248: When to Hire a Coach

21 Minutes Read

If running your business feels more exasperating than uplifting, you might need a coach.

If being a leader causes more frustration than fulfillment, again, that's a sign that you need a coach.

We joke that if you have a pulse and breathe air that you will benefit from having a coach, but there are certain moments in your business where having a coach in your corner will help you make big leaps forward.

In this episode we break down what those points are, what different kinds of coaches you may come across, and how to know if you've found the coach for you.

You will discover:

  • The top signs that you need a coach, and what kind of coaching would be best depending on what you're going through
  • The difference between a coach and a consultant, and why addressing the deeper layers of yourself can have an even bigger impact on your business than just being told what to do
  • How to know if someone is the right coach for you, so you don't waste time and money with the wrong person

To learn more about working with us and to see if we might be the right coaches for you, schedule a free consultation here.

If you haven't already joined the Superabound Collective, what are you waiting for? It is a community of soulful business owners like you where you can get support with the challenges of leadership. And it's free for a limited time.

Learn more and join the Collective here.


Episode Transcript

Steve Haase  0:02  
Welcome to the Superabound Podcast with master coaches, Erin Aquin and Steve Haase, where business owners like you learn tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You are listening to episode number 248: When to hire a coach. Okay, let's get this right out of the way in the beginning, we are coaches, we get hired to help people support business owners. And so you might think, well, we're a little biased, to be offering advice on when to hire a coach. But honestly, who better to hear from than the people who are right there helping people week after week, on when it's a good fit, when it might not be a good fit, when you can get the most out of working with a coach? And what are some of the signs, either for yourself or for leaders in your organization? That now might be the time. So let's dive in. Erin, what are some of the signs that someone's ready to hire a coach,

Erin Aquin  1:00  
if you're breathing, you probably could use a coach, you're over the age of five, could be helpful. But seriously, we wanted to do this episode, because I think sometimes like coaching can be very mystical. And what some people call coaching is not the same as what other people call coaching is a coach or mentor, are they a consultant, there's so many flexible definitions of the word coach, and what that person can do for you in your life and your business. So we wanted to talk about not only when to hire a coach, but like how to find a person that's going to be the right fit for you and for your team. So that's what we're really up to, I think the Yeah, the very first sign is your your breathing human who has some kind of a lantern you'd like to light, what do we call goals around here. If there's something you want to do that you have not yet been able to figure out on your own, a coach could be a great asset to your team for helping you get that done.

Steve Haase  2:11  
So oftentimes, when you work with a coach, it might be someone who is helping you with accountability. It's someone who could provide thoughts or insights on strategy or best practices, they might even have some helpful questions to help you get clarity around challenges that you're facing. All of those are really helpful. We think coaching should go a few layers deeper than that, though. Because as a business owner, you don't just have the strategy of the business on your plate, you have responsibility for the whole thing, as well as your own mental and emotional and even physical well being. So if a coaching engagement doesn't cover the whole spectrum of who you are, as a human being, it's probably going to be something that you feel is left out something that will be missing. And those things that are missing can often be the the most important parts in having a fulfilling life while you build a successful business.

Erin Aquin  3:13  
I was at an event last week, and someone said, they read my name tags life and business coach and they said so Wait, which one? Is it life or business? And I kind of looked at them. And I was like, I think you're joking right now. But if you're an entrepreneur, you know that your business is part of your life, if you're if you know, especially if you're an entrepreneur with a vision of having positive impact. So often, your business is going to be tied to your life in every possible way. For us. It's part of our spiritual practice. So yeah, I'm always very, I'm going to tell you all the things I don't like about coaches. Today, everybody, just in case you wanted to know, people who say they only will talk about business or they're only going to talk about some very small segment. It's great to have experts who will help you with really specific things, but I tend to prefer coaches that like my own one to one coach, she can help me with challenges in the business but she can also help me when I'm struggling with something in a personal relationship or if I'm feeling overwhelmed about something that has nothing to do directly with my business. I don't personally love people that compartmentalize because I think it then drives this narrative that somehow we've talked about this on the podcast before but somehow your business life should be very different from your personal life. And anyone who's ever gone through a personal struggle or or tragedy knows that that affects your business. You know, if you are having a hard time at home, it's going to affect how you show up at work if you're having a hard time network, it's probably going to show up, affect how you show up at home. So I'm always I always really stay or steer clear personally of people that say, I only coach you on this one small puzzle piece of your life, it's huge

