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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
The starting point can be similar to that of life coaching.
As a small business coach as well as a life coach, you are coaching the person running the show, rather than running 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 can tip over into mentoring and consulting so you need to have the skills and experience to honestly serve the client..
As a coach for a business owner you will facilitate client in their confidence and ability to run the operation and cope with the day to day challenges and business relationships and maybe even 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 give specific advice and help with implementation.
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.
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 what starting 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.
The owner may know he is ready for expansion and growth to a new level such as taking on staff, succession or even moving to bigger premises but is in overwhelm sorting out his or her priorities and planning actions.
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 to build their confidence and then move on to setting new goals, developing plans and even providing small business tips.
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 the business seems to have gone 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 the possibilities and advantages of delegation and outsourcing.
It could also be about reviewing the goals, vision and mission of the company, ramping up the website and updating the marketing strategies.
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.
I received this testimonial from a client I never met, who was in another state. You can read the story of this client's coaching as well as other small business case studies from my files here.
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 small business coaching.
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.