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What is Business Coaching? Ultimate Guide in 2024

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This is the ultimate guide to business coaching.

You’ll learn:

  • What business coaching is
  • Why business coaches are a good investment
  • How to become a successful business coach

Want to learn more? Read on!

What is business coaching?

Let’s start by answering the big question:

What is business coaching?

At its core, a business coach helps clients get the best results in the shortest amount of time. 

To achieve this, they use mindset techniques and strategies, including: 

  • Providing guidance based on their own experience
  • Mentoring clients  
  • Holding them accountable
  • Helping them get to the core of their problems

According to a survey based on 759 entrepreneurs, one in six entrepreneurs turn to business coaching. 

In fact, most of the CEOs of the biggest businesses use business coaches.

For instance, legendary coach Bill Campbell worked with CEOs at companies like Google and Apple. He is credited with helping them earn trillions of dollars.

These CEOs know that everyone needs coaching and mentoring, including business owners. 

I talk more about what a coach is here: 

With that, let’s talk more about how business coaches help you. 

What can a business coach do?

Now, let’s move on to an even more important question:

What can a business coach do for me?

Or…

How can I help others as a business coach?

Here’s the answer:

Business coaches help you grow your business. They focus on your entire business: 

Systems, revenue, and mindset. 

A business coach works for all kinds of business owners.

They can help you get your business off the ground fast or help you overcome growth plateaus. 

Some of the things a business coach can help you with include: 

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  • Figuring out a business idea
  • Understanding your market 
  • Getting your first client
  • Working on your mindset
  • Improving your sales skills
  • Building your brand and getting featured in the media 

There are also business coaches who specialize in specific areas. 

For example: 

  • Business coaches for entrepreneurs: Entrepreneur coaches guide you through starting and growing a business.
  • Small business coach: Small business coaches specialize in helping small businesses, which can include everything from mom-and-pop stores to small online businesses. 
  • Leadership or executive coach: Leadership or executive coaches help you become a better leader and build strong and successful teams.
  • Marketing coach: Ever wondered, “How do I market myself as a business coach?” Then a marketing coach might be what you need. They help you better understand your target audience and teach you how to use different marketing channels.
  • Sales coach: Sales coaches help you sell more. They teach techniques and strategies to enhance your selling abilities, close deals, and increase revenue.

Is getting a business coach worth it?

Who uses business coaching? 

Or better yet: Why do people get business coaches?

People from Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey rely on coaches. 

The thing is: 

Those at the top are there because of hard work. But that’s not all. They’re also there because they had the support they needed. 

Coaches provide one of those support systems.

I’ve also worked with plenty of coaches. And most of my coaching relationships are some of the best investments I make in my business and personal growth. 

But concretely, how effective is business coaching and mentoring?

What are the benefits of business coaching?

Why would you eventually benefit from working with a business coach? Let’s take a look.

Here are some interesting business coaching stats:

  • Eric Schmidt credits business coach Bill Campbell for Google and Apple’s trillion-dollar valuations. (CNBC)
  • 30% of business owners who had just one interaction with a mentor reported growth. (SCORE)
  • 80% of coachees report an increase in self-confidence. (Institute of Coaching)
  • 70% of coachees boost work performance, relationships, and communication. (Institute of Coaching)
  • 33% of founders mentored by successful entrepreneurs later become top performers. (Endeavor/TechCrunch)
  • 92% of small business owners acknowledge that mentors have a direct impact on their business growth and their chances of survival. (Kabbage)
  • 70% of entrepreneurs who receive mentoring last for five years or longer (UPS).

Still wondering, “Do I need a business coach?” Then let’s take a look at the specific things a business coach can help you with.

What can a business coach help you with?

An experienced business coach wears many hats.

But what are some typical business coaching services you can expect?

Let’s go over six important things they can help you with.

1. Strategic planning

Business revolves around the same principles. And coaching is all about tapping into someone else’s experience to get to your goal faster. 

Specific things your coach can help you with include: 

  • Set goals 
  • Define your vision
  • Create practical plans 
  • Maximize your resources effectively 

For example, want to create a new product? A coach can guide you through market research and help you develop a great product launch strategy.

Or want to expand your business internationally? A business coach with the right experience can guide you through the steps, set a mergers and acquisitions plan together with you, and so on.

2. Performance improvement

The best coaches identify areas where you can grow and thrive.

They help you implement strategies to cultivate a mindset that helps you overcome your internal blocks.

Coaches also help you hire out, manage better, and create processes for your business.

3. Problem-solving

When you’re facing complex challenges, your business coach steps in as your problem-solving partner. 

They ask you probing questions to help get to the core of your problem.

A great coach will take it a step further. When they have the answer, they’ll help you based on their own experience, instead of leaving you alone to solve your problem.

4. Accountability and motivation

With a coach as your accountability partner, you’re more likely to stay focused and motivated.

They hold you to your commitments, ensuring you follow through on your goals and maintain momentum.

Want to launch a new product line? Your coach will set milestones with you, track your progress, and motivate you to overcome any obstacles along the way.

5. Objective perspective

One of the most valuable aspects of having a coach is their objective perspective. 