Steve Haase  5:14  
because you bring who you are as a person into your business. And so one of the indicators that you could use a coach, other than having a heartbeat and breathing is that you feel intense emotions in a way that kind of get in the way of you being who you want to be as a leader, you feel like there's an upper limit to your own emotional flexibility, your own emotional skill, you kind of find yourself reacting out of fear, or exasperation, or anger in ways that don't actually create a more conducive environment. We are all humans here. And everyone messes up in ways that they need to apologize for and make, right. But if you find that happening more often than you'd like, and you feel like that's kind of in the way of you being the leader that your company needs, that is a great sign that you need a coach, because when you're working with someone who will go all the way from tactics and strategy all the way to the subterranean layers of who you are, as a leader, as a person, that's what will actually unlock that evolution for yourself. And for your business. It's not just the things you do, but it's also who you have to be in order to do those things. At the next level,

Erin Aquin  6:35  
and I know there's someone out there listening to this, who will hear that and say, Oh, well, I'm not like an emotionally reactive person. So clearly, I don't need a coach, it must be for all those hot mess people who are just like yelling at everybody and crying at the at a failed business experiment. Another sign that you're usually you're ready for a coach is if you feel frustrated, or detached, or just totally cut off from the original intention that you started this leadership role, or this company from that is actually a huge sign that you're going down a path towards some kind of a burnout. And it's a really good time to bring a coach. And I've been thinking of a client right now who when they started with me said, I don't even know what my vision is, I don't even know what my vision was, I am so no, I'm no longer in touch with the reason that I started this business, I'm just kind of in in the hamster wheel of it. I'm doing it because I know what to do. But I don't feel connected to it at all anymore. And that's a great time to bring in a coach. I mean, hopefully you you see that sooner. And you can even catch that before you're at a point of no longer feeling your business. But having someone to really reconnect to you to your vision to your values, to the bigger purpose for why you do this. Because listen, at the end of the day, having a business and having a life is hard. So there has to be something meaningful behind it for this to really be worth it to you. So having a coach can help you reconnect to that. And I'll say that sometimes what people said there are plenty people out there who call themselves coaches, and they're actually more like consultants or strategists. They're actually just people who are there to tell you what to do, based on some playbook of success or something that maybe they've done, you know, mentors are fantastic. They're usually people who are further along the path than we are and they have a figured out something that worked. But, but I've met many, many people over the years who call themselves coaches, when they're actually not really coaching. They're not helping you find the answers the direction, the vision that's right for you. They're there to help you replicate some formula that maybe worked for them or some other company 20 years ago, which is not a bad thing. It's not I'm not making a criticism of that. But I think it's really important that if you are feeling like you're ready for a coach, you're really ready to work with someone who can support you to find your path forward, that you find out in that discovery session or that consultation call, how they work. Are they just going to give you a blueprint? And then hold you accountable to that and check in on you and say did you do the homework I gave you last week? Are they going to act more like a tutor? Or are they actually a coach in the sense that we're talking about, which is someone who's going to help you find that emotional skill and become more resilient while you move forward on the path to your lantern and ultimately your bigger vision

Steve Haase  10:00  
Because leadership is a holistic practice, it is a new set of skills that only really happen when you discover them and you internalize them. And it is, you know, there can be a playbook, but it has to be your playbook that you are able to get behind. So that being said, another time to hire a coach, an indicator that now might be the moment is when you have experienced a leap in responsibility. When you first found your company, when you first begin, it's just you. And so in that case, the leadership is you leading yourself, there's going to be a certain skill set that you need to have in order to motivate yourself stay on track, assess your progress, build resilience, all those things Erin was talking about. But once you hire a team, your leadership is now at a different level, you now need to be responsible for other people's outcomes, other people's behavior and abilities. That is a new level of leadership that requires a deepening of your skill in that role as leader of people, different than leader of self, even though you're still a person, it's just a new level of responsibility. So every time that happens, right, when you go from managing a team, to managing other managers, anytime that there's that layer, that stratification where you become more distant from the front lines, is a good time to have a coach to uplevel your own skills, because it's not just your skills, it's also your own self concept. When you are the founder and you're in charge of everything, you have a certain self concept, because most of what you're doing is creating the business, you're servicing the customers delivering the product, all of those things, when you are leading a team, and when you're leading other leaders, a different way of seeing yourself and a different way of seeing the company is required. And that's not the sort of thing that you can really do just with introspection, you'll get a certain distance. But when you work with somebody who has helped other leaders evolve their self concept, help them get to what it means to be the visionary rather than the doer, right, because you have to let go of a lot of sources of pride. So many leaders take pride in their ability to be an excellent coach, be an excellent leader, be an excellent facilitator. And when they're suddenly overseeing others who are going to do those things. It's a shift in identity, not just a shift in skill. So coaches will help you with that identity. That's these are deeper layers of work, that when you do them, you just come from a different place. Yeah. And

