Updated: Feb 8
More and more business owners are looking for business coaching instead of business consulting to help them in their businesses. This is a very positive move for owners, as it shows that owners are interested in acquiring skills for their businesses. In some cases, consulting is also required by business owners to have someone help them uncover what is going on within the company in one or several areas. The problem with many consulting engagements is that the final report is sometimes taken and filed away, and the recommendations are never implemented. For the most part this is because skills are required within the company to do the actual implementation that do not exist. In this situation, finding out what the issue is within your business is only half of the problem; the other half is how you will resolve the issues or pain points.
Consulting is chosen by owners who are looking to have someone come in and perform work for them and are not that involved in the process. The problem with this situation is that if you need help understanding the work performed, how do you plan to keep things going after the consultant is gone? If you need help with how to proceed, adding coaching to your business consulting engagement can help.
In most cases, business coaching or facilitation can be used to perform most of the same exercises as business consulting. When a business owner chooses this route, we find the individual(s) are fully engaged and are learning not only the issue but also how to resolve it. Those owners that are engaged and have an understanding of what is going on are the most successful.
As a business owner, you are not expected to know everything about running a business, and there should not be any shame in admitting that. As the company's owner and founder, you are an expert in the products and services that your firm provides and are not expected to be an expert in all areas of your business. Even business owners with a degree or background in business sometimes need help in an area that was not their focus in school. They have been finance majors and need help with marketing or need assistance in their human resources area.
What is Business Coaching?
The goal of business coaching is to help you and your business move from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. This is based on the goals and objectives of the firm. A business coach will help push you in areas where you are not comfortable or knowledgeable and aid you in acquiring the skills to move your company forward. We utilize our methodology to deliver business coaching to help our clients meet their goals. Each business coach will have their own approach to delivery, so it is essential to understand the process for the business coach you are hiring.
Business coaching provides guidance, advice, and learnings to teach the business owner "how to fish". A business coach is there to bounce ideas off of and help you brainstorm what could work for your company. The business coach you use should have some level of experience in all areas of business and should have a high level of expertise in the areas in which you are struggling.
What Business Coaching Is Not?
We have business owners contact us who say they want to purchase business coaching until they find out the level of commitment and time required. Business coaching is not an advice hotline to ask questions weekly or biweekly. It follows a standard methodology and requires the business owner to dedicate several months to establish a path to meet one or two of your issues. The issues within your business took time to happen, so waving a magic wand will not resolve them after working with a coach for one session.
Business Coaching is also about something other than having someone tell you what to do. There is a misconception that a business coach will come in and tell you everything you need to do to solve your business issues and meet your goals. If that is the expectation, business coaching is probably not for you. A business coach is there to provide guidance and help challenge you but is not there to tell you what to do. If this is not the case, business coaching will not benefit you, as you need to learn why it is essential and be able to perform what you learned after the coaching is over.
Our business coaching engagements are at least 12 weeks (3 months) with 6 (2-hour) sessions. There is no way to solve major business issues and meet any goal within a shorter period. If a client is unwilling to dedicate that much time to working on their problems, business coaching is not the service they should choose. All of our coaching sessions are performed remotely online through Zoom. There should be at most two weeks between meetings; otherwise, momentum is lost.
The first thing we do is provide the business owner and any stakeholders involved in the coaching with a detailed questionnaire to understand strengths and weaknesses and gain valuable information about your business today and your goals for the future. We also have you submit our online business assessment and provide 2-3 years of financial information.
Once we understand where you need help, we will determine which one of our business partners should be the primary business coach assigned. Suppose the expertise of the other partner is needed during the engagement. In that case, a meeting will be arranged to address that issue with the appropriate partner.
We meet for first time with the client to provide analysis of the questionnaires and financials and develop a plan. The idea is to address the issues outlined and prioritize the topics based on their importance to the business. For a 3-month engagement, only 2-3 issues can be addressed, as most involve multiple sessions. The meetings will be developed around the issues that are hindering goals from being met. There are then 12 hours of coaching plus an introductory and follow-up meeting a month or two afterwards.
Additional months of 2 sessions can be purchased as required at any point, but it is essential first to address the initial issue(s) and take them through to fruition before moving on to the next issue. Remember that you still have a business to run while involved in business coaching. If a business owner takes on too much at a time, there is a chance that they will become overwhelmed and not be able to meet their business goals.
Each meeting will have an agenda where we will work on the issues outlined. At the end of each session, the business owner will be assigned homework to help move the issue forward and test understanding of what has been learned.
The business owner will complete the homework, and the business coach will prepare the information and materials for the next meeting. The homework is provided through email before the next session and will be reviewed at the start of the next session. The next session will only occur once homework has been done and received. The business owner is free to email their business coach to ask questions at any time during the engagement.
After the initial 12 hours of coaching, there will be a final session that is a minimum of one month up to two months following the last session. This session is to follow up to see how you are implementing what you have learned during the coaching sessions and to ensure the process is proceeding.
There is not a true standards board to regulate business coaches in Canada; as there is with Accounting, and Legal professions. For this reason, due diligence must be performed to determine what level of experience your business coach has before hiring them to help you with your business.
RK Fischer & Associates has been in business since 2010 providing business coaching and consulting to Canadian businesses, and we provide referenceable customers on our website. Our 2 Partners have 25 years of experience in management and executive-level positions within large, medium, and small businesses. One Partner is a CMA, CPA so the Chartered Professional Accounting Association of Ontario governs our practice.
Before you choose business consulting or business coaching for your business, be sure you can understand the differences. Determine if you are more suited for business coaching or business consulting. If you do not want to learn how to do the work yourself or do not have the time to dedicate, business coaching may not be for you. If you are looking for advice or for someone to tell you what to do, there may be a better fit than business coaching. We provide Advisory Services, which you can purchase when needed.
If you are interested in business coaching, set up a free 30-minute consultation which you can book directly from our booking site and find out whether business coaching or consulting is best for your business.