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7 Questions to Ask Yourself before Hiring a Business Coach

Since business coaching is about you doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to setting goals and implementation, it’s important to be prepared for the experience and see if it fits your needs. With the choices of having a mentor, consultant or coach to work with, it’s important to determine what approach would work for you to overcome your business challenge.

In a nutshell, mentors show you what to do, consultants tell you what to do and coaches work with you to accomplish your goals. The common example used to explain the difference is learning to ride a bike. A mentor would get on the bike, and you would learn from watching their riding experience. A consultant would tell you how to get on the bike and then tell you what you are doing right and wrong. A business coach would get on their bike, as you get on your bike and would be partnering with you on the learning journey, encouraging you to stay on the bike, brainstorming ideas to make the ride easier and identifying your strengths and what you are doing well.

The following seven questions will help you to clarify what it is that you are really looking for in terms of professional development and if the time seems right for hiring a business coach.

1. Am I ready to make changes in my business?

Change for some people can be scary, and for others, it’s rejuvenating and exciting. When you think of changes in business, it could be material changes like taking on an assistant or it could be like coaching in that it explores changes in your behavior, attitude, habits, and beliefs. The answer to this question about being ready usually lies in how much discomfort you are currently having and how much more discomfort you would have if things continued on the same path.

2. Am I ready to commit time and energy to reach my goals?

When you set those New Year’s goals, you know that you are probably aiming high and want to make big changes so you can have a great year. Some people fall off the wagon by the end of February, as the enthusiasm wears off and reaching those goals no longer remains a priority.. In coaching, you are setting goals that you feel are attainable. Coaching will prevent you from falling off the wagon by keeping you committed, focused and able to break down the barriers holding you back.

3. Am I willing to be held accountable for my actions?

Once you put a goal on paper and commit to a task, a coach will hold you accountable. That’s not to say there won’t be challenges, delays and excuses, but but the coach will be asking you whether you want to recommit to your task and if there is any holding you back from completing it. The moment of truth is whether you are feeling able to be held accountable.

4. Am I able to be open, honest and willing to receive feedback?

Honesty and openness are vital for the coaching relationship. Coaches will hold up the mirror to you and tell you exactly what they see as objectively as possible. That feedback should be constructive and encouraging.

5. Am I willing to spend money on professional development?

Some firms provide ample opportunities for growth by offering conferences, workshops, books, courses and coaching. For others, setting aside money for a professional development fund is something that needs looking into..  Consider what would provide you the most for your dollar and what value you want to place on development.

6. Am I comfortable making my own decisions and not being told what to do?

There are times when you just want to know the answer. You present someone else with all the facts and ask them what they would do. When you delegate decision making to someone else, it prohibits you from taking full ownership of your situation. In coaching, you will brainstorm ideas, discuss pros and cons and even have the coach reflect back what they are hearing you say. But at the end of the meeting, the decision is yours.

7. Am I able to understand the value of professional growth?

In business, lessons come at us whether we are ready or not. And we have to learn some of them several times before we get it right.  You want to be ready to see each tough situation as an opportunity to mature, build confidence, or overcome a limiting belief.  Seeing value in opportunities happens when you are able to manage stress, cope with challenges, and maintain the ability to see another person’s perspective even when it differs from your own.

For coaching, it’s important to check out a few coaches and see what works for you. Would you like a coach that is certified, or one that has a niche in the insurance industry?  Most business coaches offer a complimentary 30-minute call, so take them up on the offer to see if their style fits for you.

About Rosemary Smyth and Aaron Hoos

Rosemary Smyth and Aaron Hoos

Rosemary Smyth, MBA, CIM, FCSI, ACC, is an author, columnist and an international business coach for financial advisors. She spent her career working at leading investment firms before pursuing her passion for coaching. She lives in Victoria, BC. Visit her website at You can email Rosemary at:

Aaron Hoos, MBA, has worked in the financial industry since 1997. Formerly a stockbroker, insurance broker, and award-winning sales manager, today he writes for the financial and real estate industry as an educator and marketer. He is working on his second book. Visit his website at and follow him on Twitter @AaronHoos.

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