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How to Find a Business Coach or Mentor in 2024

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Looking for a business coach or mentor? 

Business coaches and mentors can make all the difference for your business. I personally made seven figures in my first year in business thanks to my coaches and mentors. 

But finding one (or both) can be hard.

Here’s how to spot the best business coaches or mentors for entrepreneurs. 

Read on! 

What is a business coach? 

A business coach is an entrepreneur or executive who teaches you how to grow a successful business. 

They use their knowledge and experience to guide you through business challenges. 

That could include: 

  • Struggling to stay focused and productive
  • Setting achievable goals
  • Reaching the next level of income
  • Learning to outsource
  • Diversifying your income
  • Growing and managing a team
  • Marketing your business effectively 

…And so much more. The data shows that business coaching works:

Business coaches are typically paid professionals you bring in with a specific goal in mind, typically to boost your business growth in some way. Business coaches can also be executive coaches and focus more on things like leadership, employee management, and systems. 

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And that’s a key differentiator between coaches and mentors. While business coaches act as business mentors, they’re not just mentors. 

Let’s talk about mentoring next.

What is a mentor? 

A mentor is (usually) a senior advisor who gives you informal guidance on your business goals. 

They don’t have to be senior in age, but they usually have a certain level of experience and/or success. 

Mentors are often volunteers. You don’t pay them for their time. 

More likely, you build a relationship by working with them, and they take you under their wing. 

And your mentor can be one of the most impactful people in your life. 

But how effective is mentoring? More than you might think. 

33% of founders who are mentored by successful entrepreneurs go on to become top performers.

So, the major difference is that business coaches are paid, and mentors are volunteers, right?

There’s more to it than that. Let’s talk about it. 

What is the difference between a business coach and a mentor?

Business coaches and mentors are similar – both provide advice and are concerned with your success. But there are big differences, too. 

Business coaching is a paid relationship, mentoring is free 

Mentors are informal. In fact, most mentors probably won’t even call themselves your mentor. The relationship is more of a natural business friendship that requires the mentor to take an interest in you without expecting any monetary compensation.

On the other hand, business coaches are paid for their work – a business coach is a professional mentor. That payment comes with contractual obligations on both sides.  

Business coaches advertise, mentoring happens through networking

Finding a mentor isn’t as intentional. You have to build a relationship over time, and you should NEVER ask a stranger to be your mentor. (We’ll talk more about that in the next section.)

As professionals, business coaches advertise their services so they are easy to find. You’ll have a coaching agreement and a clear structure. Speaking of…

Business coaching is more structured, mentoring is more organic

Business coaches help you go from A to B with a clear path.

Mentoring is free flowing. You might meet for a coffee and talk about how things are going but there’s no roadmap. You are expected to act on the mentor’s advice but there’s no concrete accountability, as there is with business coaching. 

Business coaching has time commitments, mentoring is less regular

When you sign a coaching agreement with a business coach, you’ll know exactly how much time you’ll get with them. Your package could be three months to a year. You might meet every week or every month. 

Whatever the time commitments are, they’ll be clear and defined from the beginning.

Mentoring happens when your mentor has time. It could be a regular coffee every month or a quick Zoom call once a year – typically, there is some kind of structure but it’s less rigorous than with business coaching. Because your mentor is donating their time to you, you can’t have the same expectations as you would with a coach. 

Business coaching has clear goals, mentoring has no goals

It’s your business coach’s job to help you achieve a defined result. 

Because a mentor is more of a personal relationship, they might not help you with a specific goal. 

Now, is one better than the other? Not necessarily. 

It depends on the type of support you’re looking for. 

I’ve had many coaches and mentors in my business journey that have helped me hugely. I recommend both. 

But I will caveat that business coaches are easier to find than mentors. 

You’ll see why in the next section.

How do you find a good coach or mentor?

So now we’ve defined what coaches and mentors are, let’s talk about finding one.

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Here are the top places to find business coaches and mentors: 

Your network 

Mentors are usually part of your network – your old boss, your family member, or a friend of a friend. 

These are all candidates for business mentors if they have skills you want to learn from. 

You can find great business coaches this way, too. First-hand recommendations are a great place to start your search.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the number one social media platform for networking professionals.  

You can find business coaches and potential mentors on LinkedIn. 

If you’re looking for a business coach, you can type “business coach” in the search bar on the platform. 

Mentors take longer to find. Reach out to people whose work you admire and start a conversation.

Blogs

As you search for information and read blogs, you’ll find that many are written by business coaches.

Take me for example. 

A few years ago, I shared a guest post on the website GrowthLab, which was part of I Will Teach You to Be Rich. 

A lot of people loved that post and several of them decided to sign up for my private and group coaching programs. 

So check out trusted entrepreneurial publications and see if the thought leaders they feature do business coaching. 

Instagram

Instagram is a great place to find business coaches. You can search hashtags like #coach or #businesscoach to find accounts to follow. 

Adding location tags will help you find coaches in your area if that’s important to you. 

It’s harder to find mentors on Instagram but not impossible. However, you will need to invest significant time into building that relationship. 

Events

One of the best ways to connect with potential mentors and coaches is to attend industry events

You broaden your network and might get one-on-one time with people who otherwise are somewhat hard to reach. 

Similarly, you might connect with business coaches at the events. 

Online communities

Online communities like Reddit forums, Facebook groups, and memberships are great resources for finding business coaches. 

