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The Five Questions To Ask Before Hiring a Business Coach

African American woman, sitting on green velvet victorian style couch outdoors in front of greenery. Wearing coral colored shirt, dark teal pants, natrual curly tappered hair cut, smiling. Black mompreneur blogger.
Hey, I'm Shanell! I'm a stregnths- based coach for aspiring creatives!

For some entrepreneurs coaching is a necessity, while others believe that coaching is a luxury.

No matter how you feel, one thing we can agree on is that coaching is an investment!

An investment is something that:

· Costs money

· Requires being budgeted for

· Has value/is valuable

· You believe in

· Has a fruitful and lucrative return or outcome

THAT is coaching.

The beautiful part of this investment, is while you’re paying the coach, you’re actually making the investment in yourself!

You’ve made the decision to get clear and strategic in your business, and you’ve found the right person to help give you the tools to do it. Or at least you think you have.

But with EVERYONE calling themselves a coach in one facet of business or another, it can be overwhelming to know where to make your investment.

So how do you decide whether to hire one coach vs another?

You’re no doubt already paying attention to what potential coaches say – you’re likely following them on social media, seeing their ads, or reading their blogs. But hearing what they say doesn’t provide you proof of what they do.

Pink retro rotary telephone with a white chord, sitting ona  wooden table, in front of a light teal background. Shanell Tyus, African American blogger, creative coach for aspiring creatives.
Schedule a discovery call to get clarity on the ins and outs of the different options for coaching

Schedule the Discovery Call, Sis!

An initial conversation known as a Clarity Call or a Discovery Call, is designed to do just that....provide clarity! You should come away from the knowing whether or not this approach is the right fit for your business.

Most service providers and coaches offer an initial call for free or a nominal fee – the idea is, if you aren’t willing to invest a nominal amount for an initial round of strategy discussions, then you won’t be prepared to invest fully in a signature program or service.

Once you’re on the line, you should be prepared to share about your business needs and goals, and why you’re looking for a coach. But you should also be prepared with your own list of questions to ask in order to help determine if this is the right coach and coaching relationship for you.

Here’s the list of questions I want to be asked as a coach, and learned the value of through my own coaching relationship with my coach, MJ! Consider asking these on your next discovery call:

Question 1. How is your coaching framework tailored to me and my business?

Some coaches have a tried and true model that they feel works for each and every client they work with. While there may be proven success with previous clients, not everyone’s model will work for every client.

You’ll want to know first and foremost if this person’s coaching model is right for your business model. This takes having a clear understanding of your business goals, and what you are hoping a coach will help you to achieve. Not sure about all of those pieces yet? No worries! You’ll want a coach who specializes in helping you find your passion, and gain clarity on how to turn that passion into a profitable business.

If the above is established, and you have more clarity and establishment of your goals then it’s about focusing on the fit of a coach’s model. Maybe Coach A’s model sounds amazing, tried, and true…but it’s designed to drive results in product-based businesses vs service-based business. Or vice versa. Asking this question is a critical first step in determining how or if the offered program will help you achieve your desired

In my work with clients, I take a Strengths-based approach using CliftonStregnths by Gallup as the foundation for our work together. This allows me to know the unique talents that my clients possess, and develop goals and strategy that leverages these strengths. I don’t believe in cookie cutter coaching – I believe in leaning into what each person naturally does best. It’s your secret sauce that will move you from spinning you wheels in frustration, to knowing how to expertly drive in your own lane!

Question 2. Tell me about the transformation that you personally experienced during your working relationship with coaches you’ve hired?

My husband has a lot of gems and says the most hilarious things sometimes. Sometimes the gems and hilarity collide and offers some true encouragement. This speaks to one of my favorites from him,

“Even Jordan needed a coach!”

Deep, huh? LOL, but SO true. In short, you can be great and still be in need of coaching.

Coaches need coaches.

If your coach is unable to 1. Answer this question, and 2. Speak with transparency and honesty about their own coaching journey and transportation, then that’s not the coach for you.

I am a firm believer in needing to go through a process to personally usher someone else through the same process. While in grad school for Counseling, it was a program requirement that all students go through a counseling process with a therapist in order to personally experience the client’s experience. It helped me to empathize and not just sympathize by having a firsthand account of how it feels to be vulnerable while bringing in my personal issues for support on my healing journey.

Your coach not only needs to know first hand how it feels to go through a growth process with a coach, they also need to understand the transformation process firsthand.

In finishing my final session with my coach, MJ (not Michael Jordan, lol...but she's definitely one of the greatest), I know that I am NOT the same person on our last day, as I was on our first day. I believe I will keep discovering the ways our relationship and work together transformed me but I know for a fact that it changed me and my business for the better.

