Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a business coach? Do you think that advising and teaching entrepreneurs could be a good career for you?
If so, this tutorial can help you find out if business coaching is a viable option. We cover what it means to be a business coach, the ins and outs of the industry, and what it takes to break into and succeed in this field.
What is Business Coaching?
A business coach is a person who provides dedicated assistance to an entrepreneur, usually in a small to medium-sized business. Best business coaches can serve as a sounding board for ideas, a strategic planner, or an accounting partner. They can even be more active consultants helping to solve specific problems. Usually, however, the business coach acts more like a trusted advisor.
A survey by The Alternative Board (TAB), a business coaching group, found that when it comes to advisors for business matters, 31 percent of business owners trust business owners, while 24 percent trust a business coach. Employees, lawyers, and friends rank much lower on the list. Clearly, business coaches are one of the first trusted people entrepreneurs turn to when they need help.
Aside from the impact business coaches have on their clients, there are many other reasons professionals are drawn to becoming business coaches:
- Good hourly rates. According to a 2014 Sherpa Coaching industry survey, business coaches have an average hourly rate of $242. In the aforementioned TAB survey, on the other hand, respondents said they were willing to pay an average of $132 per hour for business coaches. While executive training figures are a bit higher, business training income can be increased by teaching seminars or selling books and courses.
- Location Independence. Many business coaches can conduct their coaching calls online, via video conference, or over the phone. While having in-person sessions with your clients could be helpful, they can get a lot done just by telecommuting.
- Varied projects. Since business coaches will be working with SMEs, the previous Sherpa Coaching survey found that business coaches typically have an average of 5 clients; coaches often juggle a variety of projects with different companies. This prevents the work from becoming monotonous at one point, especially if some clients have hired you to solve growth problems, while others have hired you to improve their leadership skills.
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There are some downsides to becoming a business coach, however, including the following:
- Time consuming marketing. One drawback to becoming a business coach is that, in practice, you are likely to spend more time marketing than coaching. According to Sherpa Consulting’s 2012 survey, “When asked how much of their time they spend training, the majority of business trainers (52%) spend less than two days week training.” To minimize the time and effort spent on marketing, it’s best to have a narrow focus where you only focus on the essentials that bring results.
- Projects are difficult to define. Working on a variety of projects can be a plus, but it comes with its own costs. Project scope can be more difficult to define, especially if your client is on an open deal with you, with recurring sessions for the foreseeable future. This means that there are no standard processes, even though 45% of business coaches see a need for them.
If you find that the above challenges are non-negotiable for you, then perhaps business training might not be the right path for you. But, if you’re excited about the initial work to market your services and prosper while working on projects with undefined scopes, then it’s a field that’s likely to be a good fit for you if you fit the bill.