One of the most effective strategies for personal and professional growth is to hire a coach. Studies have proven that the return on investment (ROI) in coaching is 7 times the initial investment, with more than 25% of coaching clients reporting an ROI of 10-49 times the cost.
Measurable benefits include:
- Greater productivity
- Greater efficiency
- Higher employee engagement
- Higher employee retention
- Increased revenue
- Increased profitability
Intangible but impactful benefits include:
- Greater self-awareness (which leads to more happiness overall)
- Improved relationships
- Greater job satisfaction
- Healthier teamwork
- Less stress, and better health
Here are 5 qualifiers to hire the coach that will yield you the highest results, and highest ROI.
1: They Have Experience. The most important requirement of a successful coach is experience that is relevant to what you are trying to achieve. If you are a business owner who is trying to move your company from $1 million to $10 million, then you require a coach who has been there.
There are many solopreneur coaches who have never built businesses with employees. They've never scaled beyond a million dollars. Therefore they don't understand the financial, emotional, and psychological challenges and demands that accompany scaling a business.
If you are in the middle of a career transition, your best guidance will come from someone who has already reinvented themselves. The process of rediscovering yourself, releasing your identity from something you have built over 10-20 years, and starting over is not something that all life coaches can maneuver.
Verne Harnish, Founder of Gazelles International and Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), only hires coaches that have a minimum of 25 years experience. "It's impossible to coach someone on something you have not experienced."
2: They Hold You Accountable. Coaches may play the role of a therapist from time to time, but they are not therapists. Their role is to move you forward. Using your valuable time and money to simply vent, share, or connect is a waste of resources. The best time to engage a coach is when you are ready to take action, and the best coaches will hold you to a plan.
The best coaches will have proven tools and models they can use to help you identify and track your goals weekly, monthly, and annually. They have specific strategies for success to move you from your current state to your desired state.
3: They Stand By Their Positions. Coaches may be cheerleaders, but they must have a backbone. Recently a long-time client called me "jaded" and I smiled. I was a bit hesitant about a potential new strategic partner, because I saw some red flags that I recognized through experience. My client very much wanted this partnership to work out, and I had to maintain my voice of skepticism to help her do a reality check.
Harnish shares that "coaches must be willing to fall on their own swords" - to relinquish the client rather than acquiesce to advice that doesn't serve them.
4: They Do Their Own Work. Ask prospective coaches how they continuously improve themselves. Do they have coaches? Are they in any roundtables or leader groups to connect with other leaders that can help them move forward? How are they developing themselves both personally and professionally?
You want your coach to walk the walk, and drink their own Kool Aid, so that they can continuously bring their best self to your engagement.
5: They Are Strong Communicators. This is a crucial part of the coaching relationship. Your coach should follow every session with a detailed session recap outlining what was discussed, their action items, your action items, and a confirmation of the next meeting.
These recaps become an important paper trail to jog your client's memories and to also demonstrate progress. It is hard to hold someone accountable if you don't present a recap of what was discussed and what is expected.
A Business Grows As Much as Its Leader
Business growth directly correlates to leadership growth. Without outside perspective and experience, a leader can't learn how to navigate change, and they don't learn how to avoid dangerous pitfalls.
An effective coach will help you set goals, and formulate the strategies you need to achieve them. They will help you fortify your mindset to weather the setbacks. They become an essential catalyst to your personal and professional growth. They help you to become the best version of yourself, and isn't that the wisest investment you can make?