Is your coach helping you grow or holding you back?
Usain Bolt is recognisable around the world, famous for running 100m in 9.58 seconds. A hugely significant, yet easily forgotten, part of Bolt’s success is the close relationship he has with his coach, Glen Mills (don’t worry, we’d never heard of him either, but we’re always thankful for Google).
No matter how successful you are as an athlete or business owner, a coach can always bring something valuable to the table; a fresh perspective for when you are too close to a particular project or goal.
However, in engaging a business consultant, it’s important to realise that while a good relationship can take your business to the next level, hiring the wrong person can not only waste precious time and money but potentially set you back in achieving your business goals.
So how can you be confident in knowing you’re hiring the right person? Here are 5 factors you should consider in selecting a business consultant, along with some top tips for getting the most out of your professional relationship.
#1 - Industry-specific knowledge & experience
It’s common for a business consultant to sell their services as a fix for any business in any industry but it’s uncommon that this turns out to be true. A highly valuable coach will always know their own strengths and weaknesses and looks to work with business owners who they can honestly be of service to.
The trades and construction industry trends present unique challenges and opportunities. Along with the usual compulsory reporting requirements to the ATO and other government agencies, our industry also has to answer to QBCC (and other agencies, dependant on what state you operate in).
A consultant who not only understands but operates within your industry provides a much deeper and specialised level of knowledge.
#2 - Real-life experience
When you meet someone down at the pub during Friday knock-off beers, we recommend steering away from invasive questions such as ‘what’s your business experience?’ and ‘how successful have your previous small businesses been?’
But when it comes to hiring a business consultant, their previous business experience can be highly indicative of their real-life applicable knowledge, so these kind of questions are not only appropriate but necessary.
#3 - The resources and network they can provide
Does your coach offer additional resources, such as webinars or online resources? If so, make it your own personal mission to soak up as much information as you can.
Your coach’s professional network can also be a valuable resource to your business. Business is often driven by the working relationships you have so the more relevant connections you can make, the further you’ll go.
Your coach’s network is also another great reason to work alongside a specialist in your industry, as their connections will more likely be useful to you and your business.
#4 - How they charge for their service
That low weekly gym fee is great until you’re stuck paying for something you never use…
If a business consultant only offers month-to-month or even yearly contracts, we can guarantee that you’re going to spend more than you need to.
As you gain experience, skills, and expertise, your relationship with your business coach will change from needing them all the time to needing them sometimes. Find a consultant who charges for their time on an hourly basis so that you’re always getting value in return for what you spend.
Also, look at what other services your consultant can offer. Packaging up business services, such as your accounting or marketing, provides greater consistency across the business and will often come with discounted fees.
#5 - Find the coach that you genuinely get along with
While a good coach will never be a close friend, they also shouldn’t be someone you dread catching up with. You need to be able to speak freely within consultations and feel comfortable enough to take constructive criticism on board.
And remember, you will naturally feed off each other’s energy. Your coach should be bringing enthusiasm and a genuine interest to your meetings, but so should you. Attend meetings with a positive attitude and a commitment to hitting your goals, then use your coach’s expertise to make it happen.