Business coaching can be very helpful in streamlining business processes, harnessing business potential, and increasing profitability. However, these can only be achieved by using the right kind of business coaching that is cost effective and does not hinder the day-to-day functioning of the business. Before selecting a business-coaching course, it is important that you spare some time for learning about the coaching facilitators, their experience, their areas of expertise, their educational qualifications and the type of coaching they are willing to provide.
Although organizations such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF) do accredit commercial coaching companies, the fact is that most of these large associations are guided by their own private business agendas that concentrate on adding more and more members to their database for commercial purposes. As such, depending on just accreditation for selecting a particular business-coaching company or firm may not be the right thing to do. If you research properly, you will find numerous reputed business coaching companies that are neither accredited by the ICF nor follow its course curriculum. Accreditation organizations such as the ICF are often blamed for violating professional business standards. In many cases, the ICF has provided certification to individuals and accredited the schools from which these individuals have received their training. The ICF has also been criticized for its recent decision that calls for including only ICF accredited schools on the list of approved coach training organizations. With accreditation available to anyone who is willing to pay, the integrity of both the coaching professional as well as the association is being adversely affected.
The right business coaching course needs to be ‘evidence based’ wherein the contents of the course can be verified based upon a process of methodical, clinical and industry research, evaluation, and the utilization of up-to-date systematic research findings to support decisions about practice. Such courses are scientifically proven and are certainly better than commercial courses, popularized mainly by coaching associations and coach training providers that are engaged in mass marketing to a primarily uneducated marketplace.
Selecting the right business coach is also important, as ultimately it is the human factor that determines the success of any business-coaching course. The right coach is someone who you can trust and work with comfortably to build a strong partnership. Before selecting a coach, you need to learn more about his/her coaching experience, coaching specialization if any, philosophy about coaching, coaching process (duration and frequency of coaching sessions), and past coaching related success stories.
It is recommended that you conduct personal interviews with as many coaches as you possibly can for determining ‘what feels right’ in terms of interpersonal chemistry. Coaching professionals are used to being interviewed and normally do not charge any fees for the initial introductory conversation.
During interviews, look for similarities and differences in the thought process between the coach and yourself, discuss your goals, learn about the coach’s preferred way of working with a team or individual, and discuss ways and means of handling future problems. Always remember that business coaching is a partnership and as such make sure that you discuss with the coach everything that is going to affect your business.