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  • Writer's pictureAvy-Loren Cohen

How do You Know When You Need a Business Coach or Mentor?

When frustration overtakes productivity — hire a business coach!

This is a question that many entrepreneurs and business professionals alike think about on a regular basis. Many people may be shocked that people they may look up to use a business coach, mentor or consultant to help them deal with strategy, overcoming challenges, become more accountable or just having someone acting as an unbiased professional who will not be judgmental and provide them with honest feedback — but most important they seek a confidant, a sort of right hand person who will be in their corner — always watching out for their best interests.

So when is it a good time to hire a business coach or a business mentor or even a consultant? Great question! Initially, you can answer this by asking yourself what type of budget you have for this person and who is paying for this (a company and/or yourself)? The other thing you must ask yourself is after working the way you have been for some time, are you getting the results you want or expect? If the answer is not a 100% yes, then you are on the track to hire someone.

The short list of when to hire someone can be seen as the following, but I will get into the (brief) explanation below.

1- You find that you are unable to stay focused, get shit done, and move things forward.

2- You are lacking some knowledge or skills.

3- You are caught in a loop or simply — stuck.

4- You are unable to strategically expand and/or grow the business.


1- Accountability

If you are in this situation there are a variety of things you can do, but from my experience as a business consultant and executive performance coach, a lot has to do with motivation, attention, confidence, distraction and underlying issues. Using a coach may be able to delve into the underlying drivers for this behaviour, but if it is something like Attention Deficit Disorder & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD & ADHD), there is a strong likelihood that the coach will not be experienced enough or at all to help you.

If this is the case for you, it may be wise to seek out a professional therapist such as a psychologist or at least find yourself an ADD & ADHD coach. The program that will likely be needed to create would be referred to as an accountability program. What I find to be most successful in my practice is the combination of acting as an advisor, business coach, and mentor as well as a consultant. When these types of functions are combined (not commonly seen) the client’s self-esteem and motivation get a boost and the client becomes more inspired — helping them to be more driven to reach their potential.

The accountability element is where the coach and client create a program that the client will follow, keeping the client on point and better focused. The exception I have found is when I need to train and educate the client to learn how to be more effective at prioritizing, organizing, using technology to be more efficient, and how to manage people and relationships including knowing when and how to delegate or even simply say no to a request.

Creating a system as well as good habits such as using a day planner or digital planner or even a combination of this, can greatly help a person become more efficient. Saas services such as Trello, Zoho, and MyLifeOrganized are also great for planning. If you are in need of organizing appointments and do not have an assistant, I also suggest using Saas such as Calendly or Acuity Scheduling.


2- Skills / Knowledge Acquisition

Often in business, especially if you are a solo entrepreneur or a small business owner, there will come a point in time where the business has grown to a level where you are unable to move it forward. This is quite common as one person rarely knows every aspect about business, so there are limitations on how much a person can achieve on their own — hence hiring employees.

In this case, it is often quicker, easier and more cost effective to work with a business coach, as the coach will be able to educate and train you. When hiring a coach do interview the coach to be certain that the coach is, in fact, knowledgeable in the area of expertise you are seeking.

In my practice, we incorporate a unique blend of coaching, leadership, performance, business consulting, strategy and mentoring into one service. The blend of these functions benefits the client by receiving various disciplines of knowledge from one individual in a very succinct manner. If you are able to find such an individual you will end up being much more effective in both the short and long term. Having a coach help you in areas you have limited knowledge can also result in preventing the loss of time and money. A coach can provide you with forwarding thinking information, real-life experience, and knowledge that will end up saving you a lot of heartaches.


3- Unable to move forward

This is different from point two in that this is about when a person is stuck on something, a problem, a hurdle of sorts and need to work with a coach (that is hopefully very good at business strategy) who can work with the client to move past this hurdle/situation. This usually is not a long-term commitment and may end once the objectives and goals are reached for the project. This is often an intense period and is also probably more cost efficient for the client to pay the coach on a monthly retainer so as not to be hit with hourly fees that will rack up to a large amount of money. Good quality coaches usually charge somewhere around five thousand and up (USD) per month for such an arrangement.


4- Growth on a large scale

Growth is one of the most important aspects of owning, managing and building a business. Regardless if you are a founder, a C level executive, President or Vice President — profitable and sustainable growth is essential to the long-term preservation of any business — for the most part.

Many founders or even CEOs reach a level where they recognize that the company can and should grow not only faster but be able to expand such as additional product lines, territories, franchise, satellite offices, international expansion, and the likes. Hiring a consultant for this highly strategic business need would be a very cost-effective way for the client to develop a strategy to execute the growth of the company. In my case I also work alongside my clients during the execution and implementation phases included getting involved with training, hiring, working with suppliers etc. I provide this as I have found that many clients can easily understand the strategy, but implementation and execution is an art in of itself. This also helps ensure the overall success of my client while also keeping me in the loop at a closer level so when my client needs additional help, I am completely up to speed and can quickly remedy the situation.

Projects such as this are typically very involving and can last for some time, especially if you prefer to have the coach involved in the execution of the strategy. I too would consider the option of paying the coach on a retainer program as mentioned above.

I’m Avy and I provide strategic business consulting and executive coaching service to companies around the globe and in varying industries. I work with startups and founders, with public company CEOs, and I help companies and executives reach their personal and professional goals with respect and pride as we overcome hurdles together. Over the last 10 years, I’ve co-founded three companies, am presently a co-founder and COO/CSO of a tech company, invested in some early-stage startups as an Angel investor, acted as a consultant and advisor for a US-based VC firm, and mentored hundreds of individuals and startups.

I thank you for taking the time to read my article and would very much welcome your comments, your own experiences and so forth. We are all in this world of entrepreneurship and startups — it is like a family of sorts so meeting new people is always a welcomed pleasure.

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