At a certain point in someone’s career, they may hit a point where it can be difficult to find support, advice and even motivation from others. This is especially true for business owners across the board, from CEOs and entrepreneurs all the way to small business owners. Once you are in charge of running a business and mentoring your employees and colleagues, finding mentorship and business guidance for yourself can be hard.
That is where a business coach comes in. A business coach is an expert individual who can provide support, business advice and more to clients who are looking for assistance in clarifying and reaching their own personal and business-related goals.
But for those looking to become a coach themselves, what exactly is a business coach? And how exactly do you get started as a business coach? Below, let’s really dig into the what ifs and how-tos needed to consider to become a business coach!
A business coach is an individual who serves as a professional mentor to business owners at all different levels. They are often experienced professionals in a variety of fields who now want to work with individuals like corporate leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs and others on their business needs. Business coaches typically offer mentorship and support. They can also provide recommendations on a client’s business, such as how to achieve certain company goals.
Think of the work that business coaches do as serving equal parts professional guide and accountability partner. A business coach:
As a coach, you set out to build a trusted partnership between yourself and your clients where you will take a close look at their business and ask the questions that need to be asked. And while you’re building those partnerships, you’re also building up your own business that will allow you to continue to grow.
Both personally and professionally, your work as a business coach can offer you a number of substantial benefits—from the time you start your coach certification through to when you’re an established coach. Some of the key benefits you’ll see working as a business coach include:
For those of you curious about how to get started as a business coach, here are a few ways to take those first steps.
As a seasoned professional, you already have a number of valuable skills, both soft and hard, to offer to your clients. Take a moment and think about what specific skills you have that could translate into business coaching. Some key skill areas that are beneficial in work as a business coach include:
These are just a few of the key skills that will help make you an excellent business coach. And while you will want to seek out professional coaching accreditation as well, understanding what you can already offer clients helps give you a solid foundation to start your business coaching journey on.
You’re asking yourself what is a business coach’s “book of business” and what does it have to do with the types of clients you’d like to work with. To put it simply, a business coach’s book of business is the different relationships they have established over time—from their clients to professional connections. A book of business will take time to build up, especially as you start out as a business coach, but it is a vital tool to your work. Working in a field where you have a lot of established connections can help you get started quickly, but either way, you’ll want to start networking early on.
And this is why defining the clients you want to work with is important. Defining your ideal clients can help you determine details like:
Remember, you can define your ideal client as tightly or as broadly as you like. It’s all about giving yourself a starting point.
While you may already have a background that sets you up strongly for working as a business coach, such as a business degree or professional experience in the industry your target clients are in, it’s also important to seek out coaching education. Coaching programs put more tools in your arsenal and give you hands-on coaching practice.
But that’s not all. They will also provide you with additional accreditation in the form of a professional coaching certification—an invaluable way to demonstrate your coaching experience. One of the most widely accepted organizations that offers coaching certifications is the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a global organization that has helped set coaching standards. They work with a number of coaching programs that are ICF-accredited.
You’ve taken the time to understand what skills you bring to the table and who your ideal clients are. You’re now ready to actually start working as a business coach!
If you decide to pursue a coaching education, you can apply the tools and skills you’ve learned to start setting up your business structure and begin taking on clients. Whether that’s part time in the beginning or you dive headfirst into full-time coaching is totally up to you. You have everything you need to begin.
But if you decide to take the DIY route, you’ll want to do a few things as you get started with your business. Be sure to educate yourself on what to expect as a coach, including brushing up on skills you’ll need, defining your ideal clients and understanding how you can best leverage your experience to serve your clients.
You’ll also want to decide on the structure of your business, such as what your client capacity will be and how you’ll handle clients. Will you work on a session-by-session basis or do you want to work on retainer? What kind of coaching plans do you want to offer clients? You’ll also be able to determine your working hours, your coaching costs and how you’ll expand your network.
And there you have it. Now you have a basic idea of the first steps needed to become a business coach, a career that can be very fulfilling. You’ll get the chance to guide other professionals as a trusted mentor, offering them access to your unique skills and insights once you’ve become certified and start taking on clients.
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