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15th July, 2019

How to think about the value of a business coach

The value of a business coach can be calculated in a number of ways, but for most, the contributions of an experienced business coach are invaluable, writes Marnie LeFevre.

I can think of a lot of reasons to hire a business coach. Two heads are better than one (especially when one of those heads has experience and wisdom where the other may struggle). The coach is a seasoned sounding board, who has been involved in similar situations and who has a wider, more neutral view of the challenges at hand.

A business coach gives the business owner or manager someone to be accountable to. Someone who will hold them to their promises and make sure they follow every task through to completion.

A coach will also hold your hand while you step outside your comfort zone, so it’s not quite as scary as if you were all alone.

And what I think might be the most valuable thing a coach brings to business: unbiased feedback. You might have a friend who’s knowledgeable in business, or sales, or cost management. But will they be completely honest with you? Will they put the business first, even if they might hurt your feelings? They might be a nice person, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to help your business.


Contributions of a business coach, by the numbers


According to Metrix Global, business coaching results in an average 529 percent ROI — and if you include factors that might not typically be measured, like employee retention, that ROI skyrockets to 788 percent.

And Hay Group tells us that at any given time, 25-40 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using an executive business coach. Those businesses have experienced an extraordinary level of success, and still see the need for coaching in order to facilitate continued growth. So what should that say for smaller companies that are still feeling their way around the market?

I find that a lot of business owners find themselves searching for a mentor, when what they really need is a coach.

A mentor is someone they lean on for the long-term; someone who is by their side from start-up to final sale. That mentor may have valuable advice, but there will be a lack of intensity.

Coaching is all about getting notable results in a short period of time (6-12 months). A mentor usually only steps in to help you over the occasional bump in the road.

The best time to hire a business coach is when you have a clear picture of the business you will create.

Of course, a business coach can be brought in during times of transition and growth, but sooner is better than later — unless you do not yet have a clear idea of what your business will be, where you intend to go with it, or whom it will serve.

It’s important to remember that a business coach’s job isn’t to help you develop your business idea. Their job is to help you achieve the business vision you’re already passionate about.

In a survey by Harvard Business Review, business coaches were asked about the most common reasons they were hired. 48 percent were brought on to smooth out transition or develop potential. 26 percent were idea sounding boards. And 12 percent were needed to address derailing behaviours within an organisation.

When those same coaches talked about finding the coach who’s best for you, they placed the most importance on the experience that coach has in a similar setting. They also thought that clear methodology, the quality of the coach’s client list, and the ability to measure the ROI of their work were up there, along with positive chemistry between the coach and the client.


Beyond the stats: Business coaches enhance diversity


Great business coaches come from all types of backgrounds, and work in all types of different niches. But some have a noted advantage: they have a balance of both male and female traits.

Many female coaches, in particular, have been working for years in a heavily masculine paradigm, and understand what is required from that perspective.

In addition, they have firsthand experience with the unique challenges women business owners face. For that reason, a woman in business, specifically, can benefit from having a female business coach. She ‘gets it’. She knows what’s going to be required in order to not only gain respect but to tap into the overwhelmingly female marketplace.

Eighty-three percent of spending influencers are women, meaning that they’re making the majority of buying decisions, either up-front or behind-the-scenes. So essentially, most of us are marketing to women. That makes female viewpoints, and the help of a female coach, more important than ever.

And that’s what Fempire is doing: tapping into feminine leadership traits to gain access to areas that may have been overlooked in the past. The majority of our female business owner clients have noted that after hiring a female business coach (or a coach who is in touch with female leadership traits), their target markets are more receptive, more loyal — largely because they feel understood, and that they’re part of a community.

When we talk about female leadership in business coaching, that doesn’t necessarily mean a female coach is the best coach for everyone.

What we do mean when we say “The Future is Female” is that we’re moving toward a more balanced masculine/feminine energy in all business coaching scenarios. The leaders in this movement are bound to be women, with the goal being that every coach — regardless of whether they’re male or female — learns to access the female side of their brain, so they can provide more objective, comprehensive and empathetic coaching.

Traditionally, male coaches have brought strategic thinking and technical expertise to the table — both of which have proven essential to exceptional business growth.

But today’s consumers are demanding more. They want the companies they do business with to authentically empathise with their problems, and to promote a connected, community-centred experience.

This is the shift that nearly every market is experiencing, meaning that practically every business on earth will need to expand in areas like self-development, resilience, integrity, inclusion, relationship-building and community if they wish to compete.

Every business should be asking itself, at this moment, what it’s doing to balance its yin with its yang. What kind of coach will be the best choice for making that happen?

The answer is female, and that’s what will drive our global economy forward.

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