Our fifth podcast episode features our host, Jane Tweedy Founder of FAQ Business Training solo again (guests are coming soon!!). Jane sticks with our pillars of thought leadership and actionable education. In business groups and forums, people are regularly asking for business coach recommendations. However, business coaching is often not what they want or need. In this episode we look at do you need a business coach or a business advisor?
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Disclaimer – All information provided today is general in nature. Please reach out to Jane for personalised advice. Please check out our business advisory and business coaching services here.
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FAQ Business Podcast Ep5 transcription
00:02 Many people ask for business coach recommendations
I see many posts of people asking for business coaches. And then the person will elaborate, and they say they need help with their marketing. They need help with pricing. Or they need someone in the industry.
00:14 Often a business coach is not what they want or need
Typically when they make these additional requests, it actually shows that a business coach is not actually what they’re asking for. Rather, they’re asking for a business advisor, a business consultant, or a business mentor.
So why has this become the case? Often, the word business coach is used as an umbrella term to cover all of these services that can be provided to businesses.
00:39 Professional Certified Coach has strict coach criteria
As a Professional Certified Coach, I find this kind of frustrating, because we have strict criteria about what a business coach actually does, and often what people are asking for simply isn’t. So how about a bit of education.
Today we are giving you a bit of actionable education and a bit of thought leadership, and making you realise what is the difference between all of these different things that we can provide, and what you actually need to help you and your business.
01:15 Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast
Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast for growing small to medium business owners who want to make a positive difference. The FAQ Business Podcast covers four key pillars, actionable education, inspiring leaders, businesses like you for relatability, and thought leadership, where we really challenge your thinking.
It’s hosted by myself Jane Tweedy, founder and lead trainer of FAQ Business Training, where we want to avoid you getting ripped off or ripping yourself off because of what you don’t know you don’t know. We’ll feature an amazing diversity of guests with lots to offer to educate and inspire you.
02:02 What does a business coach do, and do you need one?
Thank you for tuning in to today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast. I’m Jane Tweedy from FAQ Business Training, and I’m here solo today to unpack a topic that I see out there all the time. And that is the confusion about what a business coach is, and whether you actually need one. And it really comes back to this notion of people don’t know what they don’t know. They see everyone else asking for a business coach, and they think me too. I’ll ask for that. But it’s not necessarily what they actually need.
02:34 A business coach assumes you know the answer
So a business coach is basically operating on the assumption that the coachee, the person being coached, knows exactly what they need to know. They already have the answers and they’re just buried somewhere in their head or they’re clouded with limiting beliefs, or they’re clouded with just too many ideas.
So they need to break through and weed through things to get to the answer. But they’re assuming that the coachee, the person being coached, knows what the right answer is for them. The problem, though, is that people don’t always know what they don’t know. And I’ve seen this many times.
03:13 Coaches use coaching frameworks to extract answers
What we do as coaches, is we use coaching frameworks to get to an answer, which is great if the person knows the answer, and it’s just got to be extracted out of them. But what I do personally is I go on a little bit of a limb here, and I take a slightly different approach to coaching. I treat each session with each client as a mix of whatever the person needs at the time.
03:40 I operate a little differently mixing modalities within a session
So if they need coaching, great. If they need training, great. They need advice. Great. If they need consulting. Great. I have no problem with which thing they need, and I have no problem with offering each within each session.
Whereas some people will strictly take the view, even if they do offer multiple modalities, they’ll say, right, this is a coaching session. Okay we’ll do the training session separately. But I just find that impedes someone’s path to progression. So I do it slightly different to most, but I’m happy with the way that I do it. But let’s get into what these different modalities are, and how they work together and how they aren’t what you might think they are.
04:22 What is a business coach?
First of all, what is a business coach? In professional certified terms, and I am a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation (the ICF). A coach is a person who will work with you to extract from you and get the best from you.
