Countless methods and resources are available to help you grow your business. Courses, programs, systems, outside help, advisors, even business coaches. But should you hire a business coach? What do they do or not do? For that matter, is everyone with the title “business coach” actually a business coach?
In this episode, I share many thoughts and insights into what a true business coach does. From my own experience, I can confirm that a really great coach can bring huge value both professionally and personally. However, it is also my opinion that not every person who calls themselves a business coach really is one. That’s not to say they aren’t great at what they do, but rather to delineate between an actual business coach and someone who is more properly defined as an expert in specific aspects of business. Let’s talk about it.
“A coach says, ‘I know you know the right answer for you. And I’m going to help you discover that… But your wisdom is in there and I’m going to help you access it.’ That is coaching.” – Kris Plachy
What You’ll Learn
- What a business coach actually is
- How teaching, mentoring and advising differ from coaching
- Clarify what you’re actually needing
- Keep your coach as only yours
- How to know it’s time for a business coach
- Place boundaries around your coach search
Contact Info and Recommended Resources
Connect with Kris Plachy
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- Get FREE help for managing stress: krisplachy.com/overwhelmed
- Get How to CEO DIGITAL! This course is available for all entrepreneurs looking to increase their business mastery. Access includes weekly Q&A calls for additional help.
- CEO Immersion (aka How to CEO LIVE!)
Five full days of complete immersion during which you’ll be coached and advised, and you’ll develop every team system you need to have in place to build an amazing team. You, and your person that helps you with all this (your Ops person), will leave with everything in hand, built, documented, ALL ready to implement. It will be a week of not just learning about how to do things but having everything developed so you can implement immediately.
The week is scheduled for late August, in Scottsdale, AZ. You must be at 7 figures to join because the complexity of your team is important for this exercise.
Get on the CEO LIVE Immersion waitlist: CEOImmersion.com
Is it time to hire a business coach? Should you hire a business coach? And what the heck is a business coach? Let’s talk about it.
Hey, how are you? Thanks for joining me. This is Kris Plachy. Welcome to Leadership is Feminine. And I’m excited to talk to you about hiring a business coach. I have a lot of thoughts about it and probably even more so today than I would’ve a week ago, but man, since I recorded my last podcast, holy heck, it’s been quite a time.
So just to fill you in, because I know sometimes it’s fun to know what’s going on in people’s lives. I took a really exciting, so-couldn’t-wait vacation to Hawaii with my beautiful family. Now that my son is older, he doesn’t live at home. He lives in Southern California. And so it was so fun to be able to spend time with him and all of us together, right? I’m sure all of you can relate to that, as your kids get older, you start to kind of not be able to be together.
And anyway, it was really lovely. And we had a really fun time. We had a whole thing planned out. We flew to Hawaii on Saturday and we got there and I tested positive for COVID on Monday. So that was a big fat drag because obviously, I had to stay away from them and I felt terrible, which was awful, but I had a lot of people who were available to help me, which was really great. And so, I got on medication quickly and I felt pretty good within a few days. So, anyway long and the short, the whole vacation, I didn’t really do much, but my family had a great time.
And then we’ve also decided that we’re going to sell our house. And so we’re in the midst of all of that and showing it, which is all super fun, but I’m sure as you might understand, it’s a little bit more challenging to run a business and a life when you’re also trying to have a house that looks like nobody lives in it. So that’s why I’m recording this podcast a little differently than I normally do because all of my equipment is packed away since it’s cool-looking, but probably isn’t the best for house-showing.
But I want to talk to you today about business coaching. Holy smokes. This is actually a conversation I’ve had with my PR team. We’ve had a lot of conversations about coaching and what’s going on in the coaching industry and gosh, so many great things happening in the coaching industry. So many people involved in the coaching industry. So many more people recognizing the value and the importance of a really great coach and what that can do for you, and I certainly speak from personal experience and my own life and working with a coach. I have a coach. I don’t have a business coach. I have a personal coach and she is someone I talk to every week and she changes my life by being available to me in a way that nobody else is. And so, I’m forever grateful for that and I’m so forever grateful for coaching.
If you’ve been listening to my podcast for a while, you know that I have had an interest in and have been pursuing in my career in coaching since 1994. So, I have a lot of experience in this space. I’ve watched a lot of trends, I’ve watched a lot of people come in and out of the industry, and I’ve watched a of people call themselves coaches who are not.
