Top 10 frequently asked questions about coaching, mentoring and advisors

1. Surely I will only use a coach when my business is not doing well?

 This is incorrect. Does a top sportsman or woman only use a coach when his game is bad? Of course not! He has a coach with him all the time to focus his game, perform at his peak and help him achieve his goals. The same is true in your business and for you. According to a recent report published by gov.uk, companies that seek external support are 94% more likely to successfully grow

2. What is the difference between a mentor, an advisor and a coach?

 A mentor is someone who has been there, done it, wears the T-shirt proudly, shouts loudly about it and is capable of helping someone else to do the same thing. This probably means that they have worked at the same level, in the same industry or something very similar, to be able to mentor effectively.

An advisor is someone who has a far broader skill set. Has more experience and the ability to question the business owner on their decisions in order to help develop plans. They take an overall view of a business and help define a strategy and plan to move the business forward. They understand all the roles within an organisation and the implications of any changes proposed and then help implement them in a very hands on way. An advisor will be directive and ‘tell you’.

A coach is someone with an even greater field of experience. They help steer a business in a very strategic way, but they don’t become involved in the day-to-day implementation of plans in a business. A coach is going to question more then direct.

So each has a distinct role to play within a business, maybe at different times within the life of a business. Focusing on a sector I have spent my career working in enables me to provide all three roles to my clients.

3. Isn’t coaching just the trendy new idea and not really that useful?

 Not at all, coaching has been around for a long time (behind every successful sports person is a successful coach) and is highly successful in helping teams and individuals focus, grow and excel.

4. This sounds like it could cost me a lot of money and take a long time?

 Quite the opposite. Some coaching assignments last 2-3 sessions and some coaching projects support businesses and individuals through a longer period of change. When we meet I will carry out a ‘fact find’ and discuss what the coaching programme needs to look like for you. This way you get a clear idea of the length of time and budget you need to allocate.

5. What is the difference between coaching and consulting?

  Good question! A consultant takes the problem away, solves it and brings you the solution then leaves. They are very hands on but who ‘owns’ the knowledge? As a coaching I use a structured approach to work with YOU to solve the problem. So when the project is finished, not only do you retain the intellect but also you can use this knowledge elsewhere in your business (and in your life!).

6. What is the difference between coaching and counselling/therapy?

 In a nutshell, counselling and therapy is typically backward looking (‘tell me about your childhood?’) and coaching is forward looking (‘what do we need to do now to make a change?’). My coaching style is very pragmatic and uses no ‘mumbo jumbo’ or gimmicky techniques.

7. How quickly will I see results?

 This is an easy question; you will be able to see your business from a different perspective and have new tools and approaches to use from the first session.

8. What would I look for in a good coach?

 Most importantly, do you feel comfortable with them? Do they empathise with you? What is their background? What is their training and experience? Do they come recommended? Ask for examples of the work they have done with other clients and ask to speak with these clients.

9. What typically are the issues a business has when they call in a coach?

  Anything from ‘I want to grow my business’, ‘I need to create a vision and plan for the future’, ‘Revenues need to increase’, ‘I want to sell my business’, ‘I need some members of staff to perform more effectively’ to ‘I used to love my job now it just feels like an up hill struggle’.

10. Why should I chose you as my coach?

Well of course you don’t have to and much of it comes down to chemistry – which is why I insist we first meet for a ‘match’ meeting.  However, having started, grown and sold my own business (a marketing agency) and more recently, coached for nearly 10 years, I am well positioned to help you.