4 Common Problems With Business Coaching

If you’re considering investing in good business coaching and have done any research on the web you have probably run into some review or discussion of the challenges, issues, and problems.

The purpose of this article is to honestly address, with full disclosure, four of the most common problems associated with business coaching and business coaches.  

We will also provide you with a helpful checklist that you can use to find the right business coach and business coaching system for you and your powerful business.  

At Business On Purpose we are on a mission to serve heroic business owners and their key leaders by helping them build real-world systems, processes, and articulated purpose using the Business On Purpose Roadmap in an effort to liberate business owners from the chaos of working IN the business, and to make time for what matters most.

We’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of business owners and their key leaders on six different continents.  Wow!  That’s crazy to think about.  

Nope, not every client has received the results that we know they could have enjoyed.  We coached for thousands of hours and have a front row seat to the good, the bad, and the ugly of business coaching both on the coaching side and the client side.

We’re sharing this in the hopes that you will use it to be fully prepared for your business coaching experience.

 

Here are the four most common problems among coaches and coaching programs…

1. The Promise To “10X”

2. Won’t Hold Your Feet To The Fire

3. Talk A Big Game, Then Fail To Show Up

4. Become Your Counselor Instead Of Your Business Coach

Business Coaching Problem #1:

“We’ll 10X your Business”

Do a simple search of business coaching and you will be inundated with screaming personalities promising to “10X…20X…100X your business”!  We call that the “3 Minute Abs” of business coaching.  

Seriously?  Three minutes a day?  Rock hard abs?  

Here is the reality, owning a business is hard.  It’s hard if you have an easy product to sell.  It’s hard if you have a hard product to sell. 

Owning a business is hard.

Yes, you can have a business that runs and operates without your day-to-day involvement, but you have to work for it.

Think about things in the natural world, there is not much that grows “10X” overnight (animals, trees, etc.).

Instead, make a commitment to steady, thoughtful, vision-based, intentional growth.  That may be “10X”…or “1.9X”.  It may even be NEGATIVE X.  That’s right, we’ve had some clients articulate a vision to actually decrease  their revenue, so they can increase their margin.

There is no guarantee that any coaching program can “10X” your business, and my question to you is…”if you had 10 times the revenue generated by next month, would your business/team be ready to handle it?”  Probably not.

 

Instead, engage with a coach who will thoughtfully lay out the roadmap starting with a clear, multi-page, articulate vision of your future.

Problem: We’ll 10X your business overnight!

Solution: Invest in a coach that will thoughtfully help you articulate and implement a powerful vision story

Business Coaching Problem #2:

Won’t Hold Your Feet To The Fire

You remember that coach you had growing up?  You know, the one who caught you not running the last lap, or putting in the last rep?

Did they just let you walk?  Heck no!  

Business coaching fatigue can set in for both coach and business owner which is why you need a coach who has a system for repeatable coaching meetings.

For example, at Business On Purpose, our meeting flow is simple, highly accountable, and looks like this:

  1. BIG Wins (yep, every meeting we ask for them…it’s one of our core values too!)
  2. Accountability on action items from last coaching meeting
  3. Coaching: next step on the Roadmap
  4. Accountability and homework for next coaching meeting
  5. Follow up communications with link to WRITTEN homework

Problem: Coach won’t hold your feet to the fire

Solution: Invest in coaching that has a documented (ask to see it written down) coaching process that is focused on accountability and implementation

Business Coaching Problem #3:

Talk A Big Game Then Fail To Show Up

I’ll be honest with you, the barrier to entry for business coaches, marketers, window washers, and psychics is really low.  Anybody can call themselves a business coach. 

It would seem that the easiest method of sniffing out the good from the bad coaches would be to see a certificate or credential.

It reminds me of this saying I heard, “you know what they call the person who finished dead last in medical school?  Doctor.”

Trust me, I have met plenty of good credentialed coaches, and plenty of not-so-good credentialed coaches.

Actually, now that I think about it, most of the really good coaches I know do not have a coaching certificate.  

Personally, in my first five years as a coach I was asked about my credentials only two times.  Ironically, both times were from other coaches!  

A business coaches past and current clients (who have seriously implemented the coaching) are their certificate, their credential, their letter of recommendation. 

A good coach will not hesitate to put you in touch with other clients that they have served both in the past and currently.

 

Just ask. 

Problem: Talks a big game

Solution: Ask to speak with other clients

Business Coaching Problem #4:

Becomes your counselor instead of your business coach

This is a tough one for me.  I am convinced through years of intentional conversation and coaching that life and business necessarily intersect.

There is not a human on the planet who can completely ignore home life while at work and vice versa.