Erin Aquin  12:47  
I think that's why you need to make sure that if you're hired intending to hire a coach, you ensure that that person is not actually a consultant who calls himself a coach, because what you're talking about is having someone who can see the things you think and the things you believe, that are going to get in your way of embracing that new identity. You know, if you have the thought, I'm the only one that that can do this. I'm the only one that can sell to our customers. Good luck trying to onboard a sales team. If your core belief about the success of your company lies in you being always being the one who sells a strategist can give you a playbook for how to teach sales. But if you don't actually work on the fundamental belief that you have, you're never going to be able to see if that works. So again, I'm not knocking strategy, because we do a lot of we're thinking partners, for a lot of our clients, we teach a lot of things we've programmed actually trains, a lot of their managers, but it's separate from the coaching work, which is really learning how to uplevel your own thinking and, and start to learn how to question the beliefs you have that maybe make you feel like shit or don't actually end up getting you closer to that lantern, you want to delay. We talked about this a lot, but so much of the time. It's not actually the challenges between you and your next lantern that are the problem. It's how you amplify them because of your own mental or emotional static,

Steve Haase  14:29  
and one of those elements of static that is so common, and if you're experiencing it, definitely a sign that now's the time to work with a coach is being a victim. If you find yourself thinking that the people around you or Turkey's just not doing the job well, Why can't anyone do it right? The level is so low Woe is me. Any variation on what was me This is so hard. That's a sign time to work with a coach because we What we're talking about there. Like Erin said, those are not challenges. The people around me are Turkey's is static. The challenge is understanding what the issues are training people up setting proper expectations, having the professional development conversations, setting professional development plans in motion, those are just the things of doing business. The static is, this should be easier. Why is it so hard, I never should have grown the way that I did. All of that self doubt, self recrimination, feeling like other people, or the market or anyone is out to get you is a sign that your deepened static, and a great coach will not just kick your ass to get you out of static, a great coach will actually acknowledge that there is wisdom in all of those things. Even if it's just Well, that's the way I learned. That's how I was when I was little. And I'm still, you know, deep inside, this part of me is still that little kid. There's room for all of it in a great coaching relationship. And that's where you can discover more about yourself as a human and as a leader, and then extend that same grace to the humans on your team. Because we're all in that same boat.

Erin Aquin  16:17  
Yeah, and I tip for when you're maybe looking for the right coach to see like just how deep that person's mindset work goes. And you know, if they really understand how human beings work, and if they're going to be more of a holistic coach and thinking partner in that way, is ask them what they see as the biggest problem to people not achieving their goals. If that person tells you, the main reason people don't achieve their goals is because they're unfocused or lazy are not motivated, run away as fast as possible. Because if you work with that person, you're signing up for someone who's just going to be a really high priced accountability partner. And again, I'm not trying to knock the way people do things. Yes, some of us need motivation. But humans are not inherently unmotivated. I don't believe that that's actually most people's problem. Most people's issue is static. It's believing thoughts that are inherently unhelpful, that tell us we're not smart enough. We don't know enough. We need more resources, we need more time. If they don't answer that question, with some acknowledgement that it's usually an unhelpful belief. It's a mindset that hasn't been thoughtfully cultivated. That's probably not going to be your person, if it's especially if you'd like this podcast. But really, if you don't sense compassion from this person, I know so many people think they need a tough love coach, they need someone that's going to kick their ass. And there's plenty people out there who sell themselves like that. But at the end of the day, I firmly believe if you're going to have an amazing coach relationship, I will say this with, you know, I'm going to toot my own horn for a second, I have worked with many of my clients for for three to four years, it's an average that people stay with me. The reason is not because I go in there, screaming at them about their homework, or what they said they were going to do or like cracking the whip on them, it's because I make space for them to be a whole human being. And it's often the one place in their life at first, where they are not reprimanded for having human thoughts and feelings. If you don't feel safe, with the person who's supposed to be in your corner. If you don't feel like they really care about you and the lanterns you want to light. And they're not there to be another person telling you you're not doing you're not good enough, you're not doing it right. You will be performing for your coach, it'll just be another person you have to impress. If you feel like you are there to impress your coach, it's probably not going to be the most valuable relationship for you. I really do personally take pride in the fact that my clients show up and they let their guard down. And we can actually look at things that many times they've never been able to look at before. And find out that, you know, the reason that you're not hitting your goals is because you're really afraid of success. Because you learned something bad about rich people when you were five, we have to understand that because no amount of strategy is going to get you to the other side. And if or if it does, the rare cases that it does, you'll hate it you'll feel like a total imposter and it'll create more problems than it solves,

