Hiring a business or life coach is a big investment of your money and time. And it’s perfectly normal to feel concerned about taking the plunge and hiring a coach

I know because I’ve just been through this myself. In the last few months I’ve been looking to work with a mentor/coach to help me take my business to the next level.

I wanted to work with someone who was more than a ‘tea and sympathy’ coach but who could also give me practical business skills and mentoring.

Since qualifying as a coach myself I’ve worked with quite a few coaches and mentors over the last fifteen years. There have been times when I’ve tried to figure it out by myself and trundled along. Painfully slow and then only to find out there was a better, quicker way and that I’ve missed a trick.

One thing I’ve learnt time and time again is that when I’m at a growth point in my business or stuck with a personal block it’s a lot faster, quicker and better to work with the right coach. The return is nearly always greater than my investment. I say nearly because there have been two misses where the experience hasn’t worked out. Even so there’s always been something to learn.

My perfect coach

My superstar coaches have been high in emotional intelligence, intuitive, have practical business knowledge in an area I’m focusing on and offer hands on help. Not overly aggressive in how they sell (more on pushy sales later), straight talking, nurturing with a sense of fun. The ones that didn’t work out for me were too pragmatic, self-centred and aggressive.

Instead of building my confidence they had the reverse effect. I am tough enough on myself and more than happy to be held accountable and pushed out of my comfort zone but not in a patronising or talked down to way.

In fact my ideal business mentor/coach has a similar energy and style to how I mentor and coach.

Lots of great free advice

There’s information overload with ‘how to’ free webinars and events. And if you’re willing to spend time putting the work in and be open to a lot of ‘hit’ and ‘miss’ it’s possible to work out it out. In fact even if you are working with a coach there will be some areas where you’ll still need to figure it out yourself. But if you’re feeling stuck, clueless, coasting, overwhelmed, procrastinating then hiring right coach/mentor could be the solution.

Here are 5 of the most common concerns I hear from people who are thinking of working with a coach – and the advice I offer.

Isn’t a coach just a substitute for a good friend?

If you’re lucky friends and family can be an amazing support system. But they see you through a pre-judged biased lens. Based wholly on their emotional investment in your relationship and the dynamics of your bond.

Subconsciously friends and family most likely don’t want you to change too much as it would affect the relationship. How would your best friend really feel if you became a multi-millionaire?

They will have pre-judgements about you and their advice will never be 100% impartial. Even with my fourteen years of experience I have learnt the hard way never to coach family and friends – it just doesn’t work.

I can coach myself by reading lots of personal development books 

As a reformed self-help book junkie I have read many that have been life changing. A great book will tweak your self-development and take you forward. I remember a friend who broke her bad boyfriend cycle overnight by reading, ‘He’s just not that into you’, Behrendt and Tuccillo. The problem is she broke the cycle but has never dated since. Which takes me to the next point.

But what happens when you hit an unconscious emotional block or a fear? Or hit a wall leaving you with self-doubt? Or need some feedback or want to brainstorm some ideas? That’s where the coach will step in and keep you moving forward, supporting you to reach your dream goals.

I need more than ‘tea and sympathy’ coaching

I agree. There are different types of coaches out there. I’m a practical person and like to get results fast so always work with coaches that are mentors too. My first amazing coach while I was still working in Tech but was figuring out my exit strategy in 2004 was an ex-journalist. The reason I chose to work with her was because I also wanted to learn about pitching myself to the press and build relationships with journalists. It worked!

How much should I pay for a coach?

I don’t believe in getting into huge amounts of debt to work with a coach. There are lots of people who have taken eye watering loans to work with high flying coaches and been very successful. But that’s a call you make.

Coaches can charge anything between £125 per session to £25,000 per day. It depends on where you are on your journey. If you want to play big then does it make sense to hire a coach who is playing small?

My rule of thumb is that the amount you pay for your coach should make your belly flip with a mix of excitement and some nervousness. Change never comes from living life in the safe zone. You have to take a leap of faith.

Personally, I hate being sold to and it’s a turn off. As I worked around sales in my Tech career I know all the tricks of getting a client to say ‘yes’. One of the coaches I decided to say ‘no’ to was charging an eye watering amount – enough to replace my old sporty Celica or take several 5 star holidays in one year. It was when she suggested I was obviously not ready to “Play big” that her desperation made me feel very uncomfortable. Actually, it wasn’t the amount I was saying to ‘No’ to but her approach had made me lose trust.

Another check before you hire someone is to see if you can see them in action. I run very affordable workshops and regular free webinars. Word of mouth is great too but coaching is so personal that someone who suits your friend may not work for you.

Most coaches will do a free getting to know you call. Having said that the coach I signed up to recently didn’t but I’d seen her speak and and she felt just right for me.

I don’t feel comfortable sharing my personal life with a coach

You don’t have to share anything about your personal life you don’t want to. But in my experience if you are working with the right coach the desire to want to open up will naturally surface in your own time. Even so what you share is up to you. Coaching is a safe place to show up with our fears and vulnerabilities and work on them so you can live the life of your dreams. Coming from a place of strength.

Email me: salma@salmashah.com if you are interested in a ‘getting to know you coaching call’. 

 

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