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What is business coaching?

Business Coaching

6 min read

Business coaching has become a common and important practice for CEOs and business owners who want to advance themselves and their companies. Still, many business leaders don’t truly understand what coaching actually is. In short, business coaching is a collaborative relationship between a business owner or CEO and a professional business coach, aimed at strategically developing a successful company. And what does a business coach do? A coach’s role—generally, but particularly as we see it at EMyth—is to help you design a vision for your business that aligns with your values and the goals you have for your life. With that vision in hand, business coaches provide you with the guidance, support and accountability you need to set and move through your goals, allowing you to take your business from where it is to where you want it to be.

Why business coaching?

Hiring a business coach is not hiring a low-touch advisor or an industry-specific consultant to come in and fix your business. And there are a lot of people out there calling themselves business coaches who don't have any real professional accreditations or associations. It can be hard to know who to trust—not simply when it comes to their methodology or the quality of their training, but also in terms of their approach to business and life in general. Working with a professional business coach is a deeply personal engagement. And on some level, you’re buying who they are and why they do what they do.

Since 1977 when our founder Michael E. Gerber founded modern business coaching, we’ve helped tens of thousands of owners transform their businesses with our unique and proven approach. We know what it takes: a trusted partnership and a strategic roadmap that works to systematize every area of your business. 

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What are the benefits of business coaching?

Here’s what you should expect from a business coaching experience: 

A trusted partnership

A great business coach has curiosity and courage in equal measure. They use their curiosity to look at every corner of your business to find the root cause for why things are stuck or stagnating. A great coach asks the right questions in the right moments—something they can only do if they have the training and experience. And a great business coach has the courage to be honest with you: They understand that you need to hear the truth (even if it stings a bit), or have you pause and reflect before you jump into action.

If your business coach can bring these elements of your work together, you'll become a better leader. You'll see the impact in your business—in the way your business starts to stabilize, grow, and get closer and closer to your vision. You’ll see the impact in how your employees show up to work. And, you’ll see the impact in your bottom line, in your customer retention and in how your work changes within the business.

Curiosity and courage from your coach

A great business coach has curiosity and courage in equal measure. They use their curiosity to look at every corner of your business to find the root cause for why things are stuck or stagnating. A great coach asks the right questions in the right moments—something they can only do if they have the training and experience. And a great business coach has the courage to be honest with you: They understand that you need to hear the truth (even if it stings a bit), or have you pause and reflect before you jump into action.

If your business coach can bring these elements of your work together, you'll become a better leader. You'll see the impact in your business—in the way your business starts to stabilize, grow, and get closer and closer to your vision. You’ll see the impact in how your employees show up to work. And, you’ll see the impact in your bottom line, in your customer retention and in how your work changes within the business.

A clear roadmap

Through professional business coaching, your objective is to build a successful business with intention. To do that, you need a structured program to follow. If your coach doesn’t offer a plan for how to help you build each of the systems and strategies you and your business need—and the order in which you should develop them—you’re likely to create some critical system gaps in your business. A good coach has a proven program that they stand behind and are prepared to implement.

A focus on empowerment and independence

At EMyth, we look at coaching through the proverb, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” A great business coach knows that over time, you'll need them less and less. Their goal is to give you the right tools to put theory into practice, and to show you how to soon do for yourself what you needed their help with today—the skills to discern and diagnose what your business requires next. Like any good supportive relationship, it’s a bit of a paradox: The more they help you, the less you need them. A great coach knows this and doesn't pretend otherwise to keep their financial relationship with you intact. 

Finding a coach is a highly subjective process that depends on several factors and how much each aligns with your priorities. If you're looking a coach’s professional characteristics, here are the most important four to consider:

  • Experience, skill level and training
  • Approach and philosophy
  • Certification(s) (or lack thereof)
  • Program, curriculum or methodology they use

All of these points are important when choosing a business coach, but personal fit is really at the heart of what makes a business coach the best for you.

If you’re ready to work with a coach, we’re here to help. Or, if you already have a business coach and wonder if they’re the right fit for you, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do they meet you where you are? Do they take the time to celebrate with you, but also be there for you if something really goes wrong?
  • Do they know where you're headed? Do they have a proven map that they use to ask the right questions for your business in the specific stage it’s in? Don’t assume they have a real plan or any legitimate training just because they have the word “coach” on their business card.
  • Can they hold a long-term vision while they help you fix the problems that exist in your business today? Do they notice patterns and trends, or are they just reacting to your daily frustrations? You want wise counsel, not just quick fixes.
  • Do they make you more curious? Their way of thinking about things should be infectious—you should find yourself asking other people the kinds of questions they ask you.
  • Do they understand what coaching is? Watch out for consultants in disguise, and amateur therapists without real training or experience to guide you.
  • Do they truly hold you accountable? They should be willing to call you out if you don't show up and do the work to make real change.
  • Do they hide behind lingo, lists or tricks? It shouldn't feel complicated to translate the work you do with your coach into your business and your life—hard maybe, but never complicated or unclear.

A great business coach is a lot of things. But most importantly, they're a trusted mentor who truly cares about your success and the success of your business. They know that the two are inextricably linked, and that’s a partnership where everybody wins.
If you're ready to see what it's like to work with a professional business coach, schedule a free coaching session with us to try it out. 

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Tricia Huebner

Written by Tricia Huebner

Tricia Huebner is EMyth's VP of Coaching Emeritus. As one of the leading experts in all facets of the EMyth Approach, her 20 years of experience at EMyth included leadership roles in program development, coaching, coach training and marketing. Tricia’s commitment to helping business owners came from her own upbringing in a family of small business owners. In her time as a speaker and trainer, she addressed business audiences throughout the U.S., and internationally in Canada, Europe and Africa. Throughout her career, Tricia designed programs for the Small Business Administration and consulted with Fortune 1000 companies, and personally coached more than 200 small and mid-sized businesses, helping owners create businesses they love leading and lives they love living. She retired from EMyth in 2022 to pursue her own business within the wine industry.

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