Business coaches… what and who are they?
- What support and benefit can a business coach truly provide to increase the success of your business?
- How could one help you develop as an entrepreneur and person?
- Why even bother to hire a coach?
I answer these questions by sharing my experience of having a business coach combined within a mastermind group.
My story unpacks the layered services, events, benefits, and results of a business coach to help you make the decision if it’s what you need right now.[clickToTweet tweet=”Hiring a #businesscoach could be the best decision you ever make. #businessmentor” quote=”Hiring a business coach could be the best decision you ever make. “]
In the summer of 2014, I was accepted into Nathalie Lussier’s mastermind group, Daring Business Cultivator.
Together with 10 other business women, we started on a remarkable nine month journey that included illuminating light bulb moments, fears exposed, tears shed, and personal and business relationships changing forever.
Our transformations from the mastermind was pivotal in our individual lives. It was messy, dynamic, scary, and game changing.
In addition to sharing how the relationship between Nathalie and I developed and the services she provided, I show how a mastermind group became a significant extension of Nathalie’s help in ways I never imagined.
The main reason I decided to hire a business coach is I wanted sound strategies to advance my business. Period.
I was becoming increasingly tired of:
- patching together free advice from multiple blogs and free webinars
- following the strategies of so many strangers
- reading copious literature on business strategies
- buying useless apps to add to my online site
- trying new strategies every 2 days with no results
- taking dead end courses
- being confused with my decisions
- having no formed game plan past 3 months
- burning out and getting no where
I simply wanted a someone who was successful in her business to help me build mine.
I had only been in the online entrepreneurial world for about a year and a half when I joined Nathalie’s group.
While I had been in business the previous three years, I had only dealt with local clients, and I wanted to reach out to a bigger and virtual market as an added revenue stream to my company.
But I was COMPLETELY overwhelmed with this new world!
At that point, I was 53 and a seasoned educational professional and former accountant and had completed three degrees (back to back) by the age of 49.
I knew how to work.
But this crazy online world perplexed me.
I simply didn’t want to waste any more time, money, or sanity. So I took the leap and found a reliable and impressive business coach.
The Coaching Process
Usually, people look for and hire a business coach to work solely with her. The mastermind group I joined came with a coach and one I wanted to work with. Both venues are available to you.[clickToTweet tweet=”Do you know what can a #businesscoach do for you? Here’s the skinny. ” quote=”Do you know what can a business coach do for you? Here’s the skinny. “]
Here is a typical model of a business coach’s work and relationship with an entrepreneurial client.
Stage 1 & 2: Vision & Goal Setting
Stage 1 and 2 are pretty easy and exciting to complete when guided by a professional coach. He has the business experience and success to draw on and has studied models of business strategies and performance improvement.
Nathalie helped me define where I was and where I wanted to go. She saw the value of me and my company, and put it into context of a bustling online entrepreneurial field. She could see where I had the potential to fit in nicely.
We quickly agreed where I needed to go and some key goals were determined.
Stage 3: The Messy Stuff
Here is where the real work starts—dealing with reality.
The reality of:
- who I truly was
- my strengths
- my weaknesses
- the fears and blocks
- my challenges
- skill upgrades
- learning my real value
- my ego
- my perceived status
- sense of entitlement
- old wounds
- unformed self-image
- trust, oh the trust
This work completely caught me off guard. I mean, I’m an accountant and have gone through business education via college.
And that is sort of what I expected… business education.
Not a mirror held up to me.
Not rummaging through my trenches and mending holes.
But I came to learn that entrepreneurship is about the person—me—being real and providing the best services I can. It’s human work. It’s personal.
This uncovering of my blocks could not have happened without the tight, safe circle of mastermind women (my sistas!) looking at me, asking me questions, focusing on my words, watching my actions, tossing back ideas (unthought-of ideas), holding me in fear and trusting I would figure it out.
And I did.
But not before I got mad, scared, and confused. Not before pushing back.
In time, I lost my stiff academic persona. I became more me and filtered that into my company.
I rebranded myself.
I started a whole new website and online presence, and I hired a team.
Basically, I put on my big girl panties and stepped up to the plate.
I reached and stretched to offer more of me and higher valued products and services, all the while guided by my capable and wise (and much younger) business coach and supported by my sistas.
During the in-person retreats, Nathalie picked up the pieces and held the energy during the hot seat sessions where everyone in the group focused and probed what I was doing and going to do. They made me accountable.
And afterward back in my cozy home, alone and staring at the computer, I cherished those private monthly calls with Nathalie, the coach in my corner. She talked me through what happened, where I needed to go, and then laid down the exact strategies I should take.
It was like an elixir and helped settle my swirling mind.
And I listened to my mastermind peers because they did the work, too. The synergy, energy, and support were unexpected. It became an accountability game and I wanted to play in it, not hide.
That’s the winning choice, by the way.
Stage 4: Apply It
Next came the test—applying the strategies. Actually doing the work!
And here are some of the kazillion questions Nathalie would answer in our online group forum and private calls as we tested the waters in our businesses with new strategies:
- What should “it (pick an item) look like?
- Where can I buy it?
- What service/product can support this?