04:40 A coach doesn’t judge or impose their limiting beliefs
So it assumes that you already know the answer, it’s just buried somewhere and we’re trying to get it out of you. The coach will not inflict their views of the world to you. They will not put their limiting beliefs on you, which is a great thing. It means that you truly have that freedom and that capacity to take your business where you want it to go. And this is awesome. And this part of coaching I absolutely love.
And here’s a prime example of this. I was a community coach working with a Year 12 student. She said that she wanted to have her voice heard in a Q and A session of Parliament. And I’m thinking, what is she crazy, like who’s going to listen to a Year 12 person?
05:24 My limiting beliefs are not shared with my client
How would she get this happening? I wouldn’t even know how to start to get that to happen myself. And I’m actually thinking all these limiting things. But they’re my limiting beliefs. They’re my limiting ideas. There’s nothing to say that she couldn’t have made that happen.
So what instead we did, is I put that aside. I didn’t let it bug me. And I simply said to her, right, let’s come up with a plan. How are you going to go about this? How are you going to achieve this?
05:51 She did it!!
And you know what? She did it! And it was so awesome and so inspiring. And it really made me see why coaching has those true benefits. Because we are not putting our limitations, we’re not putting our judgement on the situation.
06:06 If you think you can, you can
We are letting that person do what they think they can do. And you know what? If they think they can do it, they can. So it was really awesome. And I was really impressed by that. So that’s why I love that coaching has an ability to bring out the best in people. Because we, as coaches, are not judging the people. So that is awesome.
06:26 But what happens when you don’t know the best solution?
However, there’s also situations where the person simply doesn’t know the best solution. And I had another example of this during my coaching training, and during my coaching training, I worked with a lady and she said that she was a board member and a new person had come on to be in the admin role or something on the board. And she had to meet with this person.
And this person did not want to meet in person because the office was hours away from both of them. So both of them had to travel hours in different directions to meet at the office, and this person didn’t want to do it. She just wanted to have phone conversations. And the phone conversations that had been had up to that point were always when one or both of them was in the car. So they were clearly not great, because the person wasn’t really fully present in the conversation, and it just wasn’t an ideal solution. So her coaching scenario, her issue she had, was about a problem.
07:24 Coaching is about coaching you, not the problem as such
Now for a start, this is another thing about coaching, is that we’re often not coaching the problem. We’re coaching the issues around it, your beliefs and things around it. But in this case, we were coaching a specific solution to a specific problem. And in this case, she basically said to me, these are the options, oh phone calls. And I’m like, I’m prompting her for more because she’s talking about phone calls in the car.
07:48 Coaches prompt you to explore more options
I’m like thinking, hello, phone calls just in a meeting, scheduled meeting time that you can be present would make a big difference anyway. So she did get to that sort of thing herself with a little bit of prompting. But I wasn’t giving her advice or anything, I was just prompting her for more. Is there another way you could do it. And finally she came up with, I suppose we could schedule a meeting and do it that way.
Okay. So at least it was a better option than her first one of having the phone conversation [randomly in the car]. However, what she didn’t even include in this [exploration of] solutions was a video conferencing solution. I remember doing Skype interviews 20 years ago, and I’m sort of thinking, has she not even heard of Zoom. This was before COVID, so it was the year before COVID, and therefore Zoom wasn’t as well known.
08:35 Purely coaching session I couldn’t advise her of a better solution
So people like me certainly were very familiar with Zoom, but people like her, simply weren’t. And she had no idea that Zoom even existed. Therefore, she was coming up with a very inferior solution to her problem. So in this case, I bit my tongue. I kept it a purely coaching session, and I did not offer any advice.
08:55 After the session I offered advice!
And at the end of the session, I said to her look, can I offer some advice? Have you ever heard of Zoom? And she’s like, no. And I said Zoom would be the perfect solution in this case, because you could have the meeting still remotely. You wouldn’t need to go meet in person, but you could see that person.
