Working with a Business Coach

Business Coaches work directly with an individual to help them achieve the things that are most important to their careers or business success. While Business Coaches work with people in many levels of an organization, this article focuses on those who work with early stage or startup founders and CEOs.

startup business coachStartup Business Coaches are usually individuals who have started and grown their own successful businesses. They draw on a wide variety of experiences to help their clients navigate through their own challenges on the way to achieving success. Knowing that founders can get mired in the day-to-day details, Startup Business Coaches help their clients deal with the tactical issues, without falling behind on the strategic issues that are critical to their success.

A Startup Business Coach works with the founder to help develop or understand the long term plan for the business. They help to define specific goals and plans for achieving those goals. Then, perhaps most importantly, they work with the founder to deal with all the obstacles that emerge—obstacles that might otherwise slow down or completely block the achievement of the goals.

Business Coaches usually meet formally with their clients 1 to 2 times per month. It is common for coaches to work with clients in other states and conduct most or all of their meetings by telephone. Many Startup Business Coaches have an “open phone” policy where their clients call them between meetings on issues related to near term goals, or to be a sounding board on important decisions. It’s important to establish an understanding up front about how you will work together.

Startup Business Coaches report that most of their time is spent working with the founder to align tactical plans to achieve the strategic goals. As part of that endeavor, they report a myriad of issues that frequently come into play:

  • Strategic Planning Around Raising Capital
  • Personnel Issues (Hiring, terminating, and driving performance)
  • Compensation Planning
  • Negotiating Client Agreements
  • Preparing for Critical Presentations
  • Reviewing Business Agreements and Contracts
  • Being a Sounding Board for the Founder’s Ideas

The idea of having a Startup Business Coach is to have complete access to someone you could not afford to hire. The value of a startup business coach comes from having the depth of experience on a wide range of business issues, available at any time. Most business coaches charge a flat monthly fee for their services ranging from $500 to $2,500. Business Coaches say that in addition to the progress that comes from the on-going services, there are usually one or more specific outcomes which more than pay for several months of their services.

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