As a business coach for over twenty five years, I can say with great certainty that this is a topic that I feel very passionate about. I have on boarded clients that had great potential and an amazing product, yet they struggled with how best to use and leverage a business coach to grow their business. And in other cases, I have helped companies that may not have had such a strong product offering or foundation grow exponentially because they understood the tricks to getting the most out of their business coaching relationship. 

It's all about leveraging your business coaches knowledge base and experiences. 

So today, I wanted to share with you the top 5 things that every business owner should think about and look for when hiring or working with a mentor or business coaching firm.

1. Choose a business coach who has experience in your field or has a knowledge-base to draw upon. 

For some business owners, this may not be possible depending on your field. But the whole idea of leveraging a business coach is to help you avoid a lot of the expensive trial and error that most business owners take as they build a business. While many of the situations you come up against in your business (whether they be about managing your team, growing your sales, creating your next products or services, or controlling your expenses) may be new to you, your coach can draw on his or her past experiences to give you clarity on the best path forward.

2. Choose a business coach who can explain things to you in a simple, easy to follow manner. 

Communication is crucial when it comes to working with a mentor, so make sure that you pick someone who understands how you work best. Do you prefer video chatting to phone calls, do you prefer a written write up at the end of your session? Find someone who understands your preferences and can work within those parameters.

3. Work with a business coach that you can trust.  

Yes it can be scary to share your revenue, your challenges and your weaknesses as a leader, but by being open you will get valuable outside perspective and feedback. Don't sugar coat anything. Your coach will not judge you. Her real desire is to help you grow and succeed, and to do that she needs accurate data. So, if you don't feel comfortable sharing details with your coach, then it is likely not a good fit for either of you. 

4. Be prepared to hold yourself accountable.

The right business coach will always be in your corner, and sometimes this means being the one person in your business life who calls you on the mat. Your employees can't do this--you sign their paychecks. As I've worked with my business coaching clients I've seen the impact on their business when they play full out and allow me to hold them accountable. 

5. Avoid Excuses

Along with being accountable, you should also be prepared to do away with excuses. You don't have to do everything perfectly, and your coach knows that, but you do have to take action. Of course you're busy, but when will you ever really change if you don't do the things that you need for your business to grow and thrive?

My final piece of advice to you is that if you want to enjoy the growth and freedom that the right business coach can help you enjoy, then you've got to let go of your excuses and dive fully into the commitment. Sure you'll mess up and have set backs, but I've seen the magic that can happen over 12-24-36 months of focused, directed, intelligent action in scaling a company. Time's going to pass either way. What will you be saying 3 years from today? "If only I had..." or "I'm so glad I did!"

With these 5 tips, you can really make the most out of your coaching relationship. 

Published on: Nov 5, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.