So, I want to talk to you as a woman who I believe everybody needs a coach, but I don’t know that everybody really is a business coach in the way that I think you might think that they’re. So, I want to kind of pull this apart and of course, you’re getting my opinion and my advice based on my experience, which I do like to think is relatively qualified, to be honest, right? Been in this space for a long time. So, take it as you’d like.
So, first of all, what is a business coach? Well, right now, you can throw a rock and someone’s calling themselves a business coach, and we’ve got people who call themselves business coaches and they’re experts in sales, they’re experts in marketing, they’re experts in online funnel building, they’re experts in HR, they’re experts in finance, they’re experts in new client acquisition, there’s lots of business coaches. It’s a very generic term. I don’t call myself a business coach. You all will notice that. I don’t know that I ever have. I’ve had people call me their business coach. I do not call myself a business coach. I don’t think that I am. I like to think that I’m a CEO advisor and coach, which means that I focus on the CEO. I focus on the woman who runs the company and her brain and her decision making and helping her build the philosophy, the practices, the processes that help her build a team that aligns to the vision that she’s trying to build in her business.
So, I work in a very select space with my clients. And so, once we’ve mastered team together, then I do have clients who will continue their work with me in my Sage CEO program, which is then really where we’re getting into transformational coaching around who you are now, you’ve built this beautiful business, now what are you achieving? So, coaching, I want to delineate the difference between coaching, advising, mentoring, and teaching. And I’m going to start from the bottom.
So, teaching starts with a belief that says, “I know something that you don’t know. So, I’m going to teach it to you. I’m going to take what’s in my brain and put it in yours.” That is teaching. And there are elements of working with a coach that might include teaching. There are with me, right? I teach my clients the tactics for running a business. How do you write a job description? How do you have a difficult conversation? How do you set up accountability practices in your business? How do you hire someone? How do you fire someone? I teach that, okay.
Then we have mentors. A mentor is someone who has done what you want to do. So, if you want to be a speaker who attracts 50,000 people to an event, you might look for a mentor who has done that work, who can say, “Here’s my experience, come here, little mentee, let me help you.” We have lots of mentors in entrepreneurship, right? We have people who will look for a mentor who is another entrepreneur, who’s further along, who can genuinely give them their own insight from their own expertise, alright?
Then we have advisors. And advisors are sort of a combo to me, of a teacher and a mentor. These are people who have exposure to, competence in, and knowledge of whatever it is you need help with. I think of myself often as an advisor. So, what that means is even if I haven’t run a $100 million business, I have worked with enough women, I have been through enough decision-making situations with them. I know enough about the profession that I’m in, when it comes to leadership and management, that I know I can help advise you on potential decisions. And that’s what I like to think about with advice advisory. I serve up ideas. I really do. For whatever reason, I was sort of endowed with this ability to listen to something that someone’s going through and I can serve up lots of ideas of potential solutions. I can advise you, you could try this, you could try this, you could try this, you could try this. Which one would you like to choose?
So, I don’t tell people what to do. I advise them of potential ideas. And all of us benefit from advisors because sometimes you’re out of ideas. And then you work with someone else. Who’s like, no, no, no. I got 10 more, right? We don’t want to hire people who just tell us what to do, you guys. I know that’s what you crave, but it doesn’t get you replicatable results if it’s not from and of you. So someone serving you advice, and then you choosing from like a platter that’s different than someone just say, do it this way.
And then lastly, there’s coaching. So, coaching is what we do once we decide, or can’t decide how we want to go forward. Coaching is often wrapped through all of these. But the coaching philosophy, unlike teaching, which says, “I know something and you don’t know it, I’ll give it to you.” And a mentor who says, “I’ve done something and you haven’t done it. So, I’m going to show you” and advisor who says, “I’ve had all this exposure. I have all these ideas. I will offer them to you.”
A coach says, “I know, you know the right answer for you, and I’m going to help you discover that. I don’t know what’s right for you. I know that you know, but right now you can’t find it, right now, you feel lost, right now, you feel confused, but your wisdom is in there and I’m going to help you access it.” That is coaching.
There is a very select few of people who really do that work. Most people are calling themselves business coaches, but they’re really just telling you what to do. And they’re not holistic. They’re only doing it in one way: with sales, with marketing, with content, with this, with that, with finance, it’s very, very finite, they’re not well versed. Does that make them bad to hire? No, not at all. But the general term of business coaching is exactly that, it’s too general.
