Qualities You Need in a Business Coach

The decision to hire a business coach can be one of the most important decisions you ever make for yourself and your business. As a business owner, you will need someone to lend you some support, assistance and guidance, particularly at the most critical times in your business.

When I started one of my luxury businesses on a wing and prayer, I made many mistakes. Mistakes that could have been avoided saving myself a lot of money and pain. Yes, you can learn on your own by trial and error but there is the opportunity cost. With a business coach you minimise the errors, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel and you learn from someone who has actually done what you are trying to do which is to ultimately find the right luxury clients for your business.

In my blog post, Do you really need a business coach? I spoke about the fact that there are good and bad coaches out there and gave you some tips on how to choose your business coach wisely. When you do eventually compile a short list of coaches, these are some of the qualities you should look for:

1. Relevant Industry Experience

Has the coach worked in the industry you operate in and for how long? What have they accomplished? Can their achievements be verified? You need a business coach who has been there, done that, got bruised and still keeps swinging. A coach who is honest, insightful and helps you avoid costly mistakes.  If the business coach is a recommendation, ask the referee specific questions about any results achieved and the difference the coach has made to their business. You cannot afford to leave anything to chance.

2. A Positive Attitude

The impact of a positive attitude from your business coach cannot be overestimated. It steadies you and helps you understand that no matter how bleak things look you are capable of getting through it. All businesses have highs and lows and a positive attitude with lots of persistence and patience will ensure you get to the other side.

3. A Generosity of Spirit

Your business coach should be someone with an openness and willingness to share their knowledge and experiences with you. The good, the bad and the ugly. There should be no holding back with your business coach and you should be as frank and transparent as possible with them. You are here to get tangible results and the journey may not be the easiest but you should be rest assured that it can be done.

4. A Recognised Expert

My clients say that they love the fact that I have a rich and varied background and skillset. In fact some call me a polymath. However, I cannot be all things to all people. My speciality is running a small luxury business with a focus on luxury clients; their behaviours and psychology. Everything I have done in my career has led me to this focus and speciality. I am therefore specific in what I do and who my coaching clients are. My point is a business coach may have a wide range of experiences but their focus and specialism should be narrow and deep.

5. Availability

Availability and accessibility to your coach should be a given. However this can be a thorny issue depending on frequency of access in relation to the gravity of the issue you are dealing with. At the beginning of any business coaching programme, your coach should design a bespoke package for you that is specifically tailored to the issues you wish to address. As part of that package, you should agree on how often you will communicate and your communication mode, leaving some room for flexibility. I deliberately take on a very limited number of clients on a one to one basis at anyone time, as it is only fair that my coaching clients have my complete focus. After all, this is their livelihood we are talking about.

6. Well Networked

As the saying goes, it’s not about what you know but who you know. However in the luxury sector, it’s not just about who you know but about who knows YOU! A business coach in your specific sector may be willing to connect you with their network and open doors for you. They may be willing to make you known to a network you may not have been able to access as the support and impact of the right network cannot be overestimated.

7. Defined Expectations

A great business coach will go beyond merely asking what your expectations are. They will define the rules of engagement from the get go. They will also be open and honest enough to bring in a dose of reality with regards to what can be achieved within a certain time frame. They will also dig deep to get an idea of what you are capable of realistically achieving. Managing expectations is one of the first things I do as a coach. From experience I know that getting desirable results takes far longer than expected and it is only fair that I mention this fact.

8. A Great Teacher

We all have different learning styles, communication styles and teaching styles. I absolutely enjoy teaching and more importantly I am a lifelong learner and I don’t have a fixed mindset. I also don’t pretend to have all the answers but even if I don’t have a solution, I can always find someone who does. Your business coach should be a great teacher who builds up your self esteem and creates a safe learning environment.

9. Accountability

I will hold you to account. I repeat, I WILL hold you to account. Maybe not quite like Liam Neeson’s character in Taken but I will not let you disappear on me. Frankly some of the things you will learn from your business coach, you already know. But, your coach is the difference between knowing and doing. The fact that there is someone you are accountable to will motivate you to do the work and you will hopefully gain a friend for life.

Elizabeth Solaru is a luxury business strategist and the founder of the Luxury Business Emporium. She is a luxury business coach and strategist and can be contacted at elizabeth@luxurybusinessemporium.com