Shanell Tyus, African American blogger, creative coach for aspiring creatives. A Black woman, and white women (heads not shown), sitting on chairs next to each other with a tablet on one lap and a laptop on the other person's lap. Black and white dress, bracelets, watches, typing on keyboard and pointing to tablet. They are working collaboratively.
Coaching is a collaborative process - working together to facilitate a transformation in you and your business!

Question 3. Tell me about one of the most meaningful or impactful transformations that you’ve witnessed in one of your clients.

Experiencing a transformation firsthand helps you recognize transformation in others. In addition to the transformation that I personally experienced through my work with MJ, my job as a coach is to be observant and engaged in my clients enough to notice and celebrate the transformation in them!

You may not see growth in yourself. You may not see your talents and strengths as extraordinary because you’re so closely ingrained that it doesn’t feel significant or special…it just feels like you. We need others to affirm and confirm greatness in us sometimes. This is definitely the duty one of your coach’s duties – they have to know the changes that take place so they can help you see and celebrate change and transformation.

You can have the “coolest” or “nicest” coach in the world, but if transformation isn’t happening throughout your work together, you’re both wasting precious time and money.

There are no guarantees in coaching. Jordan was coached by one of the best coaches in the league. He knew how to coach talent. But Jordan (or Kobe, or Scottie, or Shaq) were great players who showed up and engaged in the coaching process. They used their natural talent paired with Phil Jackson’s coaching to yield the results that made them some of the best in the league. They could’ve easily showed up and despite Phil’s coaching not worked well together, not responded to his leadership, or simply not have done the work to yield the results.

Coaching is a two way-street.

You have to put in the work, and that’s easy to do when you have a coach who knows how to help you realize your full potential using your natural talent.

Question 4. What is the investment?

his is the burning question on everyone’s mind, but notice I didn’t lead with it. You’ll be able to get this information easily – on a website, on an ad, or on a discovery call. There is no benefit to hiding your rates as a coach.

I want potential clients to know up what the investment is so they can plan this business expense accordingly. Like I mentioned above, some see coaching as a luxury, some see it as a necessity, and either way you have to factor it into a list of other expenses.

You should not be afraid to ask “How much will this cost?” if the information isn’t directly upfront. It also shouldn’t intimidate you. Just like your decision to eat out or snag those new shoes, you have to ask yourself a few questions – Do I need it or want it? Can I afford it? Is this a necessity or a luxury I can afford? Should I invest now, or later?

Budget is a real consideration. But we often make the decision to invest in everything but ourselves. We find ways to afford most things we want – budgeting, saving, sacrificing other wants – and we do this for others often.

How are we able to put a price limit on our dreams? If you knew your investment would help align your mindset, clarify your strengths in order to reveal your business strategy, and help you turn the dream into a reality through a series of action items with support, would it be worth it?

That leads to the next question you need to be asking:

Question 5. How does the transformation take place?

In other words, how do I get this transformation and is it worth what I’m paying?

Once you know that the model works, the coach you’re considering is able to speak to the possible transformation as a result of your work together, that your coach has been experienced their own transformation as a result of their growth experience, it’s critical to know how the transformation takes place.

Now, some people aren’t as concerned with how it happens or what they get as they are with the end result (the transformation), but if you’re anything like me, you want to know what is the process like? Do I have homework? Meetings? How or where do the meetings take place? Do we do most of the coaching work in the meetings or in my own time? Is it a group process or a 1:1 process? If it’s a group process, do I get access to you 1:1 or is all time shared? Can I contact you outside of meetings and if so, how?

Flat lay photo with white notebook, color color books, clear glass mug of tea, gold pen, gold paper binder clips, on a white desk. Shanell Tyus, African American blogger, creative coach for aspiring creatives.
Make note of the ins and outs of different coaching models to help find your fit!

The list could honestly go on and on depending on how much detail you require.

For others, you’re like I trust the process – I’m going to show up when needed, and do what I’m told.

Either way, this is important to know. You may want to pay for ease and convenience of a model that converts your business with minimal effort on your part – i.e. paying someone to do the heavy lifting or crack the secret code VS paying someone to empower you with the strategy to know and do the ins and outs of the work yourself.

Even if you don’t require a high level of detail, you will want to know what’s involved so it’s important to ask!

Decision Making Time

While there are no guarantees with coaching, there should be a clear set of messaging, approaches, systems, and track records that help pave the way to your goal.

If you find your ideal match in a coach, or any service provider, you'll want to make an investment. Just like any other investment, the goal is that you get what you pay for. By doing your due diligence with these, and maybe additional, questions you can be sure you're investing wisely!

Are you ready to invest in yourself by hiring a coach? I'd love to answer these questions and more for you - let's hop on a call for a strategy strategy session!

Which of these questions do you think will be most helpful as you make your decision? Share below, and let me know!

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