Ultimate List: What to Ask When Hiring a Business Coach

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The problem many people encounter when hiring a business coach or consultant is they only see the finished work.

There is a difference between being able to do the work yourself and then being able to teach someone else processes and concepts.

Discovery calls are similar to job interviews. They are an opportunity for both parties to see if the relationship will be a good fit to help each other grow in business. Discovery calls are not a commitment to purchase. Just like an interview is not a guarantee of employment. 😉

Conducting your own due diligence should include online research ahead of time, asking questions during the discovery call, and follow up research. When hiring someone to help you achieve a desired result there are different roles.

  • Employee or contractor does the work for you.
  • Coach or consultant advises you how to achieve a desired result based on their training and experience.

The main difference between the two is delegating the work vs. learning the work. When you are hiring a business coach or consultant you are committing to learning and execution.

I’ve talked about the importance of discovery call before (HERE). However, there are times when you may not know what to ask or look for when doing your own research. Below are my suggested questions to help you find the best coach for your desired results.

Before the Call

When I’m doing my own research I start with their website reading the about, service page, and then blog posts. Then I browse through their social profiles, look at their LinkedIn profile, and look for reviews.

How much you can figure out before the call will help determine what questions you ask during the call.

  • What is their specialty? Are they a Jack/Jane-of-all trades or do they have specific areas of proven expertise?
  • What is their process? (VIEW EXAMPLE)
  • What are their payment terms?
  • Who have they worked with previously and what results were obtained?
  • What are examples of their work?
  • How long have they been in business?
    • Is this full-time or part-time?
    • If they are a newer business owner, what was their previous professional experience?
  • What is the value of the content they share online? Is it descriptive so you can take action? Or is it general and somewhat vague?

During the Call

Take notes during the call for you own reference and because their answers may prompt new questions.

*NOTE: For information you found prior to the call, confirm that it is still correct during the call. In the event, a webpage wasn’t updated.

  • Have they faced this challenge (your example) before or have they helped someone else in a similar situation?
    • If yes, are they able to share an overview of steps taken?
    • If no, what are steps they would take?
    • NOTE: Keep in mind they may not be able to provide detailed examples due to privacy. However, they can still speak in general terms.
  • If there is a specific app, resource, or tool attached to your desired result ask about their experience. How have they used it previously?
    • What worked well for them?
    • What challenges did they encounter and how did they overcome them?
  • What is their coaching process?
  • How often will you meet and for how long? Will it be by phone, video, or in person?
  • Are you able to email and what are the conditions/boundaries?
  • Are you able to text and what are the condition/boundaries?
  • How will documents be shared?
  • What will be expected of you in terms of work?
  • What are the payment terms?
  • What happens when there is a disagreement? What are the stages up to and including cancellation?
  • Do they have references from past clients or peers of completed projects you can speak to?

After the Call

Review your notes from the call.

  • What did you like? What would make the relationship a good fit?
  • What caused you to pause? What additional questions came up you need to research or follow-up on?
  • Will they be someone you can build a relationship with?
    • Are your personalities compatible for this working relationship?
    • You don’t need to be friends, but can you have candid conversations? Or are you so enamored that you won’t be able to say anything?
    • Do you respect this person?
  • Who can you reach out to for additional insight? Were they referred? Are there trusted industry peers you who can vouch for them? Keep in mind everyone’s experience will be different due to circumstances and personalities.

These questions were created so you don’t have to go blindly into a coaching relationship. They give you the confidence to ask the right questions when hiring a business coach or consultant so you can invest wisely.

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