There are plenty of times where our coaching conversation bleeds over into personal and home issues.

A good business coach will constantly remind herself, “I made a commitment to serve this business owner and their business which could necessarily involve elements of their home and family.”

At the same time a good business coach will leave the professional counseling to the professional counselors.  Advising in the non-personified systems and process of business are absolutely not the same as advising on the very personified elements of the human soul and psyche.

A good business coach will be well-networked with licensed counselors, attorneys, financial advisors, and other professional services and has unique access to serve as a quarterback to get the business owner the appropriate support in the appropriate situation.

 

Problem: The coach becomes the counselor

Solution: Work with a business coach who has a well connected professional network

I would be remiss to write an article on the problems of coaching and just focus on the coach.  Business coaching is certainly a relationship that takes the focus and effort of both coach and business owner. 

Here are the 5 most common problems among business owners investing in a business coach…

1. Lack of implementation

2. Team doesn’t “buy in”

3. Want a Genie In A Bottle

4. Not enough revenue (or even the potential for enough revenue)

5. TOTALLY overthink the coaching decision

 

Business Owner Problem #1:

Lack of implementation

Joe Calloway said,

“Vision without implementation is hallucination.”  

To put it plainly the best business coaching leverages a well-built, predictable, methodical roadmap and then obsesses on accountability and implementation.

If a business owner is unwilling to put in the hard work (usually at least 2-5 hours per week) of implementation, then not even the best business coach in the world can help produce results.

Why is it that many of our business owners have results that one local peer described just yesterday as, “unbelievable”, and yet a few see nothing at all? 

As coaches we can go back and see in their notes where there is a repeated pattern of what Physicians would call, “noncompliance”. 

In other words, if the Doctor prescribes the medicine, there is nothing he can do to produce results unless the patient complies and swallows the pill.

Business coaching can be a tough pill to swallow at times.

Freedom obsessed owners will commit, come what may, to swallow the helpful pill of coaching and implement over and over while pushing and encouraging their team to do the same.

Business Owner Problem #2:

Team doesn’t “buy in”

Business owners have an incredibly important role of leadership.  An overlooked law of leadership is the simple law of communication.

Business owners often have little to no regularly, consistent communication with their teams.  

“We talk all throughout the day” is a common statement we hear from business owners, and what it usually means is that communication comes in chaotic fits and spurts in response to the various fires blazing throughout the business leaving little time for vision-centered, thoughtful, intentional discussion.

Good business coaching will invite both business owner(s) and key leader(s) into a roadmap guided journey of discovery, installation, and implementation of health into the business.  This invitation will only embed itself with healthy communication around the purpose of business coaching.

You will be surprised, most team members want business coaching to come and bring clarity.

Business Owner Problem #3:

Wants a Genie In A Bottle

Business is hard.  Simon Sinek calls it the “infinite game”.  You don’t arrive.  It is a continual journey and we have to be ready both for the moments sitting in the calm of the harbour, and for navigating the unpredictable waters of the open waters.

Just as there is no magic to quickly maneuver a sailboat from the flat coast of Hilton Head Island, SC to the rocky cliffs of Cinque Terre, Italy, there is also no magic allowing a business owner to “arrive” at their vision without great effort in leadership, accountability, and implementation.

There are no “secrets” to building a healthy business.  Just a roadmap and hard work hence our rule #1 above.

Business Owner Problem #4:

Not enough revenue or profit

Following our rule #2 above, a business coach will never be able to make revenue magically appear.  

A business coach may be able to identify new sources of revenue, but the business owner and key leaders ultimately have to install and implement the idea.

Debt can crush a business and can often mask poor management.

It took only weeks into the 2020 COVID pandemic before iconic brands began to shutter and ultimately crack.  Why?  Debt.

JCPenney, Hertz, Neiman Marcus, Evinrude, Dean & Deluca, J Crew, Pier One, Tuesday Morning, and Virgin Australia…all filing bankruptcy due to crushing debt.

One value of a privately held small business is found in being able to have accessibility to cash without owning payouts to other stakeholders.  

Business Owner Problem #5:

Overthinking And Trying To “Time The Market”

The owner of a local small business told one of our coaches, “maybe we can start late in the year when things slow down for us, then we can focus.”

It will never slow down.  

The best time to begin a relationship with a business coach was when you started your business.

The second best time is today.

Chaos is present when business is slow and when business is “crazy busy”.  Your business, your family, your friends, your stakeholders are all thinking the same thing, “I wish she would get started with a business coach so they can stop being stressed out all of the time.”

It’s rarely a good idea to “time the market” in stock investing, nor is it wise to “time the market” in business coaching.  

 

Just start and keep investing.

Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters.  Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.