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Do small businesses need a coach? If so, what are the qualities to look for in a good coach?

Nowadays, almost everyone is titling himself as a business coach because it is so easy to do that. You have some experience in a certain field, so you can teach it to others, right? But let´s be honest, most of the „business coaches“ end up costing you a lot of time and energy, and they are just awful compared to what we were actually looking for. So how do we recognize who would be a good coach for us?

The thing is that you either know about someone good from your inner circle, or you are just constantly being bombarded on social media by thousands of them. Does that sound right? Yes, business coaches draw on their professional experience to push you in the right direction to achieve your goals, however, the experience does not mean much if the person doesn’t know how to transfer it, as Rasmus explains.

As I recently interviewed Rasmus, one of the top-notch startup coaches, I asked him from a business´perspective, what are the benefits of working with advisors and what is the best way to find a good one. Is it even worth a shot to spend our limited time, energy, and money to find and work with a coach?

He gave me a very nice answer. He said that generally speaking, you don’t know everything so there is a good reason to have a coach to help you improve. It is also good to know why you would like to have a coach. We all know the fastest way to learn is by doing, and that´s where a good coach comes in to help you accelerate that process.

Rasmus would suggest to be open-minded about coaching in general, and most importantly, to try multiple different people. "I am also learning things all the time and experimenting so I can teach this to people I coach. I teach them but they also teach me by showing me new perspectives, new ways to get done things. So when I'm coaching people, I can use that what I've learned from others, and the things I test myself in order to make the coaching useful".

Qualities to look for in a business coach.

Truthfully, most coaches are not good. Talking from experience, these are 5 steps that can help find a coach who can qualify as a good business coach.

Check with the person you're talking to:

1. Does the person have some type of proven success?

2. How fresh is the information they're teaching you?

3. When was it used in the past and was it effective? Show me an example of where this was tested. (to give you an indication of what he is saying is true and makes sense).

4. Run small experiments to see if their advice would work.

5. Allow the coach to talk and explain their thought process, question his methods and ask for the reasoning.

And from there, you will be able to see if you get the results. You will be able to get a feeling like does this person actually know what he is talking about? Or not? And allow your own intelligence and intuition to be the judge of the quality of this advice :).

Make sure you listen to 234 other ones so that you can make a good assumption based on how you've heard several people give advice on the same problem.


Having Aligned Incentives with your Coach

The ultimate goal is to find someone whose incentive is aligned with yours and who gets you and can make you go where you want to go. The coach is there to enable you to get better results than you would get if you just tried it yourself.

Very often we can see in practice that the incentive is money. But in the case of Rasmus, it's more than that. He feels personally responsible and attached to the people he is working with, and he wants to see them succeed. Why? Rasmus has been an entrepreneur for so long, and he has gone through many failures that he had to carry. So, whenever he meets an entrepreneur, he wants him to succeed and doesn't want him to ever have to experience the suffering that he had to go through.

"Helping people is part of me being who I am"- Rasmus

Rasmus felt like a coach for almost his whole life. So when somebody is with him, and he´s coaching him, they're a team, and they're going to win. He will ask you, what are your goals? What is your definition of winning, and then he wants to help you win. And that’s how he builds his self-worth…based on how effective he is at teaching others.

So, the incentives are aligned: his client´s success is aligned with his feeling of helping others to be successful.

That's how important is to him that other people succeed. So, when you can come along with somebody who has this type of skill, and now has this kind of need to coach, they will do it with or without pay.

This article was based on an interview with Rasmus Basilier, and scientific research.


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