You can post in the group that you’re searching for a coach and get recommendations from others.

Some online memberships also run mentorship programs for their members. If you belong to an association or alumni group for your industry or school, ask if they have a mentoring program.

Your own proactiveness

Look: Sometimes you have to take things into your own hands. 

Try creating your own events or masterminds to bring people in your industry together. There you’ll be able to grow communities where you can find potential mentors and coaches. 

For more on my thoughts about finding the right mentor or coach for you, check out this video:

How do you choose a mentor? 

Ever heard that a mentor is a senior executive in your company that you can just walk up to and ask to be their mentee? 

This is the wrong approach and here’s why. 

Cold pitching yourself as a mentee to someone you don’t know just doesn’t work. 

You’re basically asking them to invest their free time in you. 

Why would they do that for a stranger?

Also, remember you want them to mentor you because they are successful. 

Successful people are busy.

So they need a reason to pick YOU as a mentee out of everyone who asks for their time.

Mentorships tend to be much more organic.  

So first, look at your network. Who do you already have a connection with that could offer some career advice?

Then you want to offer them value in exchange for their time. 

This could be a coffee or lunch on you. Because you already have a connection, this person would probably be happy to be treated by you while you ask for advice. 

If you don’t have anyone in your circle that you could consider a mentor, go to the previous section and start making connections. 

It takes time but a worthy mentor will find you eventually. 

How do you choose a business coach?

We’ve talked about how valuable a business coach can be. And I’m proof of that. 

I’ve gotten a 5-10x ROI with most of the business coaches I’ve worked with.

But early in my business, I worked with a coach… and wasted $18,000 in the process. 

Long story short, this coach was completely unqualified. Because she didn’t know how to answer my questions or have a clear understanding of my goals, I didn’t get anywhere by working with her. 

Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Here’s a cheat code to finding the right coach for you:

  • Do they have proof of results? Look at client success stories, testimonials, and public feedback. Do they walk their talk? 
  • Do they heavily focus on how much they make? Sure, I mention it in my blogs to gain the trust of my readers, but in very vague terms. A good business coach won’t sell you pipe dreams on how to make seven figures in 30 days.
  • Do they have a one size fits all approach? If a business coach can’t tailor their advice to your unique circumstances, they’re not a good strategist. You want a coach who wants to understand your business and work with you to find solutions. 
  • Do they have experience in your industry? Now this isn’t that important. Yes, it helps if your coach has insider knowledge of your particular industry. But an outside perspective is helpful too. The key is that they know how your business works. 
  • Do you identify with their message? Business coaches all have different styles. Take me for example. I have a straightforward, casual big sister style. I’m no fluff and straight to the point. That approach doesn’t work for everyone and that’s okay. Consume the content of the business coach you’re interested in to see if you align with their style.
  • Do you feel listened to? Once you have a shortlist of coaches that look credible, set up a call. Make sure you feel comfortable and confident talking to them. 

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I know it sounds like A LOT of criteria for a business coach. But think about what’s at stake. 

The right business coach can be the best decision you ever make. 

The wrong business coach can be one of the most expensive mistakes you’ll ever make. 

Remember, you’re searching for your accountability buddy, strategist, and trusted advisor.

So choose wisely. 

The top business coaches for entrepreneurs 

There are thousands of offline and online business coaches out there who can help you succeed. Here’s a shortlist, including my own business and a few other coaches. (Note! I haven’t used their services but these recommendations are based on reviews and reputation of these businesses.)

LuisaZhou.com

If you don’t know me, hi! I’m Luisa Zhou, and I’m a business coach and mentor. I offer limited one-on-one and mastermind coaching, as well as self-study courses. With over 10 years of business experience, building multi-seven-figure companies, I teach my clients the blueprint I wish I had from the beginning. I also sit on an investment committee and have coached 1,000+ people to start their online businesses. 

Jay Abraham

Jay Abraham is one of the original business coaches. He has a highly selective process if you want to become his student. As a proven business thought leader, he has coached over 10,000 clients in over 1,000 industries.

EMyth

EMyth offers online business coaching services that connect you to a professional coach. These coaches are top quality and they follow a comprehensive business coaching program. They’re focused on mentoring you as a business owner to get the results you want, no matter the industry you’re in. 

And if you want to familiarize yourself with the EMyth methodology, I can wholeheartedly recommend “EMyth Revisited,” one of my favourite books for small business owners.

Online programs 

Look:

If you can’t afford a business coach right now, you CAN build a business without one. 

Sure, later on, business coaches can be tremendously helpful, but you can get your first clients on your own. 

But if you want some help, an online program could be the right move for you. 

My program Employee to Entrepreneur is a step-by-step roadmap to business success. I’ve helped thousands of students get free from their 9-to-5 with this course. So if you want a lower-cost way of working with a professional business coach, this is a great option. 

Next steps

So now you know how to find a business coach or mentor to take your business to the next level. 

What it comes down to is that you decide which one you need, start your search, and do your due diligence. 

What’s the next step to starting your business? 

Then, get my proven blueprint for building a successful business: 

Want to Build a 6-Figure Coaching Business So You Can Achieve More Freedom?

Get Instant Access To My FREE Ultimate Guide Below!

When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

Read more

Find a Business Coach for Coaches

What Makes a Great Coach? 

How to Become a Business Coach

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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