By providing an unbiased viewpoint, they can gently challenge your assumptions and help you see blind spots. This, in turn, can lead to many fresh insights.

Let’s say you’re planning a major business expansion. Your coach can review your strategies and provide feedback to make sure your plans are solid and well-informed.

6. Emotional support

Building a successful business is a challenge, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times.

A great coach knows this all too well, and they will be there to offer invaluable emotional support.

They help you navigate setbacks, manage stress, and maintain a healthy mindset throughout your journey.

But is business coaching ultimately worth it? That’s what we’ll look at next.

Is it worth paying for a business coach?

Is getting a business coach worth it?

YES!

But…

For effective business coaching, you need to find the right coach.

A great coach won’t only have experience as a business owner, but also relevant experience in the specific things they’re teaching.

If you wouldn’t take trekking advice from someone who’s never gone on a single trek, why would you take business advice from someone who’s never owned a business?

Experience matters (so, so much!)

Experience is absolutely crucial, especially for business founders.

Coaches need firsthand business experience to prepare clients for lasting success. 

Unfortunately, I’ve seen many new coaching entrepreneurs without the necessary experience. This generally leads to short-term gains but long-term failures.

When I started my current business, I had years of experience building businesses, from a tech startup with a multi-million valuation to a digital marketing consulting business.

While I hadn’t ventured into online business at first, my digital advertising consulting skills helped me achieve six-figure success within four months.

At this point, people began seeking my advice on starting their own online businesses.

Because I had learned the ins and outs of that part of the business world, I took them on as business coaching clients.

And I helped them elevate their businesses to new heights too.

The main takeaway here is that I waited to coach these clients until I had the necessary experience.

I didn’t dive in without the necessary knowledge, hoping to learn as I went along.

All coaches should follow this rule.

Because when you pair up with the wrong coach, you soon come to realize the hard (and expensive) way that no advice really is much better than bad advice.

And yes, I’m very much speaking from experience here… (More on that below.)

Not all business coaches are worth it

Coaches should have enough experience in what they help people with.

Passion is important, but when it comes to leading others, experience always wins.

Is experience all that matters, though?

Definitely not!

Because even if a coach is experienced in certain areas, that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you.

Let me share a little story to illustrate this.

The very first business coach I worked with had successfully set up her own business. I was eager to learn from her and excited for the journey.

Soon enough, though, I noticed we weren’t a good fit.

While I was looking for practical advice, she mostly offered empty statements along the lines of just “believing more” in myself. The problem was that this coach wasn’t able to look beyond her own experience.

With only one business under her belt, she assumed that what had worked for her would also work for everyone else. But when her advice didn’t work for me, she neither understood why nor how to help me.

In other words: She didn’t know how to coach yet.

You see, coaching requires an individualized and tailored approach.

What works for one client, might not work for another. And it’s a coach’s job to adapt quickly and effectively.

I ended up wasting $18,000 — and I don’t want you to make the same mistake.

Things to look out for in a business coach

To avoid repeating my mistake, I put together this 10-point checklist for you on how to hire the right business coach.

Whether you’re searching for a coach or are curious about what’s required of you as a business coach, this will help you on your way.

Let’s take a closer look at each point.

1. They teach by example

Experience is key.

Can your coach provide real-life examples of their success?

Find someone with a track record of accomplishments.

A coach who has faced both failures and triumphs is especially valuable. Their insights can save you from costly mistakes.

In short: Find yourself a coach who does more walking than talking.

2. They have a track record of clients who speak highly of them

Testimonials are crucial.

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Don’t rely on what the coach says about themselves; seek out recommendations and feedback from their previous clients.

Many coaches know how to market their business. But hearing clients’ firsthand experiences paints a much better picture.

It gives you a good understanding of the coach’s abilities and effectiveness.

3. They are compatible with your goals and values

As with any type of relationship, compatibility matters.

Does your business coach align with your goals and values?

It’s a partnership, and you want to be on the same page.

4. They empower you

A great coach empowers you.

Sure, good advice is welcome, but a business coach should also help you grow the skills to work things out for yourself.

Does your coach dictate what you should do? 

Or do they also ask questions that challenge you to think deeply?

5. They do a whole lot of listening

A great coach has a wealth of experience and knowledge, but they should never dominate the conversation with their own ideas.

Find a business coach who creates a space for you to express yourself and who also listens without judgment.

By actively listening, your coach better understands your unique circumstances, challenges, and goals. They can then tailor their offer to your specific needs.

A coach who listens cares about your success and growth. 

6. They really care about you

You can receive coaching from so many different people, but at the end of the day, how committed are they?

A coach who genuinely cares about your business success as well as you as a person can make a huge difference.

They take a personal interest in your growth and hold you accountable for your progress.

7. They’re not afraid to admit their failures

You can learn a lot from someone’s success, but you may learn even more from someone’s failures.

That’s why transparency is vital.

A coach who is willing to share their failures and lessons learned can teach you so much more.

Being able to share both the good and the bad is also a sign of authenticity.

8. You trust them

As a founder, you often have to navigate challenges on your own. 

The right coach can support you in areas you may not feel comfortable sharing with others.

