If you’re not exactly sure what a business coach is, let’s start with your perception of a sporting coach.

You probably have some notion that a football coach must devise a strategy for play.  He plans out the game and adapts to the events on the field. His players are trained to perform at their peak and be kept accountable for their actions.

So, think of your business as your favourite footy team.  A business coach provides support and guidance to help your company improve its leadership, teamwork, goal setting, and accountability.  They are fundamental in boosting performance levels to create a winning outcome.

Through diligent planning and re-structuring, a business coach can raise the bar of your company operations – from fixing a struggling business in need of new life, to taking an already successful enterprise to the next level.

Defining the different coaching types:

There may be some cross-over and confusion as to which type of coach you need.  Here is an overview of the six main coaching sectors you are likely to have come across.

1. Life coach

A life coach aims to accomplish similar outcomes to the business coach, but they operate on a personal level, as opposed to a company level.

You would seek the assistance of a life coach when you are in a rut and not sure what to do with your life.  You may also ask for their guidance to support personal growth, goal-setting, and behaviour modification.

2. Career coach

Also known as career counselling or vocational guidance, this field of coaching helps you to explore career options and personal career development.

You would require the skills of a career coach if you were looking for advice and instruction on how to change industries or progress in your existing field.

3. Performance coach

Unlike a life coach who helps you gain clarity on where you want to be in life, a performance coach looks at what you can already do well and helps you to enhance that ability.

It is used to increase skill levels in a variety of jobs, tasks, projects and presentations.

4. Skills coach

Skills coaching is a training process often employed by business managers to upskill their staff.  A coach can be someone from within the organisation or an outsourced external contractor.

It’s not the same as business coaching, which looks at all components within a company.

5. Executive coach

This one-on-one coaching method is explicitly geared towards improving the performance of the most influential people within an organisation.

The theory is – by advancing the performance levels of these individuals, the business results of the whole company will prosper.

6. Business coach

Business coaching is a process used to take an organisation from where it is now to where it wants to be by addressing all aspects of the business.

If you are reading this article, chances are – this is the coaching for you.

Terence Toh, business coach with Strategiq Corporation, elaborates on this.

“A great business coach will facilitate growth and awareness for the business owner and management team, empower them with the confidence to act, provide clarity to on what to do, and help them to focus on the highest impact activities necessary to realise the vision of the business, or to achieve a set result.”

Defining the two types of business coaching

1. Directive coaching

A directive coach takes on a business mentoring role.  They are perceived to be an expert in their field, and often sought by those who are very new to their position and requiring more of a hands-on advisor.

This coaching method is effective up to a point.  Once an individual has mastered the basic concepts and is ready to integrate their knowledge and skills into the growth of the business, they get a bit lost.

The style of coaching offered by a directive coach has its limitations as it does not necessarily provide the tools for complete autonomy.  The trainee does not have the confidence to apply their learning to real-life scenarios.

2. Non-directive coaching

With this type of coaching, the individual will benefit from knowing how to apply their new skills and knowledge and play an integral part in providing business solutions.

The greater the decision-making responsibilities, the higher the confidence level and sense of self-sufficiency.

A non-directive coach recognises the individual’s unique strengths and works with them to enhance and utilise their existing skills in the interest of the business.

The benefits of business coaching

Hiring a business coach offers the following advantages:

1. Builds confidence

The support of a great coach enhances your confidence to deal with the many business challenges that arise.

2. Increases leadership skills

Knowing how to interact with the various personality types within your company creates self-understanding and empowerment.

3. Provides clarity

When you are too close to your daily happenings, it can be easy to lose perspective.  A good coach can approach your operations from an objective point of view, and help you find solutions that were either not on your radar or were outside your comfort zone.

4. Challenges your thinking

The hard questions can generate a fresh perspective.  If you can maintain a critical viewpoint, you can improve your business operations.

5. Helps you assess priorities

Some issues are more important than others.  It can be difficult to discern which challenges you should fight today and which you can hold off for another time.  A good coach knows the difference.

6. Assists in financial planning

When your head is already full of other business-related issues, budget planning may get overlooked.  A coach can help you make the best financial decisions to drive your business forward.

7. Targets your weaknesses

A good coach recognises the difference between team members who are performing well and those for whom you have to compensate.  By helping you find solutions for your weak points, you can then focus on using your strengths to operate effectively. Building the right team is fundamental to this outcome.

“With the right experience,” says Toh, “a business coach will help you to see beyond the options that you already know are available, and provide guidance to see what’s really possible for you and your business.”

Of course, every organisation is unique and, although a skilled coach will incorporate each of the above elements, they can adjust their approach according to the size and nature of the business.  A personal touch makes all the difference.