A business coach is someone who works with a business or a businessperson to generate a dramatic improvement, much like an athletic coach helps an athlete perform at his or her peak. Business coaches can offer services to everyone from a single entrepreneur trying to get started to a multinational company which is struggling to keep up with other companies in the field. Business coaches may also offer life coaching to people who find that problems in life spill over into the workplace.
When a client seeks out a business coach, the coach and client sit together in a meeting to discuss the specific problems the client is facing, and to talk about long-term goals for the client and the business. For example, a client may complain that sales are remaining static, or set the goal of expanding through the creation of franchises in the next decade. While meeting with the client, the coach can also evaluate the client's personality, approach to interpersonal communications, and general demeanor. Business coaches may also ask for records pertaining to the business and the employees, for the purpose of getting a more complete picture of the situation.
After discussing the situation with the client, the business coach sits down and formulates a plan. He or she addresses specific weak points which need improvement, determines ways in which the business can be improved, and sets goals and standards which can be used to measure progress. This information is presented to the client, with the coach and the client working together in the long term to meet the client's goals and to slowly expand them as the client and the business change.
Working as a business coach requires excellent interpersonal skills, and a good head for business. Business coaches also work in a very diverse pool of clients, which requires flexibility and a broad depth of knowledge. What works for a small family-owned bakery will not be effective for a single florist working alone, or for a large community bank which needs a little help to get established, and a business coach needs to be able to provide tailored plans of attack for all of these potential clients.
Some business coaches belong to professional organizations which set standards for coaching, ensuring that their members meet minimum professional requirements. These organizations also provide additional training workshops, client referrals, access to continuing education resources, and regular conferences and retreats for business coaches. This can be valuable professionally for people who want to advance in the field of business coaching. Business coaches can also work independently, relying on their client lists, educational history, and personal skills to succeed.