Don't Hire A Business Coach Who Can't Answer These 7 Questions

Don't you just hate the emails and cold calls (not to mention the social media spam) from business coaches trying to convince you they have all the answers to why your business isn't growing? Next time they call, turn the tables.

Here are seven questions to ask them about their business. The quality of their answers will tell you everything you need to know about whether you can trust them to help you with yours:
  1. "Can you give me an embarrassing example of how your own coaching business isn't living up to your core values and what you're doing to change that?"

    Everybody has their weaknesses. And you'll never trust a coach with yours if they won't own up to some of theirs.

  2. "Who is your ideal coaching client? Not what kind of business but what kind of person do you love working with?"

    If a coach doesn't know who they're passionate about serving and why, they haven't done the real work of branding and marketing, and will struggle to help you with yours.

  3. "Have you ever owned or run a business that failed?"

    Even if they've had success before, can you really know why? Find out how they dealt with failure - that's the window you need into who they are professionally and personally.

  4. "What systems do you have in place in your business to manage expenses and stabilize cash flow?"

    I heard a prominent voice in our industry say recently that you don't have to know about business to be a business coach. This is straight crazy. A coach doesn't just have to know about business, they better know how to run one ... their own!

  5. "What is your definition of success?"

    Does it match your own definition in the ways that matter? You want a coach who shares your perspective on what makes a meaningful and rich life - how else can they help you get there?

  6. "What is business coaching anyway? Sounds like some mish-mosh of consulting and therapy ... do I have that right?"

    Your coach's ability to answer this question is critical to the long term success of your relationship. Here's a guide to see how clear they are on some subtle but absolutely critical boundaries.

  7. "We've been talking for 45 minutes now - what's your intuition tell you about the dysfunction in my business or in me as the leader?"

    If they haven't gotten under your skin with at least one tough question yet, or worse haven't thought of one, they're probably in the wrong profession.

Behind these seven questions is the one big one you're really looking for an answer to: Is this person for real?

Wait for it.

Topics: Coaching

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Jonathan Raymond

Written by Jonathan Raymond

Jonathan was a frequent contributor to the EMyth blog from 2011-2015. His articles focus on marketing, branding, and organizational culture.

See all of Jonathan's posts.