You could see their body language that is missing from the phone, so it would appease you. You would get the best of what you want, and she’d still get the best of what she wants.
09:20 Although coaching is AMAZING, sometimes you need training or advice too!
But she hadn’t even thought of that. So to me, that was the light bulb moment that made me go, you know what? I can see the amazing benefits of coaching and the not judging people and not forcing limiting beliefs on them. But I can also see where advice and training comes into it to fill gaps in people’s knowledge.
09:38 I need to do it my way – mixed modalities for best results
So therefore, I do not want to just offer a purely coaching session. I do want to offer it as a session which combines the coaching, the advice, the training, the consulting, whatever the person actually needs. So that is very much my personal approach, which does go at odds to some people. I really felt that it was just such an inferior solution, and I was so frustrated that I was delivering such an inferior result, that it just made me go, you know what? I don’t care. I need to do it my way.
10:10 Many business coaches are really being business advisors
Let’s be real here, though. Many other coaches are also actually being business advisors, they are giving actual advice. Somebody asks them what other marketing things could I do? And they’re giving them advice.
10:23 Even the ICF acknowledges some advice is okay
And even the ICF, the International Coaching Federation, in more recent times, has acknowledged that offering advice is fine in a situation where it fills in a gap of knowledge. So you’re giving some additional information the person didn’t know, or it’s providing a quick, factual answer. So for instance, if they say I need to register a business name, where do I go about that? You don’t have to sit there and go, wow, where do you think you would look for that, kind of getting them to come to the point. You just say, go to ASIC and register your business name.
It’s a much quicker, simple process, and it leaves the time for the coaching, for the stuff that needs to be coached. When the person is having internal conflicts, when they’re not sure what priorities to put on things. That is the stuff where 100% coaching is the way to go. So it’s where the person has choices. They should be 100% making their own choices and not relying on their coach/advisor to be telling them what to do.
11:22 What is a business advisor?
Some people would think here of business advisor accountant. That is literally a search term on Google – business advisor accountant. So there are great management accountants out there that will look into your business from a factual money perspective, and they’ll go, oh, look, you’re spending too much money here. Maybe you need to lift your prices. They can do that.
But a lot of them don’t have that scope or that variety to go into a lot of other areas. They’re not going to be the experts in the human resources, or the marketing, or websites, or anything like that.
12:00 Generalist business advisor – including government funded advisors
Typically, you can go to a more broader business advisor, and particularly with someone like myself that has been working with a government funded program. When I’ve seen nearly 1500 people, one on one, that’s a lot of insight. That’s a lot of issues that you cover, and a lot of things that get repeated, and therefore you become kind of expert at a large range of areas.
So that is something that you can go to that type of advisor for first, and then you can go to the specifics. So whether that is your accountant for that managerial accounting advice, whether that is to some other type of consultant.
12:36 What is a small business consultant?
That brings us up to, what is a small business consultant. This is someone who analyses an aspect of your business. For instance, a human resources consultant will come in and look at the human resources aspects of your business. So they might look at your contracts, they might look at your employee handbook, they might look at your policies, they might look at performance issues and performance systems, and they will help you with that.
13:01 Analyse and recommend, and may implement change
So they can either just assess it and make recommendations, or they can do physical implementation with you. Some might not do the implementation, they will leave that for others. But that is the role of the consultant, is to at least do that assessment and that recommendation phase.
13:19 Ask for industry experience
Also, I hear quite often people say things like, oh, but I want someone in my industry or industry experience.
13:26 A business coach does not need industry experience
A business coach is not about having that industry experience. A business coach can work across a range of industries because they are not actually getting into the specifics of anything. They are talking about what you have going on in your head. They’re talking about the limiting beliefs and as much as possible, they’re working on you rather than working on a problem. And that might sound odd.