Steve Haase  19:49  
which is the perfect connection point to the next moment. You know, it's time to hire a coach which is that you have a business that you've worked hard to build, but you don't love it If your business feels more like it is owning you, or that you're having to do things that you aren't proud of, in order to build a business that you think you will be proud of, if you're kind of sacrificing values to chase the money, or overworking yourself in order to hit your goals, it's time to work with somebody. Because the great thing about business, which is also the terrifying thing about business is that there is no endpoint, there is no pot of gold that you will ever get to, let's say you hit your next big revenue milestone, you will simply have a new set of problems, you know, you will have more money, but you may also have more staff, more customer service, more complexity. And the faulty thinking there is that well, I'll just hit my next revenue milestone, and that will solve everything, eventually, you'll realize that that never happens. And so the solution is to grow in a way to operate in a way that is satisfying now, so that you don't have to delay your satisfaction delay, you're living for that magical time when you've sold your business or when you've any of the things that you have on your bucket list. Do it now find the enjoyment now have the integrity to create the business that you want now. And so if you're finding that that's not the way you're operating, then working with a coach will help you. Because it's a chance to revisit why you're doing things the way that you are, it's not going to be a tactical session, right? We're not going to create a bunch of processes around what you need to do when you're pursuing new business, it's going to be a deep dive into why you want to build that business, and how you want to operate across all the different facets of it.

Erin Aquin  21:48  
Yeah, because once you know that, then you can do the tactical stuff. And it's so much easier because it's coming from an aligned place. Sometimes I get I get a question like, should you hire a coach? Like, should you only ever hire coaches that have like more experience? Like, can you can you hire a coach who doesn't understand your industry? Here's another kind of distinction between like a coach and a consultant is a consultant might be someone who has a lot of experience in the industry that you're in, a coach should be ideally an expert in mindset, they don't necessarily need to know every little detail about how your organization works, or how your industry works. And actually, I would even argue that sometimes it's better. I've worked with clients in industries that you know, I've never I know nothing about. But I also wasn't coming in with beliefs about how those companies had to work. So that's kind of fun when you have someone on your team who doesn't just hold the same stuffy beliefs about how organizations work from like the 1980s. It can be really useful to have that. But you just want to make sure more than like, Does this person understand every facet of my business is can I communicate with them. So what we often suggest when someone's looking to hire us as their coaches is that they get on a consultation call, where they get a little they get a chance to be coached by one or sometimes both of us. And they get a feel for how we work. And for how we work with them. The end of the day, you have to want to talk to this human every week, for six months or a year. So there is a human element of like, Is this someone I feel like I can open up to does this person have a curiosity or a perspective that I think I would, would be a match for the way I think and for me as a thinking partner. Sometimes people think that their coach has to be really challenging them and has to, you know, make them cry and like, break their brain after every single call. I totally disagree. I actually always choose coaches that I trust so that I'm 100% open, and there's nothing that's off the table for me to talk about with them. Rather than being worried they're gonna bark at me.

Steve Haase  24:22  
So true. There should be just a simple human camaraderie that you can experience and sink into when you're working with your coach. I mean, personally, one of my favorite services that we offer is the two day executive intensive, which is basically we're hanging out for a couple of days, somewhere beautiful, having an extraordinary experience. And a big part of that is talking about all the things we've already discussed. Your leadership style, your vision, issues in your business. The next challenge you want to undertake the static that you need to kind of welcome in Great, but we're also just having a deep hang, spending time together in a focused container, like kind of hitting pause on the rat race, you know, stepping above, whatever the day to day looks like for you, and stepping into a really unique place. And that's only going to happen from a real human connection. That's where the magic flows. That's where both of us, you know, the coach, and the client can flex and flow and end up somewhere that neither expected in the beginning, but both knew was possible. That's the kind of dynamic that you want with your coach. Now, with all this talk about flexibility, and magic and creativity, you might think, well, I guess systems and structure aren't really all that important. But if you've got a business, you know how important it is to have a certain set of bones in place, right to have a frame that you can operate on, because so much of business is kind of chaotic, it's unknowable in advance. And so another way to know if now's the time to work with a coach, is if things feel a little too chaotic, a little too seat of the pants, like, you look around and you say, Are there any grown ups here? How is this even happening? If you feel like you're making things up, if you feel like you don't have something that you can reference in difficult situations, or a North Star that you can point everyone towards, it's a good indicator that you need to work with a coach, things that will help your business be more streamlined and repeatable, ultimately allowing you to be more creative and flexible, are things like having a strong vision that you believe in and that you point people towards having a set of core values, that really means something to you and that you will sacrifice for and that you will work towards having clear expectations that you can set for yourself and everybody on the team having clear job descriptions and accountabilities for each of those job descriptions. And then here's the kicker, not just having those things on paper, but actually having them integrated into everybody's work life, everybody's understanding of what it means to be in business, at your organization, if those things are missing, great chance to work with a coach. And when you have that structure integrated with the kind of warmth and intuition and self acceptance that we're talking about, then you've got magic, because it's business strategy, business process, but it's human, which makes it easier to actually take on and bring about the kind of change that you want.

