Don’t crowdsource your business coach or consultant. Use these 10 research steps and questions to interview and hire the “right” one for you.

Regardless of whether you are just starting your business or you’ve been in business awhile, there will undoubtedly come a time when you are just stuck!   No matter what you do, it seems you end up in the same place over and over again.  The sooner you can recognize that you are up against a wall and need some help getting over, the faster you will move on to the next phase of your business. 


Check out these 10 steps to help you decide what you need:


1. Identify the Problem.

Just ask the question, have I been in this same position before, regardless of doing new things and trying to make changes?  If the answer is yes, you probably just need a bit of help getting to the next level.


2. Coach or Consultant? (C/C)

Do you know which you need?  To help you decide, think of a Coach as someone who helps you be the best you can be and a consultant is someone who helps you find and use the right tools, processes, etc.  If we compare your situation to going to a gym, a Consultant will help you design the perfect plan to meet your goals.  They will tell you the best machines to use and at what intervals along with the correct diet plan. A Coach will help you decide if you want to bulk up or slim down and push you just a bit further than you think you can go once you’ve decided what your goals are.  Your Coach will also help you get back on track when you start slacking.  Ideally, having a business Consultant who is capable of coaching you to success will be your best bet.


3. Personality

What type of person do you work best with?  Will you work better with a passive personality?  Or someone who drives hard?  Someone who is all about the facts?  Or is interested in your feelings?  Someone that tells you their way is the right way, giving you their direction?  Or someone who helps you determine your direction and then takes you there?


4. Needs

What do you need?  Do you need general business advice, industry specific information, new skills, help setting your own direction/course, tools and equipment, or?  Figure this out before you begin shopping for help to ensure that you get the help that will actually take you where you need to go.


5. Expertise

What is the area of expertise that potential C/Cs bring to the table?  Is their scope of service wide or narrow?  Is their experience learned or lived?  Do they have continuing education in their areas of expertise?  Do they believe in the value of Coaching and Consulting as evidenced by their use of the same?  Decide what you expect and actively look for that expertise.


6. Availability of C/Cs

How available will your C/C be?  For what period of time and in what manner?  Are there certain days and times that you will have to go it alone or is there support in some form at all times.  Understand what level of availability is included in your price.


7. Commitment Level 

How committed are you to change?  If you are not fully committed to making changes in either yourself or your company, no amount of consulting or coaching will change your position.  You must be ready to do exactly what the experts tell you is necessary to get the results you want.


8. Support and Follow-up Options

Is there continuing support available when the program or contract is complete?  Most people will need ongoing support as they continue to make changes based on new knowledge and plans.  Sometimes we start going to a new gym but then get sick, injured, or bored and slowly the old habits can creep back in.  How will your C/C address this natural tendency?


9. The Price

Is the price linked to the value?  What services, resources, tools, etc. are being provided by the C/C?  Higher value offerings will carry a higher price tag.  The price you pay should accurately reflect the value of the services you receive. 


10. Results

What is the ROI for the price you will pay?  Oftentimes a single large purchase can seem to be more expensive when in reality the ROI far outweighs the amount paid.  How will you measure your success in terms of results?  Make this decision up front and the C/C option becomes much clearer.


It may not be an easy decision to make, but there is no disputing that going through this rigorous process will ultimately lead you to better understanding of your true needs.

Liz Trotter has over 10 years experience as a business consultant and coach. She is founder of American Maid Cleaning and is a former ARCSI board member. Liz is a partner in Cleaning Business Builders, a consulting/coaching company known for its Foundations of Success program.