13:51 Often people ask for help addressing symptoms
But obviously the problem gets resolved, or the symptom gets resolved, when you deal with the underlying problem. So sometimes people will come to you, for instance, and they’ll say, we need help with our minutes for our meetings, and then when you look into it further, it’s got nothing to do with meeting minutes. It’s all to do with poor business communication within the business, and that needs to be addressed, not the issues around the minute taking.
The minute taking is just a symptom of the problem because people are writing snarky comments in the minutes because the business communication is not up to scratch.
14:26 Asking for industry experience, they typically don’t need a coach
So when they make comments about needing it in the industry, that’s when I know that they’re not really after a coach.
14:34 Asked to do a personal coaching session about planning a baby shower
An example here of not needing to be an expert in your field, is when I was doing my Certificate IV training in Business and Personal Coaching. One of the sessions I did, they asked me as the coach to help them to throw a baby shower.
14:51 I am definitely not an expert in baby showers!
Now I’ve never thrown a baby shower, and I think I’ve been to about one or two in my entire life, and they were like 20 years ago. I had no idea. There was certainly nothing I could offer from a help perspective to help her, which was great because it meant it had to be a purely coaching approach to the conversation.
15:08 Used a coaching tool – The Mentors Table
So what we basically did in that situation is I employed one of the tools from my coaching toolkit, which is The Mentors Table, because she’s saying she doesn’t know how to deal with the problem. I certainly didn’t know how to deal with the problem.
But what we did, is bring mentors to the table. Three people she identified that would be able to help her. That would be able to come up with a solution to a problem. And then, through her own self, she questions them, and she gets answers from them and voila she can come up with a solution. Now they’re not really there, and it’s not that we’re crazy, but it is a solution to the problem.
15:47 Ask your mentors for advice
So you basically talk to these mentors. So the great thing is, if your mentor, your person, you aspire to think is amazing, is Tony Robbins or Oprah or Barack Obama, it doesn’t matter. You can include those people at your mentor table, so it can be a really good coaching tool.
16:06 Coaching saw her walk away with a plan
Anyway, she was totally happy. She walked away from the session with a complete plan of how she was going to do her baby shower. And awesome, given that neither of us had any idea at the start. So that was fantastic, and another reason why it shows that coaching can work really well.
16:23 What is a business mentor?
But the industry question okay, what is a business mentor? These are the people that have been in the industry. So it’s a person that has gone the path before you. Either directly in your industry. So if you are in construction, they’re in construction too. If you’re in food, they’re in food too.
16:42 Could be industry or C-level for instance
However, they could also be someone that has made the step up from employee, to team leader, to Chief Executive. And we call that a C-level person the Chief Executive Officer level. So that C-level person does not need to be in your industry. They just need to be someone that’s made that step up to the C-level, and that’s what you’re trying to emulate.
17:04 Mentors may want to give back and leave a legacy
Often, mentors are people that have actually retired or they’re people that have had huge success and are just willing to give back. And sometimes they will do it for no cost at all. Sometimes they will just, it’s that joy of spreading their knowledge and leaving their legacy. For others, it will become more of a business coach/advisor/mentor role. Where they bring in that mentorship in as well as those other functions.
17:32 Advisor mentor like FMCG mentor Karen Lebsanft
So, for instance, Karen Lebsanft from the Kurrajong Kitchen. She’s a bit of an example of this in the fast moving consumer good [FMCG] space. She started Kurrajong Kitchen over 20 years ago, and it is now selling in major supermarkets. They sell lavosh crackers.
So people like her have great insight in that industry. So she can actually advise and mentor people that want to grow in that space. How do you get into Aldi or Woolworths or whatever? She can advise directly, because she’s actually done it. So they are a mentor,
18:08 Mentors can be paid or unpaid
So they can be paid or unpaid. They may also, like I said, merge with other modalities like coaching and advice. And someone like Karen is doing that. But everyone has a different approach to the business mentor role.
18:22 What is a business trainer?
