May 19

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: 4 qualities to look for in your coach

qualities-in-your-coachYou’ve poured over your company’s balance sheets and attempted every in-house training you can think of — but your business still seems shaky.

Solution: Now may be the time to bring in a business coach, says Gary Hensen, president and founder of A coach can help you “focus on your goals, make concrete plans, and work towards executing them in an effective manner,” he explains.

Remember: Not every coach is created equal. Look for these professional qualities in yours:

  • Accountability. Your coach’s job is to whip you and your employees into shape. That means he must be accountable for pushing you toward excellence — but it also means that he must help you be more accountable for the decisions you make each day. How: A business coach might ask you to list your duties and responsibilities, and their effect on the company. Then he might help you prioritize and streamline your obligations so that they are more effective.
  • Open communication. When you hire a coach for your company, you must ensure that he communicates his ideas and strategies effectively. For instance, if he wants to make a change, he should be able to explain concisely why the change is important, how it will happen, and what bumps you’ll encounter in the process. Best: Before you sign a coaching contract, take a few days to interact with the coach. Does he respond effectively to emails or telephone calls? Do you understand what he hopes to help you accomplish? If not, you may want to keep looking.
  • Strategic planning. Anyone can tell you what you’re doing wrong, but a good business coach will also help you figure out ways to correct those problems and get your company moving in the right direction. Do this: Ask a potential coach to share a few of the winning strategies he has developed for other companies. Find out what challenges he overcame to develop that successful plan.
  • Leadership development. Your coach isn’t just a problem solver — he should also a teacher. Ask him how he’ll turn your employees into leaders.
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