No matter who you are, you can benefit from coaching. The question is the type of coaching that you would be best for you and your company. This post covers three major types of coaches:
Human Resources Management Coaches
Business Strategy Coaches
What do you want from a Coach?
The title “Coach” is used by individuals with a very broad array of talents and experiences. It’s best to determine what your needs are before searching for a Coach that fits the needs of your firm. Take the time to list not only what’s pressing on your mind at the moment but also, the types of issues that you confront on an ongoing basis where a skilled other person might add value.
Here are some questions that you might ask yourself to determine what you need:
- What skills or experience are essential in this person in order to get what my business or I want?
- Do you want someone with subject matter expertise?
- Do you want an outside perspective from a bright person who can shed new light on something that needs to change but you or your team don’t know how?
- What personality traits are the best fit for your company culture so that they have the highest probability of success?
Failure to do this preparation will inevitably lead to disappointment. One of my newest clients mentioned a coach who has not helped her at all despite paying high fees and I’ve heard numerous complaints about many general coaches not really adding value.
What’s Available in the Market?
Many “Coaches” are good at encouragement and picking up your spirits. This is a valuable contribution, especially in these difficult times, so long as it is priced appropriately. If you sense that they don’t really listen deeply and/or grasp what you are saying – it’s them not you that’s the problem – walk away!
A Human Resources Management Coach will be a step up. He/she should be a good listener, have an understanding of organizational dynamics and culture and have the skill to facilitate you thinking through at least some of your issues. But be careful that you don’t ask them for advice that they are not qualified to give. I remember shuddering once in a meeting where an accountant was insisting on a marketing decision that was dead wrong. Hopefully your professional advisors will stick to their knitting and you don’t want to add fuel to the fire by asking them things they don’t know.
The highest level of advisor in the market has subject matter expertise, strategic savvy and good coaching skills. They bring out the best in your team by leveraging your company’s internal strengths, mitigating weaknesses and bringing best practice strategies and tactics to the conversation. You will pay more for a business strategy coach because you get more so you’ll need to determine if the benefit is there for your firm.
I was recently invited to facilitate a strategy retreat and the company had no expectation that I would contribute to the strategy discussion, but rather just facilitate their own internal thinking. We agreed that they could arrange for less expensive assistance to meet their needs.
Many times, the Human Resources Management Coach is just the right choice for your company’s needs. For those times when new strategies and tactics are required, consider a strategic business coach as well.
Go back to the main Strategic Consulting category