A trustworthy coach creates a safe space where you can discuss your worries, fears, and goals.

They keep your conversations private and really care about your best interests.

But how much should you pay for business coaching? 

Here’s what you need to know. 

How much should you pay for business coaching? 

There’s no right answer here – business coaching can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The average hourly rate for coaching is $244, according to the International Coaching Federation. The average yearly income is $67,800 for 11.9 hours of work a week. 

However, the rate of a business coach depends on the coach’s experience and where you are with your business. 

For instance, I charged a few thousand dollars for my first coaching packages, and I mainly worked with new business owners. These days? I’m very selective with whom I work with, and I charge $25,000 for a six-month commitment. 

Many coaches, even those with less experience and results than me, charge much more. 

What are the best business coaching programs? 

But what are the best coaching services out there? 

Obviously, this depends on you and your needs. There are big online business coaching programs like eMyth and Tony Robbins

Or then, there are business coaching courses – which can be a better fit, especially if you are a new entrepreneur and don’t have the budget just yet. 

For example, I offer a course for people who want to go from their 9-5 jobs to starting an online business, Employee to Entrepreneur. It includes pretty much everything you need to know about setting up your own online coaching program. You can read more about it here

But should you get a coach…or a consultant? Let’s find out.  

What is the difference between business consulting and coaching?

Ok, you now know what to look out for in a coach, but why would you pick a coach in the first place? Why not a consultant? Or a mentor?

To answer this question, let’s go over the differences and similarities between coaching and consulting. (And why I think coach-sulting is the way to go.)

What is business consulting?

Business consulting is like hiring an expert who gives you specialized advice and solutions.

They do a mixture of the following things:

  • Come in to analyze your business problems or challenges
  • Bring their industry knowledge and skills to identify where you can improve
  • Give you strategic recommendations and action plans
  • Help you put their ideas into action

Consultants take a directive role.

Think of them as the problem-solvers who tell you what to do based on their experience.

So who should you go for – a coach or a consultant? 

Business coach-sulting is the answer

Now that we’ve explored the differences between coaching and consulting, let’s go over their complementary aspects.

You see, although coaching and consulting have distinct approaches, they’re not mutually exclusive.

Traditional coaching doesn’t fit with today’s fast-paced world.

No matter if you hire a coach or consultant, chances are you want to see results as quickly as possible. This is why I’m a big fan of ‘coach-sulting’.

It offers the best of both worlds:

  • A business coach empowers clients via reflective listening and powerful questions
  • But they also offer strategic suggestions based on your many years of experience

It’s all about finding the right balance between empowering you and giving you that extra boost of expert guidance.

What is the difference between business coaching and mentoring?

Okay, there’s a difference between coaching and consulting, but is business coaching the same as business mentoring?

Kind of.

Business coaching and mentoring share more similarities than consulting, but there are still some differences.

When it comes to coaching, you’re paying for a service. 

It’s a transactional relationship where you can expect dedicated support to help you reach your goals.

Coaching offers a structured framework, specific techniques, and tools tailored to your needs.

On the other hand, mentoring is a more nurturing approach. 

Instead of paying a pro, you have an experienced advisor who voluntarily shares their knowledge and insights.

A mentor’s guidance can be valuable, but there’s no formal commitment from their end. It’s more like a give-and-take relationship built on trust and respect.

So, to summarize:

  • Coaching offers a structured and goal-oriented approach
  • Mentoring provides a more informal and relationship-driven guidance

How to become a business coach

Are you an aspiring coach reading this article? Then you might be wondering how you can become a successful business coach.

I’ve covered this topic in depth in my guide on how to become a business coach, but let’s quickly go over some important things.

How much do business coaches make?

First, how much can you make as a business coach? The average business coach salary is around $122K in total pay. But your income depends on you. 

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If you’re currently still an employee, you’ll need to make sure that your coaching business is sustainable enough before you jump ship.

I recommend aiming for a coaching income that’s three times as high as your current salary at your job.

This may sound like a lot, but it ensures that you can cover all the extra expenses and taxes that come with being an entrepreneur.

How to set up your business coaching program

Next up, how do you even go about setting up your own business coaching offer?

Here are eight crucial steps:

  1. Find your niche
  2. Create your coaching offer
  3. Sell your coaching package
  4. Leverage your network
  5. Build relationships on social media (or elsewhere) 
  6. Get in front of your audience
  7. Grow your audience
  8. Scale your coaching business

To learn more about how to start a business coaching career from scratch, check out this short video I created for you:

Next steps

There you have it! That’s what business coaching is all about.

As a client, a great business coach can help you grow much faster…and more sustainably.

Similarly, as a business coach, you help clients build their businesses more effectively and with more clarity.

However, you need the RIGHT strategy to build your coaching business.

Want to learn what it is?

Get my guide on how to start your own six-figure coaching business: 

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Read more

How to Work with a Business Coach for Coaches

The Best Business Courses for Coaches

The Top Benefits of Coaching 

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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2 Responses

  1. Now is really the best time to get into coaching. This is where most people online are open to online coaching and what it can do. It is the perfect time for it.

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