Becoming a life AND business coach is a niche that is both rewarding and lucrative. Read on to learn how to become a small business coach, how it works and three things clients will most likely need from you.
The starting point can be similar to that of life coaching.
By becoming a small business coach as well as a life coach, you are coaching the person running the show, not producing the show itself. This will often be about improving staff and supplier relationships, time issues, and learning the art of delegation.
Yet if you are considering how to become a small business coach, ideally you will have some business experience, or at the very least, done some training specific to this type of client so you have a credible understanding of the issues..
When it gets down issues such as planning, recruitment, marketing, succession or systems the coaching tips over into mentoring and consulting and you need to know what you are doing.
As a life coach for a business owner you will facilitate client in their ability to run the operation and cope with the day to day challenges and business relationships and maybe family issues and work life balance.
As a mentor you may drawn on your own business experience to assess and advice on what needs to be done with the business itself and as a consultant you may even help with the implementation.
Many coaches who have business experience and/or have the skills
to consult and mentor to business will incorporate being a business adviser into their coaching.
So if you are offering coaching for small business you need to make sure both you and the client understand the parameters and boundaries and have a written agreement on what you can and will deliver.
1. Start-ups: Often people who have been employed for many years want to embrace the perceived freedom of running their own show. They may come to you as a client wanting clarity on identifying the business and all the challenges and research discovering how to start a business involves.
As their coach you may need to help them get clear that this is really the best path for them. And then how to research the viability of what they have in mind.
You will help them with goal planning in both long and short term. You will also coach them to identify the resources and processes they will need. If you have the necessary skill you can help with a business plan or at least review and comment on what they have prepared.
2. Growth: The owner may know he is ready for expansion and growth to a new level such as taking on staff or moving to bigger premises but is in overwhelm sorting out his or her priorities.
This client needs help identifying where to start and what to delegate or outsource?
The small business coach can guide the client through the process of first acknowledging how far the business has come and then move on to setting new goals and developing plans and providing small business tips.
The E-Myth - (Why most small businesses don't work and what to do about it) by Michael Gerber, has almost become a bible for helping a solo operator get clear on where the business is going and what they need to work on.
Gerber gives invaluable advice on defining roles and responsibilities and preparing a job description for taking on staff.
3. Stagnation: Maybe the business has been going for a few years and has gone "stale" or is no longer inspiring or profitable.
You may be called in to help trouble-shoot when things are off track.
The owner may want the you to help them in the process of discovering the underlying reasons for the problems and then putting solutions in place.
This could involve such things as guiding the client through a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) or coaching them in How and When to Delegate. It could also be about reviewing the vision and mission of the company and the best marketing strategies.
If your interest is in coaching small business owners, take a look at the Small Business Coaching Kit with 31 helpful tools and templates created by my colleague and coach Emma Louise of the Coaching Tools Company.
As well as templates for business coaching which you can personally adapt and brand for your coaching practice The Coaching Tools Company has templates and forms for everything from a time saving Welcome Pack to helpful aids for Life, Career and Time Management. If you don't want the full kits, many of them can be purchased separately.
These days it is quite possible to do small business coaching for clients who are not in your city or state without ever having physically visited the business.
Your intake conversation and questions with the business owner will reveal what the challenges are and you can be sent any relevant plans, job descriptions, work/life balance and so on for discussion.
The limitation is that you don't get a chance to actually see the premises or meet the owner and staff and pick up on any issues that may not have considered as being important.
Having said that,below is an example of what can be achieved with a business owner who is not local and is coached by phone, Skype or some other platform. This client was in another state and we never met and I never visited.
Finally I must emphasise again that, if you are thinking of becoming a life and small business coach, in my opinion, you need to have had some actual hands-on experience owning or managing a business or at least have undertaken some specific coach training in that area.
An MBA or some training as a business coach is good but generally not enough. Without actual small business experience it is difficult understand and authentically guide the small business client through the myriad of challenges and choices they face.
And if you are still puzzling over how to choose your coaching specialty you can read more about choosing and marketing your coaching niche including some great advice from a niche marketing expert Cindy Schulson. And be sure to see the information in life coaching jobs and opportunities.