Erin Aquin  27:43  
Yeah, and something to look for, I think, along those lines is, is how flexible is the coach to be able to do those things with you. Again, you can, you can always find people that will do like razor thin areas, they'll say I don't coach on anything, but marketing, just a marketing coach. And we don't talk about anything marketing on these calls. That's totally great. If that's all you need, if you know your own mindset is dialed, I have friends who have like multiple coaches, they have a business coach, they have a personal coach, they have a spiritual coach, I personally have found that I just I love to work with someone that I can bring all of it to, like for my high level one to one work. I don't necessarily want to have six different coaches at a time. So I've I've come to the place where I personally prefer to have one person I feel very connected to who really can kind of do it all for me. You can't always find that, but if you do, hang on to them, work with them forever, pay their retainer, or, yeah, try different things. One of the ways that we work with some of our clients is I'm like a home base coach so people can bring their business stuff to me. They can bring their personal stuff to me. We have other clients who come to us more specifically for executive or leadership training, those types of things. But at the end of the day, your coach needs to be someone you feel free to talk to you feel respect for, but not afraid of someone who is an expert in mindset and has at least an understanding of helpful strategic resources for whatever it is that you are using. They don't necessarily have to know everything about everything, but it's great if they can at least point you in the direction of getting the strategy you need. As your mindset becomes more dialed in. Anything you'll see without Steve,

Steve Haase  29:45  
yes. Do not wait for the right time to work with a coach. I talked to so many people and I understand the impulse to say oh now's not a good time because I'm too busy. But if you're too busy if they Things are too chaotic. If there's too much on your plate, that is a good indicator that it's time to work with a coach. Because what that means is not that you're too in demand, or that you don't have time, it means that your mindset is not in order with your vision, you're not living the life that you want to be living. If you don't have time to talk to someone for 45 minutes a week, what's happening there is it's another expression of kind of a victim mentality of the world is doing this to me. So let that be your signal. If you're feeling overwhelmed, or like maybe you should work with a coach after this next onboarding. You know, after this next key hire has been made, then now is the right time to work with a coach. Because again, whatever milestone you think is going to be in the future, that thing is going to change things, you're going to add something new to it, the same mindset will continue to create that chaos in your life. So

Erin Aquin  30:51  
it's like if you think now's not the right time, it's like having a leak in your basement. And you going upstairs and shutting the door and hoping it goes away. Leaks don't go away. They don't just disappear. They get worse, they fled your basement and they ruin your home. And I you know, it sounds very severe the way that I'm posing this but you know, I for so long. If you listen back far enough on this podcast, you will find the episodes where this was revitalize your relationship. And I coached people, couples and individuals in relationships for years. And almost always, someone would come to a consultation say now's not the right time to work with you, Erin, the relationship didn't get better by waiting. And the same thing is true. For most people in their businesses, the problems don't get better, the problems usually get worse. And then you know, when we're talking about business, there's money involved. And hiring a coach takes money. If you don't feel like you're in a secure situation with your time and your money. Now chances are it's going to be less so in six months. And I don't know about other coaches in the world, but our rates go up. So if we might be coaches that you haven't thinking you might want to work with, now's the best possible time. I'm making a joke about it. But it's really true. Good coaches in demand coaches, they don't charge less as time goes on. So it's good to consider if it's a business investment that you're going to make with a coach sooner, the better. There's always waitlists and prices go up. So from business owner to business owner, I'm going to offer you that because I'm I've done that a few times. And I've always kicked myself for watching the price double when I could have worked with the person and they could have helped me six months earlier.

Steve Haase  32:46  
So if this resonates with you and you'd like to actually speak with us about working together, head over to besuperabound.com/consultation You'll see if we have a waitlist or if we are available for immediate engagement there. And we'd love to chat with you about your business, find out how we could support you and see if we might be a fit. And regardless, we would love to see you in the Superabound collective. It is an extraordinary community of business owners. We do special events that are only for members of the collective. Join us there at besuperabound.com/collective Thanks for joining us. We'll see you next time.

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