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5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Business Coach

A good business coach will help you build clarity, create structure and focus on results, however... 

... there are some mistakes people often make when working with a business coach, which can lead to frustration, and wasted time and money.

At ActionCOACH, we speak to many business owners who have experienced this same feeling early on in their coaching journey, but they soon realise why they fail, and this normally is attributed to one of these 5 categories. In this article, we’ll discuss the top five critical mistakes people make when working with a business coach – so that you can avoid them yourself!

Prefer video content? That's OK, we've created a video covering all this too!


Mistake #5 - Being too passive in the business coaching process

Working with a business coach should be an interactive experience. When working with a business coach, you may want to avoid the common mistake of being too passive. This is when an individual shows up to their coaching session prepared to passively listen and take notes instead of actively engaging in conversation and action.

The benefit of having a coach is not just to have someone spout business insights or advice - it is an opportunity for you to receive knowledge that can be specialised, tailored, and unique to your individual circumstances. 

If you are too passive during your coaching sessions, then you may not be taking full advantage of the help your coach can give. Therefore, if engaging in your coaching session with enthusiasm and dialogue is something you need reminding of - make sure to do so!

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Mistake #4 - Relying too heavily on your business coach

You’ve heard the expression that “too much of a good thing can be bad.” That is especially true when it comes to relying too heavily on a business coach.

Professional coaching offers an objective perspective and encouraging and illuminating insights -- features that can help propel businesses to success, but it can become dangerous if taken too far. Relying too heavily on a business coach can create a sense of dependency that can hinder independent decision-making. This can lead to a lack of confidence and self-reliance, and you may start to find it difficult to trust your own judgment without the guidance of a coach.

A coach should be used as part of an overall support and guidance system rather than being the sole originator of all decisions or solutions in a business. There’s something to be said for owning your decisions as an entrepreneur; after all, only you know your business inside and out like no one else can. As such, it is important not to rely solely on your business coach - especially for industry knowledge, but rather use them as a guiding force in your career decisions.

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Mistake #3 - Being unprepared for your business coaching sessions

When you are not prepared for your coaching session, it can become increasingly difficult for the coach to help you reach your goals. Being unprepared can also result in wasted time on both ends, because the you may not have clarity about what you want from coaching, and the coach may spend too much energy guiding you on how to become better prepared instead of providing value through meaningful guidance.

For example, if an entrepreneur has goals related to improving their online presence but hasn’t looked into what results they're currently getting or spoken to the team to get a clear picture of what strategies are currently in use, they're not going to get the most out of the coaching session. Coming to a coaching session unprepared like this is wasted time and can slow down results. 

Being adequately prepared is key to achieving maximum benefit from each coaching session; you should arrive with a list of topics and questions ready so your coach can get make sure you get the most amount of value from each session.

Solution: One way to prepare for a coaching session is to create a list of topics and questions you want to discuss with your coach. For example, you might want to ask for advice on how to increase sales, how to improve communication with employees, or how to navigate a difficult business decision. Having a list of topics and questions ready will ensure that you make the most of your coaching session and don't forget any important points you want to cover.

Mistake #2 - Ignoring advice from your business coach & not taking action

It can be a daunting feeling to take on the journey of starting or growing your business. Making decisions, changes, and taking risks along the way is intimidating. 

Many entrepreneurs and business owners hesitate when it comes to taking action on potential solutions. Trusting in the guidance of a business coach can be immensely beneficial in helping move past this obstacle.

Ignoring advice and not taking action is one of the main reasons why business growth can often be stunted since inaction hinders the opportunity to learn from mistakes and work towards progress. Although it can be difficult to bite the bullet and throw caution to the wind with experimentation, consulting a professional who has experience in navigating various industries will assist you in finding a productive path forward.

As one of our Action Coaches, Tim Hill, puts it: "You can't achieve anything without changing something in your life."

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Mistake #1 - Not communicating openly and honestly with your business coach

Working with a business coach can help entrepreneurs reach success faster than they could achieve it on their own. But it is only effective when the two parties openly and honestly communicate.

When entrepreneurs fail to do so, they miss out on the potential benefits that come from an honest evaluation and knowledge exchange. Not communicating openly and honestly with your business coach stifles growth opportunities, restricts potential advice, and can distort the relationship formed between coach and client, leading to ineffective solutions that don't target the individual's needs.

In order to increase honest communication with your business coach, you should be prepared to talk openly about the areas you feel need improvement, as well as any successes or challenges you have faced. This will allow your business coach to gain an understanding of where help is needed and what goals to put in place to reach success. 

Are you prepared to avoid these common mistakes?

The good news is that while these costly mistakes are common, they are also fixable and avoidable. By taking the time to adequately prepare for coaching sessions, being mindful of not relying too heavily on a business coach, and engaging actively in the conversation, you can make positive changes and achieve success with your business coach.  

By understanding what you want from each coaching session and communicating that effectively to your coach, you can make sure your sessions are productive and beneficial.  

If you’re considering working with a coach, you might be asking yourself, "How do I pick a coach that is a good fit for me?"


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Post by ActionCOACH
November 30, 2023
ActionCOACH is recognised as the creator and most successful practitioner of business and executive coaching methodology that offers owners and managers a new perspective on their businesses and companies.