I’m also a business trainer. What does that mean? I do actual specific training. I teach you how to use a specific system, or do a specific thing like pricing, or search engine optimisation [SEO] or marketing. I teach you those specific things.
18:39 Broad concepts = business advisor, in-depth = business trainer
So I can do it more broadly at an advisor level conceptually. But I also dig deep on a training level. Therefore, my sessions with clients tend to involve a combination of coaching, advice, training, consulting, and sometimes mentoring, if I’ve also been in that field as well. I find that is a really great thing for my clients. They get a really good mixture of things and it really helps them to succeed.
19:06 Not many that have both the breadth and depth
But there are not many people, and I’m not tooting my own horn here. But there are not many people that continually have their breadth and that depth that someone like myself does. And honestly, that has come from many, many years of hard work.
That’s a lot of training, a lot of professional courses, a lot of informal training, and a lot of doing it myself to actually test things out. So it’s a lot of hard work to get to that result and being able to do that.
But also, I’m lucky that I have as one of my skills, I can accumulate a huge amount of information and go flick, flick flick. Flick all the stuff off that doesn’t matter and just leave the cream on the top. So that is one of my skills. And if you don’t have that skill set, you would find it very difficult to get to that same level.
19:55 Everyone can benefit from coaches and advisors
Everyone can definitely benefit from coaches and advisors. Look at sports people. Think of any professional sportsperson, any professional, and what do they have? They always have coaches or a team of coaches. Some of them have mindset coaches, eating coaches. They have all sorts of things. But they have coaches and to some extent, advisors in their networks.
20:22 All elite sportspeople have coaches
From that perspective, if you think about it, every great successful sportsperson has that coaching advisor and mentor sort of person. So therefore, why wouldn’t we, as business owners want to do the same thing. It’s definitely not do you need one? It’s rather who will make a great fit, who will be a great coach for you?
20:42 Biggest issue is fit as you need to have trust and honesty
The biggest issue I can tell you now is fit. Trust is vital. You need to be completely honest with yourself and honest with the person that you choose. And if you’re not going to do that, you are not going to get great results. So please make sure that you are going to be honest.
21:02 Do you need a professional certified coach?
Coaching is a completely unregulated industry, well certainly it is here in Australia. No training or certifications are required to put up your shingle and say, I’m a coach.
21:16 Certifications can provide greater coaching tools
Knowing what I personally know after undertaking the formal training, the Certificate IV in Business and Personal Coaching, in addition to all the other training I’ve done. Plus doing an internationally recognised accreditation program with the Professional Certified Coach that I hold with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). I personally think that it is an exceptionally good set of tools to have.
21:44 More coaching tools typically means more benefit to the coachee
I think you’ll get a person that has a far greater lot of tools in their toolkit, that will bring a lot of benefit to you. So sure you can tighten a screw with a screwdriver. But if you pre-drill the hole and use an electric screwdriver, you’re going to be far more efficient. And that’s the way I look at it. You might get some good results, but it can be a bit hit and miss.
22:08 How much does a business coach cost?
How long is a piece of string? There’s a huge variance in the number of programs, the offers, and the prices that are out there. And don’t automatically assume that expensive is good.
I had a lady who signed up for an AU$18,000 one year coaching program, who met with me for a two hour no-cost session under the Business Connect program, and she said she got more out of that 2 hours with me than she did from that $18,000 program. Because it was the wrong program at the wrong time for her.
22:44 Don’t get locked-in excessively
There was another situation of a man that came to me and he said that he was really frustrated. He’d been locked in to a one year coaching program, one on one coaching with a lady, for AU$10,000.
And he was halfway through. He’d spent the $5,000 he was six months in, and he said to me, I’ve got no business plan. There’s been no assessment done of my business and I feel there’s been no progress at all on my business. And I’m thinking, Why would she lock him in if he’s really unhappy, then why lock him in?
