time management, for both.

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