- What are successful application steps?
- What do I need to do or outsource?
- What can I expect?
- What are the pros and cons?
- How do I interpret the results?
- What’s the latest trend?
And she answered ALL our questions. We learned from each other. I learned new ideas, applications, strategies and even needs I didn’t know about by listening to the questions the others asked.
We grew together, we shared, we learned.
Stage 5: Analyze It
“Argh, so little webinar sign ups. Now what?” was a common annexed question.
“I can’t seem to break the money block” was an underlying issue.
“My husband just won’t support me in what I’m doing” was a surprising cry.
“The money just isn’t there to take that next leap” was a usual problem.
“I am not getting the website traffic I need” was a complex matter.
“I got rid of my lousy business partner” was an immense win.
“I landed a superstar client” was the best outcome.
“I am almost reaching my business goals” was inspirational.
“Wow, my conversion rate is way better” was the icing on the cake.
We learned how to collect data and other information to analyze and compare it to our weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual goals.
We learned what the numbers meant, what to track, and shoot for. It was real-life business school.
And we learned strategies for reaching those goals, customized to our style, our heart. Ways that would sit well with us.
It was a start on the best road, distant road, I knew would carry me and my business in the right direction for a long time.
I had a solid foundation to mire through the crazy, perplexing online business world.
The package cost $16,000 plus extra expenses for traveling to 3 live retreats in New York, San Diego, and Costa Rica.
In total, I estimate I spent $25,000 USD to participate in this mastermind and coaching group.
The value-added benefits were:
- 9 private monthly calls with Nathalie for one hour; answers submitted beforehand; recorded
- Daily posts and exchanges in a private Facebook and Google group (for longer entries)
- 3 live retreats with 3 days of scheduled events, teachings, and connections with Nathalie
- 10 women providing each other with sound feedback, suggestions, inspiration, wisdom, and hugs
- Free tickets to Off The Chart, a 3-day event loaded with business advice and networking
- Promotion of our business through Nathalie’s expansive network
- Access to her tutorials on every topic imaginable for an online business
- A loving team in your corner for 10 months
Benefits and Results
The Right Strategies
For me, the best was working with someone from the trenches who had experienced (both good and bad) a variety of strategies for an online business.
Think about it—how many spinning plates are there in an online business? It’s mind boggling.
You have to deal with the following areas:
- List building
- Website design
- Website maintenance
- Online security
- Blog production
- Social media
- Product development
- Service development
- Customer Service
- Idea generation
- Data analysis
- … and it goes on
I tried to handle all this myself and not well. With a coach, I learned the best approach to these areas of my business so that when I outsourced them I knew what to request and expect from those service providers.
Or, if I produced these services, I knew the strategy to apply and test.
Here are my results 8 months after completing the mastermind and coaching journey.
- My list has tripled
- My income has more than doubled
- My team consists of many outsourced partners (brand strategist, web designer, graphic designer, social media manager, operations manager, bookkeeper, tax accountant and lawyer)
- I’ve upgraded to more a sophisticated website, membership site and marketing software
- My client projects to create e-courses are booked out for 6+ months
- My course design fees have increased
- My followers are increasing
- My reputation proceeds me
I know I would still be walking around in circles trying to figure out how to improve my business. Having Nathalie and my sistas has given me the motivation, courage, answers, and advice I needed to move forward.
Finding a Coach
My #1 tip for finding a coach—choose a top performing coach within your budget.
Only consider a coach if they are well qualified. I mean, look at the commitment, money, changes, and emotions you will experience when engaging in a coaching program. You need to feel complete trust, faith, and comfort with this person.
There are many business coaches promoting their services (you can’t swing a cat without hitting one). Here are some steps you should conduct over one or two months to do your homework.
Finding Coaching Candidates
- Notice who is promoting their business coaching services in your circles/networks
- Ask others who they might have used
- Search blogs of successful business people that mention their former business coach
- Check out working with Danny Iny
Be a Sleuth
- Check out their website, social media post, and other web-based displays
- Review their credentials, years as a coach, and stated coaching methods
- Look at their results (number of clients, client results, testimonials, etc.)
- Study their services (what they provide, costs, for how long, support materials, etc.)
- Determine if they work solo or within a group/mastermind setting
- Pick 3 coaches that resonate with you (or you might already be following)
Look For Extra Perks
- Find out if they offer extra bonuses, such as their book or access to more materials or events
- Check if there is a community of business owners you can join as added support
- Finally, determine if there’s an application process and waiting time
Are you really ready for this?
Once you have narrowed down one or two great coaches that excel in the categories mentioned above, determine your commitment to acquire this service and willingness to go the distance. You are a bit part of your success.
In the End
Overall, I encourage you to find a coach or a coach/mastermind combination as it WILL be the best investment (not cost) you can make for your business.[clickToTweet tweet=”No one can do it alone, so reach out. #businesscoach #mentor” quote=”No one can do it alone, so reach out.”]
Think of the dreams for your business and know that there is someone significant out there who can help you reach them.
Now that you’ve seen the inside of a coaching experience, you know what to expect.
Your turn. Any questions about my experience or have your own to share? Ask in the comments below!