So, before you say, I need a business coach, I really want you to get clear about what you are actually asking for, right? So, if you came to me and said, “Kris, I really need someone to help me write my strategic plan. Can I hire you as a business coach?” I would say, “Absolutely not. Please, don’t hire me to do that with you.” That is not something I could advance. I could help you think about why you want a strategic plan. I could help you think about all your drama, about creating a strategic plan, but I will not help you write a strategic plan, absolutely not.
So, if your brain is saying, you know what, I need help—and we’re not talking about a team member, we’re talking about someone that is outside your business, who you will leverage for your own decision making, okay? This is for you so that the business benefits, not for the entire business, I have a very strong opinion about you hiring a coach and they come in and they coach you and everybody else in it, do not do that. That compromises confidentiality. Any coach that is your coach cannot be the coach of other people in your camp, period. Don’t argue.
I’ve watched it, it’s a mess. I worked with a company years that the chief guy had a coach and he wanted that coach to coach all his directs. And all that coach did was go back to the chief guy and tell him everything this coach found out, and it was poorly handled. It was so bad. It’s just too tempting. Everybody, needs their own coach. Now you can hire the same company that has different coaches in it, but do not have the person who coaches you, coach your team, okay? All right.
Coming back to business coaching. So, if you are considering, yes, I need some additional insight. What is it that you need? Do you need to learn something? Now as an entrepreneur, I would caution you that you are always the one learning everything and then trying to hire someone to do it. Be careful because a lot of business coaches call them business subs, business coaches, and all they’re really doing is selling you content or a program.
You may want that, but be really clear about what you’re doing. Do you want to go and like learn something and then have to do it, right? Like, if I want to hire someone, if I want to coach, if I want somebody to help me with my marketing, I don’t want to go sit in a class and learn how to drive traffic to my site. I want to understand the decision-making process that I should be going through hire someone and then execute on an exceptional marketing plan. Not that I need to learn keywords and driving people to my site. You follow?
So, first, get clear. Like where is your area of expertise and where do you have gaps? When you say business coach, what is the goal? Do you want to make more money in your business? Do you want to increase your profit in your business? Do you want to generate more leads in your business? Do you want to improve the team dynamic, the hiring, the culture of your business? Do you want to feel better as a CEO, as a business owner? Do you want to feel more competent, more capable, more resilient? What do you want to achieve by hiring someone? This is not an inexpensive investment.
Now I know how much it pays off to hire. And I know that what we do in our work is relatively extraordinary and that’s because of the depth of leadership experience that my team and I possess that we can help you with any team issue. And we, also, because myself and Michelle, we are master coaches. So, we know you’re a human so we can help you think about who am I becoming? What in my life? What am I doing? I built this business, now what?
Before you go out in the world and you start getting lost in the world of business coaching, because that’s probably what you’ve done, is you’ve Googled it. Let’s just get really clear. What do you need? What do you think you need? Do you want? What do you want to want? Who are you in the process of becoming? And if you ask yourself that, what does she need to run—If you’re running a million-dollar business to run a $20 million business, what does she need?
Maybe you need a life coach, someone who really will just help you figure out you. Maybe you need an accountability coach. You know what you want to do, you’re just struggling to meet those deadlines, to meet your own commitments. Maybe you really do need someone who will work with you to put together a strategy to 10X your business. Maybe you do need someone like what we do to build the team you’ve gotten. As far as you can with the team, you have and you’ve got to grow it. You’ve got to change it. You also want to be careful, because a lot of people, I think use the word business coaches, but they’re kind of tacticians. They do stuff for you. A coach doesn’t do stuff for you. A coach helps you get stuff done. A coach helps you think differently about what you want to achieve. An advisor does the same. They don’t do things.
So, if you are in a relationship with someone who says, they’re a business coach, but they’re executing your marketing strategy, they’re not a coach. They’re a tactician in your business. And I think a lot of people confuse that so then other people can hire coaches kind of like me. And they think like, “Are you going to write my job descriptions?” “No, I’m not writing your job descriptions. I will teach you. I will advise you through the process and I will coach you on your brain when you tell me that you hate this, because I know it’s not any fun, but no, I don’t write your job descriptions for you.” So you have to be really, really clear that the coaches are for you to help you be better in your role to help your business perform better in its role in the world.
And then how do you know if now’s the time? And I do believe that we know it’s time to hire a coach and an advisor when we are chasing our tail. When you keep wrangling the same challenges, you know it’s time. You need fresh thinking, fresh perspective, fresh questions, fresh support. I know you know what I’m talking about. You keep encountering the same issue just different day, different time.
