One of the best parts of being a freelancer is the independence that comes along with it -- you’re in charge of your entire business! However with all that freedom, it’s easy to get lost along the way. If you’re feeling stuck or like your business could use a boost, this is where a business or career coach could come in hand to help guide you.
You might think that business coaches are only for successful people, but on the contrary, coaches often help small businesses or freelancers get off the ground. If you need a little guidance or just someone to act as a soundboard, it might be time to consider investing in a coach.
If you do decide to take this step in your professional career, first we want to congratulate you on making moves to scale your business. Second, we want to ensure you find the best match. Much like dating, you have to see if you and your coach would be a successful pair by asking the right questions.
What to ask before hiring a business coach
“Have your clients achieved measurable results?”
You want to start the conversation by seeing if this coach is for real and has a proven track record. There’s no reason getting further down your list of questions, if they haven’t had any results with their past clients.
If possible, it’s always best to see a case study or to read testimonials from previous or current clients. You could even ask them to connect you with one of their current clients to get a better idea of what they are like as a coach.
Remember, you want to work with someone who has gotten their clients measurable results and has the proof to back it up. Be on the lookout for this!
“What’s your business background?” or “What business skills do you have?”
There are several people who will label themselves as a “business coach”, when in reality they are more of a “life coach.” There’s nothing wrong with a life coach, but if you’re looking for a business coach specifically, you want to be sure this person has experience in the business world. Remember, you’re looking for someone who can help you level up and provide useful strategies to add value to your business.
The whole point of hiring a business coach is to have them help you with your business. If the person you’re hiring isn’t qualified in that area, then it’s a bit counterintuitive.
“How would you define business coaching?”
It’s important to ask this question because you want to be sure you’re on the same page with your potential coach. You’re looking for someone that will help you better understand yourself and your business. After each conversation with your business coach, you want to end with clear, tangible action items that you can work on. It’s great to talk things through with a coach, but if they aren’t also going to offer you tangible ways to improve your business, then it’s likely not worth your time.
When you ask this question, be sure to look out to see if they mention “a plan” for your business or “clear steps” to help you scale. If the coach mentions helping you get past your own roadblocks, that’s great, but remember, that’s only half of the equation. The other half is your business itself. Be sure your potential coach would focus on both these areas.
“What types of businesses/freelancers have you previously coached? Have you worked with a similar business to mine?”
It’s okay if the coach you’re speaking with isn’t an expert in your area of business, but you want to be sure they understand your field. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a coach who’s worked with several different types of business because they can bring more ideas and out of the box thinking to the table. However, we do encourage you to find someone who’s worked with another business similar to yours or in an adjacent field, so you know they’re comfortable with it.
“How much do you charge?”
This is an investment you’re making in your business and yourself, so it’s important to know the cost up front, like any other investment. Be sure to ask this question in the initial conversation, so you can decide if this coach realistically fits into your budget and what you’re looking for.
"How would you help me specifically?"
This is the perfect question to end with because after a 30-45 minute conversation they should have a better idea of you and your business. This is the time for them to offer up some initial ideas of how they would help you scale or improve your business.
A good coach will be able to offer guidance and a few steps to take right away. Obviously they will need to do a deeper dive into your business to give clear action items, but see if they are offering specific advice tailored to you and your business. This will help you determine if they have been listening to you and your needs during this entire conversation.
Choosing the right business coach is incredibly important and something you should consider carefully. If you can, we recommend getting a recommendation from a trusted friend or advisor.
Think of this like any other investment. Do your due diligence and make sure this is not only the right move for you and your business, but the right person as well!