Entrepreneurs – Don’t Be Railroaded By A Coach!
It used to be said when waiting ages for a bus “don’t worry, three will come along in a minute” that observation might well apply to so called business coaches today!
I have nothing against business coaches providing they are suitably qualified, which sadly, many, if not most, are not.
A quick look online will find many supposed “Gurus” willing to tell you exactly what you should do to obtain financial success in any field (for payment, and even sometime for free) when a closer look at them will show you that they have achieved very little in the way of financial success themselves.
I have always thought that an advisor should have achieved a degree of success in the field that he or she is advising on. This certainly isn’t the case for many of these so called ‘business coaches’ who prey on institutions desperate for content for their websites, sometimes giving them a credibility their business ability has not!
Writing a book about a subject that you yourself have never been successful at does not qualify you to teach that subject to someone else. Better to seek the advice of someone who has tried and failed than someone who has never done anything at all!
We are talking about people’s livelihoods here! Young, and sometimes impressionable, entrepreneurs, starting out with their hearts full of hope can suffer major setbacks when given the wrong advice or led up the wrong path by often well meaning but essentially unqualified ‘coaches’ seeking to fill their own purse or even just appease their own ego.
The vulnerability of elderly entrepreneurs wanting to fulfil a dream late in life can be be even more affected by bad advice. Losing your life savings late in life can be devastating.
I’m not suggesting that the ‘coach’ might swindle you, just that bad advice, even when well meant, can destroy your dreams and sometimes your bank balance too.
So if you’re a person looking for advice on how to set up and create an enterprise on a budget what should you do? Should you avoid advice altogether? No, of course not, but here are a few tips which might help you weed out the genuine coach or advisor from the person seeking to gain financially, directly or indirectly, from giving advice or even the supposed ‘coach’ just driven by ego.
- Ask the ‘coach’ for a CV! What have they achieved in business.
- Have they ever built a business? If so get details. What deals have they actually done?
- Where do they live? If they are advising you on how to become financially independent they should at least be so themselves don’t you think?
- What car do they drive? This is relevant because very few successful entrepreneurs drive about in old bangers. You want advice from someone who is successful themselves don’t you?
- If they are advising you on a specific business idea you must ask what qualifies them to do so. Have they created a similar business themselves?
- How long have they been in this role? This is important because someone who is now 45 and who has been employed by someone else until last year, when he/she took redundancy, may not understand your startup situation as well as you might be led to believe.
- Always remember that silver tongues do not always deliver silver linings, especially for you!
- Do not be worried about asking detailed questions regarding your ‘coaches’ credentials. If you were about to have a brain operation you would want to know the person operating was properly qualified wouldn’t you? The same goes for a business operation.
- Do not assume that just because the ‘coach’ is located in a prestigious building, or even institution, that he or she knows what they are talking about. Ask them why they are a coach and what qualifies them to give you advice.
- Go with your gut feel, does the ‘coach’ look and feel right? Do they really have the relevant experience to advice you, or are they just good talkers?
As I said at the start I’m not against coaches in general but I am against those who are offering advice on starting a business, and business growth, when they have never grown anything more than a house plant.
It is unlikely that a successful entrepreneur is living in a small flat or bedsit or driving a banger (clunker for my American friends) that’s why it’s important to understand where they live and what they drive, especially in big cities like London or New York where there seem to be more ‘coaches’ than trains on the underground or metro!
Make sure your business isn’t knocked over by a coach!