A Modern Business Coach

To understand the profession of a business coach, you need to answer the question: “What exactly should a business coach do? What is its purpose? ” Usually, beginners and even experienced business coaches believe that the task of a coach is to inspire, motivate, be a leader, etc. But few believe that a business coach should teach. Teaching is the professional mission of a coach in the business.

Qualities of a business coach that’s in demand today

High turbulence and rapid changes in the world, in business, are reflected in the training and development of personnel. The tools that are effective today may become obsolete tomorrow and will be replaced by new and new applied discoveries. At the forefront of these processes are, as you might guess, business coaches. It is business coaches who have to be the first to face these changes, look for something new, and change themselves.

See how the perception of business coaches and business training has changed. Yesterday the coach had enough experience, charisma, mastery of a set of proven techniques and tools, and a fortunate coincidence. But now charisma alone is not enough. Business training forms a separate industry with its own rules and regulations. Business companies, structural divisions responsible for training and development of employees and managers, corporate universities develop and put into circulation the competence of a business coach. There are corporate assessments of the selection of external trainers attendees, as well as business training programs for company personnel.

Who goes to business coaches?

In the ranks, you can meet people with a wide variety of backgrounds. Firstly, these are business representatives, owners or managers, with solid experience in business work, who – suddenly or overtime – decided to change their lifestyle and share their knowledge and experience. Secondly, they are qualified psychologists. Psychological education is an excellent platform for adult education, you just need to improve your own business competencies. 

It is no coincidence that among business coaches, heads of education, and personnel development departments, there are many people who graduated from the faculties of psychology. Thirdly, among business coaches, you can see many university and business school teachers; corporate trainers and HR specialists are also often involved in business training.

What a business coach should be able to do?

We can distinguish three groups of basic competencies of a business coach

  1. Subject area competence
  2. Oratory
  3. Coaching competence (methodical, instrumental)

A modern business coach must be able to analyze a request for training managers and employees, develop and offer a business training program for this request (i.e., develop an algorithm for teaching a skill). Next, you need to be able to plan the learning process, set goals and objectives for the training, and achieve their implementation. The effectiveness of training – to teach people a skill or skill that can be applied at work – is the effectiveness of a business coach.

Coaching skills are today compared to the ability of a coach to “package” content into a variety of activities that make it possible to reveal the experience of participants, apply it, help share this experience, and also motivate and involve people in training. This is another important skill for a coach – the ability to moderate and manage the learning process.

Note that training alone is not always enough for effective skills training. Therefore, it is important for a business trainer to provide for any post-training events – webinars, individual Skype sessions, face-to-face classes, etc. – that reinforce the mastery of skills.

How does a business coach differ from a facilitator and a coach?

The facilitator, using certain technologies and tools, helps people “unpack” their inner resources. First of all, it is about the experience: the facilitator “pulls out” this experience, helps the group to evaluate it, structure it, develop options for use, improvement. Facilitation is useful for strategic sessions and meetings, foresight sessions when the business is immersed in deciding how to develop further and what we will take into our future from our past. As you can see, the facilitator performs a kind of technical function, but he does not bring anything new – no new resources, no increase in skills and abilities occurs, because this is not a facilitation task.

On the contrary, a business coach brings new resources to the group of learning managers and employees – new information, new skills and knowledge, new technologies. He increases the resource of the group, as this is his coaching task. It is also important that the profession of a business coach also presupposes the possession of facilitation skills.

Business coach and market challenges

The first thing that the market has “prepared” for the modern business coach is content depreciation. Today, information is open and accessible to everyone, it is rarely possible to achieve a unique training program, but having achieved it, it is unlikely that you will surprise anyone – after all, the customers themselves, clients, have become competent and even spoiled.

Competition among business coaches in the free market has intensified. To “enter” a company, there is already little experience of working with it in the past or to conduct an impressive demo-training – in many cases, you need to take part and win a competition (tender).

The state of modern business (fierce competition, high turbulence and unpredictability) leaves an imprint on the demands in business training. It is believed that people lack good emotions, joy, humanity, lack the ability to cope with negative or turn it into positive. Therefore, in today’s market, business coaches who have emotional capital themselves and can help other people to “unpack” and use their emotions in a useful way are of great value.

In the face of strong professional competition, today we can observe the phenomenon of business coach burnout. To cope with this “disease” a business coach must always have a certain amount of freedom, a field for creativity. Freelance trainers in this sense, of course, win in comparison with the internal trainers of business companies, who often work on the flow, on the conveyor, so they quickly “burn out”.

So, a modern business coach should:

  1. be able to quickly create training for specific business tasks
  2. have the image of an expert in their field – sales, management skills, negotiations, communications, etc.
  3. own modern techniques
  4. be able to “unpack” emotions
  5. create your own coaching style – not copy someone, any business training guru, but look for your own, your own, relying on your own character, your own ideas, your own feelings
  6. be able to “sell” yourself. Surely you have noticed that today in the top business coaches of the country are by no means the best coaches professionally, but those who are more successful in personal marketing, who know how to position and “sell” themselves.

Rob Prosser