23:16 Make sure expectations are managed
And clearly there was a massive issue here with mismanaged expectations, because he expected a business plan. Was she offering one? Who knows? We don’t know what was going on, but what we do know is the expectations were not clear between the parties. Also, if someone’s not happy let them out. So I do advise you to stick to a maximum of three month lock-in.
23:40 Good things take time
Don’t do longer than that. Now, we do recognise that things take time. Good things take time. So you may not see many results in a three month period. But what that will give you time to assess, is whether you feel you’re a good fit.
Do you feel that you’re going to make progress with this person? Because you’ll still have that assessment over that period of time.
24:02 Cost of a business coach per hour
Cost wise. Typically, you’re going to be looking at an absolute minimum of around that AU$150 an hour for online, AU$250 hour minimum for in-person typically. But some coaches will charge you in the thousands of dollars an hour. Like I said, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better, but you just need to make an assessment for you what is right for you.
24:25 Measure your coaching return on investment
And ultimately you’re going to have to work out some way of being able to measure that return on investment [ROI]. And quite often I do see people sprouting their programs and talking about these amazing returns their customers had. And I’m like, yeah, but in some cases those customers would have had those returns with or without you, because that’s just where they were at their path of their journey. So trying to work out how much is attributable to the coach, is kind of difficult. But at least work out does it feel like you’re going on the right path?
24:57 Be careful of becoming too familiar
The other issue with a coach is to be careful of becoming too familiar with them. Like I said, you’re going to be sharing details, like a lot of trust between the two of you. So just be a little bit careful that you don’t just end up becoming friends and having a chat, because you’re not going to be getting the best coaching from the person. And so sometimes you do need to, if you want to maintain the friendship, ditch the coach. So think about that. That can be awkward. It can be an awkward discussion. But sometimes you do need to have it.
25:31 Do I need a business coach?
Do I need a business coach? If you’ve listened to this episode, then yes, probably you do. And you may need advisors, consultants, mentors and trainers too.
25:43 Check if there are government funded services available
People like myself can be accessed through government funded services, and they can be a great starting point. Because these services are often funded, so you don’t have to pay anything for the initial sessions, and it can just get you started and kicked off, and help you to work out what it is you need.
26:01 Missing information or accessing and using it?
Are you missing information, so you actually need training and advice, or is it more that you know what you need to do, you have the knowledge, but you just don’t know how to access it and use it. And that’s when that coaching side definitely comes into it.
26:15 Coaches are accountability partners
Coaches can also act as your accountability partner and can help you keep on track with your goals.
Thank you for listening in today we wish you well in furthering your business.
26:27 FAQ Business Training services complement business coaching
Remember our services at FAQ Business Training, including the FAQ Business Podcast, can complement and fill in the knowledge gaps that the coach can extract from you. So make sure you subscribe to our podcast, follow us on the socials, and sign up to our email letter to ensure that you’re growing your business the best way that you can.
26:55 Thank you for listening to FAQ Business Podcast
Thank you for listening to today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast, available on all good podcast services. You can subscribe today via faqbusinesspodcast.com.au or directly on Apple iTunes, iHeartRadio or Spotify.
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Look forward to connecting with you again on the next episode of the FAQ Business Podcast.
Today’s episode featured our host Jane Tweedy. Her details are as follows:
Jane is a Professional Certified Coach with International Coaching Federation (PCC with ICF), business advisor and trainer. She loves working with growing small to medium business owners who are doing the right thing, to help them do it right! Currently, Jane offers at least 50 live sessions a year to train small business owners.
Jane offers a variety of services to clients and her online school and membership site will be available before the end of 2021. Jane’s focus for 2022 is building the membership and offering implementable small group training – something she finds is often the missing link.
If you are interested in training, speaking, or anything else Jane has to offer, please connect via firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact forms on our websites.
Would you like to book a business advice or business coaching session with Jane?
Please check out our business coaching services page here and book in a session.
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