« Is it really beneficial to hire a business coach? » This is a question that most business owners and executives ask themselves when come the time to hire a business coach. Here is food for thought.

An interesting article published on Forbes in 2011 identifies a study from Price Waterhouse Cooper that concluded that the average return on investment (ROI) of hiring a coach is 7 to 1 while 25% of people surveyed report an ROI ranging from 10 to 49 the investment.

The reason is simple: when the leadership of a business leads by example, whether the owner, CEO, or executives, the team usually goes with the flow.

Why is hiring a business coach a profitable move?

Because the business coach is a seasoned entrepreneur that asks more questions than he answers, which forces you to think about your business from different standpoints that you are used to.

The coach will also ask tough questions and raise problems that should be discussed around the table but that are not.

Leaders such as Steve Jobs (Apple), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) et Eric Schmitt (Google) all had the renowned Bill Campbell as a coach.

In an interview published in 2009 on Fortune Magazine called The Best Advice I Ever Got, Eric Schmitt explained how he felt about hiring a business coach:

« How could a coach advise me if I’m the best person in the world at this? But that’s not what a coach does. The coach doesn’t have to play the sport as well as you do. They have to watch you and get you to be your best. […] A coach is somebody who looks at something with another set of eyes, describes it to you in [his] words, and discusses how to approach the problem. »

Let’s take Eugenie Bouchard, our famed Canadian tennis woman for example.

Although she can probably easily beat 99,999999% of the people on the planet(!), she still requires the help of a coach to further improve her performance as, in order to become the world’s best and to dominate her sport, she must excel.

Athletes and business leaders have this in common: they address ambitious challenges and need to improve so as to excel in their environment.

A study on executive coaching published in 2013 by the Stanford Graduate School Of Business of 2013 summarizes how CEOs perceive business coaching:

  • 2/3 of CEOs do not have executive coaching but nearly 100% appreciate receiving advice.
  • « Alone at the top » is the concept that resonates the most with them.
  • The People aspect of the business is the one where advice is most welcome, in particular:
    • How to better manage conflicts and interpersonal communications
    • How to develop talents internally in the business.

How to choose a business coach?

  • There is a question of « fit » between the management team and the coach, as the latter will take you out of your comfort zone, which is normal to bring changes.
  • The business coach must have a solid entrepreneurial background combined with great business success, which will allow him to quickly understand your challenges and be able to guide you through solutions that can help bring positive changes.
  • The coach must have access to a « tool kit », a method to help solve most situations that could slow down businesses growth. Without such a method, a coach can still identify bottlenecks but won’t be as helpful in finding a solution and guiding through the implementation stage.

How much does a business coach cost?

A business coach is expensive. But let me invite you to look at it from another angle: Let’s imagine that the business coach can bring to the table 1 to 49 times what he costs, how is the cost relevant?

And if you could double your revenues in the next four years, increase your profit margin, AND have more quality time, how much would this be worth?

Obviously, nobody should spend a dime if there is no result. Make sure that the coach fees are tied to an increase in performance.

Sometimes, results are not tangible but they should usually have an impact on the business culture and on the Profit and Loss statement.

In conclusion

A business coach empowers CEOs and executives by providing a different perspective, guiding them through strategic thinking, and providing tools to improve the execution planning process.