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How to Become a Business Coach

Written by Joe Hinton on .

Man giving a talk on how to become a business coach

In today's competitive business landscape where six out of ten businesses will fail in the first five years, one common theme stands out amongst those that succeed – having a business coach or mentor.

The demand for professional guidance and mentorship has risen exponentially as business owners and executives seek ways to enhance their company's performance, develop their leadership skills, and overcome challenges. This has given rise to the field of business coaching, where skilled individuals assist organisations to achieve their goals and thrive in their respective industries.

If you have a passion for helping others succeed and possess a deep understanding of the business world, embarking on a career as a business coach could be an incredibly fulfilling journey. In this article, we will cover:

What is a business coach?

Business coaching, sometimes referred to as executive coaching, involves providing guidance, support, and mentorship to individuals within companies, ranging from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to larger corporations.

A business coach helps leaders and teams enhance their performance, overcome obstacles, and optimise their strategic approaches. The role of a business coach is to act as a trusted advisor, offering insights, feedback, and strategies to drive positive changes within a company.

How can you become a business coach?

To show and guide others, you need to have experience behind you. Before you embark on a career as a business coach, it's essential to have a solid foundation in the world of business. So, people considering this career need to have gained experience through roles at a high level in business, including in:

  • Management
  • Director
  • Entrepreneur
  • Business owner

Each role can provide valuable insights into the challenges companies face.

As to how to become a business coach, your first step should be to see if the role is right for you. Discuss your ideas and aspirations with an experienced business coach, like our very own Managing Director, Joe Hinton. He can help you better understand the role and can help you become a successful business coach.

Contact Joe

How is a business coach different from a mentor?

A business coach primarily focuses on skill development, goal achievement, and performance improvement through structured coaching methodologies. On the other hand, a business mentor offers broader guidance, wisdom, and support based on their own experiences.

The choice between a coach and a mentor often depends on the specific needs and goals of the individual or business seeking guidance. Some individuals may even benefit from a combination of both coaching and mentoring to address different aspects of their professional development.

More information on the differences in the role can be found here: The Difference Between a Business Coach and Business Mentor

What areas does a business coach help with?

A business coach can provide guidance and support in many areas but the key areas would be as follows:

  • Leadership Development
  • Goal Setting and Planning
  • Time Management and Productivity
  • Business Strategy
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Financial Management
  • Networking and Relationship Building
  • Communication Skills
  • Team Building
  • Stress Management and Work-Life Balance
  • Entrepreneurial Skills
  • Change Management
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Self-Confidence and Personal Development

It's important to note that the specific areas a business coach focuses on will vary depending on the coach's expertise and the needs of the client or organisation.

What qualifications do you need? What training courses are available?

Whilst there is no specific degree or level of education required to become a business coach, having a background in business, management, psychology, or a related field can be advantageous.

Additionally, pursuing certifications or courses in coaching can enhance your credibility and expertise, such as those offered by:

  • ILM (The Institute of Leadership & Management)
  • CIPD (The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development)

Other experience and qualifications in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) can undoubtedly help.

That being said, the key qualification is life experience. You can’t beat having been there and done it or made similar business mistakes before!

If you decide to buy a UK Business Mentoring business coach or business mentor franchise then you can expect to receive training in all aspects of fulfilling the role.

Do coaches specialise in a particular industry?

Some coaches do specialise in specific industries, however, it can be an advantage to coach a business in an unfamiliar industry. With an unfamiliar industry, coaches will approach issues with their own experience, not with preconceived notions of how the industry should operate.

Joe Hinton, Managing Director of UKBM provides his insight:

“I have seen some coaches who work just in hospitality, fashion, and engineering. My advice would be to not specialise. By doing so, you narrow down enormously the market and as a mentor who has covered just about every industry, I would say that not having specialist knowledge in an industry has never been a problem. In fact, I think it is an asset as you have to ask more questions and by doing so unearth more issues!”

Identify your target audience

It is important to know who you want as clients. Are you looking for people who have not yet started up? Or those who have started up or maybe are recently established businesses? Decide what businesses will work best for your skillset. It will help you provide good advice and help you become established as a business coach.

Joe primarily works with owner-managed businesses:

“I have nearly always focused on established owner-managed businesses and I have found over the years that this is an area of the market where the owners become frustrated and sometimes disillusioned with the business and need help.”

Securing your first client

There are many ways to secure your first client. More often than not it comes down to putting yourself out there, or, in other words, marketing.

Business coach marketing is different from business marketing in the sense that business coaches are individuals. The marketing activities we would recommend to get your first client start at networking in your local area. Attend networking events and speak to local businesses. Also, speak to friends and family, they may know businesses that require help and nothing is better than a recommendation!

Joe speaks about his experience of getting his first client:

“I recall it was four months before I secured my first client and up until that point I had begun to have self-doubt and with nobody really to talk to at that point ( I didn’t have my own mentor!) it was a lonely time. However, when that first client came on board, my confidence grew and within the next four months I was up to eight clients.”

“For me, the answer to securing your first client is having a structured consistent approach to your marketing – or as we now refer to it as having a ‘Marketing Rhythm’. Undoubtedly success comes from putting yourself in front of as many business owners or people who can introduce you to them as possible.”

Is a career as a business coach right for you?

A career as a business coach is an appealing one to those with business experience and who want to share it. However, coaching is not the same as owning a business. There are several key traits for successful business coaches:

  • Communication
  • Personality
  • Self-motivation

People with business experience may have been effective in that role as they were exceptional at their job, but struggle to explain how others can improve their own business. This is where strong communication skills are key. The majority of your time with clients will be spent discussing how they can improve their business, so you need to be able to explain how clearly.

Personality is key for a similar reason. You need to be likeable for your clients to feel they can trust and approach you with issues with their business. In addition, you need a good sense of humour. It really does help to lighten the mood when times are tough. A strong personality will help immeasurably in finding clients and keeping them.

A business coach needs to be self-motivated to make it work. As Joe says: “To make a success of the role means you need to be driven and self-motivated, because if you are going to win new clients you need to make it happen. Nobody else will do it for you.”

Joe notes the biggest drawback of becoming a business coach:

“The role can be a lonely one, however, and you would expect me to say this but it is true, joining a franchise means you are part of a team and always have someone to chew over a problem with or share a frustration or a laugh.”

The highs of being a business coach/mentor are undoubtedly many. You are your own boss; you decide when you work and when you don’t; you make your own decisions. However, the biggest high is the immense satisfaction you get from helping other people and seeing them grow and succeed.

For Joe, this is the overriding factor why others should consider becoming a business coach:

“To me, this is the reason I do it and this is what I look for in potential franchisees, people who have a desire to help others.”

If you feel the role could be right for you then please get in touch for an informal discussion:

Joe Hinton
Managing Director & Founder
UK Business Mentoring Group

07739 041044

0845 680 3634

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