To me, that is when you raise your hand and you say, “Okay, this is the fifth year in the row. I haven’t paid my taxes on time. I think I might need a money coach. This is the 12th time I’m in this process right now of trying to really think through how I want to up-level my messaging, my marketing and so forth. And I really anticipate that I’m going to be hiring some sort of business coach/marketing sales coach. Not for me to get better, but for me to think differently about what is possible in my business.” Because, we just get really myopic, right?
So, where is that for you? Because that’s how you know. If everything’s going along swimmingly, then you might like to have a personal coach, someone that you can work through, just things that are coming up because I’ll leave you with one final thing, your team should not be charged with coaching you. You, as a CEO, as a business owner are lone wolf, my love. I know how lonely it is to be her, to want to talk through some of the things that are going on with you. Girlfriends only get you so far, especially the ones who don’t run companies, partners only get you so far, especially if they don’t run companies, and if they’re your partner and you do a business together, you should not be coaching each other.
You absolutely should have a coach. I really, without fail, believe every single person running a business needs a coach, It’s like Brooke Castillo has said about me, right? Like, I’m her brain’s best brain keeper, like, I go into her brain just as she does into mine and we clean it up. She’s been known to say to me, “I haven’t talked to you in a while, what’s going on in there?” No longer we go without chatting. We know that like, oh God, there’s messy thoughts in there. There are things that are getting in the way. We don’t want that.
So, you know, I just think the investment of who whomever it is that you work with is invaluable, as long as the relationship with a coach is constructive, it’s healthy, it’s not built on their emotion. Coaches should not use their emotions to encourage you to work with them. It should feel clean. You should get off a call with a coach and feel inspired, excited. You know, for me, it’s like an electric feeling. You should feel heard and seen and honored, but there’s no attachment. A really good coach, you’re not attached to them. You can function perfectly without them. They add to your life and your business, they do not complete it. They do not fulfill some missing need that you have, okay? That’s not healthy.
And they are available. They have clear programmatic guidelines. You know, we have our ongoing program called The Lab. We offer four calls a week. We have lots of availability for our clients. People come, they get the support they need, they ask their questions. We give them, you know, ideas. We brainstorm, we do all the things and then everybody goes, right? I like to think that what we do is a very important part of them running a business, but we are not like the only part that makes it work. But if we build our lives around that kind of coaching relationship, that’s unhealthy, also.
Unfortunately, just as there is true in life, there are coaches who can be a little manipulative around how they encourage people to keep working with them. So, we’ll go back out, right? We got mentors, we got teachers, we got advisors and we got coaches. Your job is to get clear about where are you amazing and where do you need some help, and is that help with some mentoring, coaching, advising, teaching? Or is it with maybe just, you need to hire a team member? That’s also an option. And, who do you have that you can sort of dump your brain out and work through your own thoughts about your business, about your life, about all the things and work through those? There are different kinds of coaches for different needs wherever you are in that moment. So, should you hire a business coach, for sure? But the one that you hire is the one that I really want you to think about.
So, don’t just Google “business coach”, right? Look for specific things, marketing business coach, team. That’s what we do, right? Leadership. That’s what we do, right? That’s great! Do that! Sales coach, accountability coach, performance coach. The general business coaching, you’ve got to be careful. You actually know a lot of people who run business coach certifications. And so, this is not to disparage that, it’s just to say, if you hire them, know what they’re coaching you on. They might be a sales coach, they might be a money coach. They’re using the title, business coach, because they work with entrepreneurs. They work with leaders, but their expertise is in one very particular area. And if that’s the kind of expertise you need, then that’s who you should hire.
So, hope this was helpful? Certainly, always love to know if it is. You can please always drop a testimonial in a review and iTunes just by going right there to the bottom of your feed and picking the number of stars you’d give it and writing a few words. We always love, love, love that. And you can also send us an email. Let me know what you think So, glad you tuned in today. Have a wonderful rest of the day. We’ll talk again soon.
We have a lot of exciting changes coming up here at Kris Plachy Coaching Group. And I don’t want you to miss out. From leaving social media, to offering live interactions only to people on our email list. I want to make sure you don’t miss out. Head on over to www.krisplachy.com and drop your name and email in our little box there. And that way you’ll get all the updates well before everybody else and even updates that nobody else will know about. See you there!Download Transcript