What do Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, and Bill Gates all have in common? They have all honed their success and expertise through hiring coaches to encourage their work and development.
Consider your daily routine: you work in a corporate role, own your own business, or are managing your day-to-day life. Whatever your situation, whether it be professional, business or life issues, who do you turn to for guidance? Turns out, more and more people are looking for help, turning to coaches of all kinds — personal, professional or business — to help them navigate. As of 2020, coaching was estimated to be a $2.85 billion industry in the United States.
It isn’t just individuals getting into the coaching act; companies are too. If people are companies’ most important resources, companies are looking for ways to invest in their mental health, betterment, and productivity. Advocates for the coaching industry suggest that “organizations that want to invest in their talented executives, leaders and managers will partner them with a coach as a proactive developmental strategy,” said a HuffPost article from 2016.
Coaches provide resources to professionals and small business owners that directly contribute to the growth and development of a business. As such, coaching is an investment in one’s business and employees.
The benefits of coaching
According to the Institute of Coaching, a Harvard affiliate, “80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, and over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills.”
The services that coaches provide are by no means a one-size-fits-all resume. Successful coaches can tailor their expertise to the needs of their clients, making their services a worthwhile investment. For example, coaches can help with strategic planning, marketing, leadership, profitability, productivity, and employee relations, to name a few areas worth improving.
Coaches can’t do the work for you though. The Harvard Business Review outlines several prerequisites that contribute to a beneficial coach-client relationship:
- Clients must have a strong motivation to improve and develop their skills. If you as a client aren’t open to examining yourself, or to adaptation and change, a coach can’t help you achieve your goals. In many ways, coaches help you develop muscle memory to examine situations through different lenses.
- There needs to be strong chemistry between coach and client. As with any human relationship, not all coaches will work well with every client. Good chemistry is the driver that turns a basic coaching experience into a great one. The connection enables mutual trust, which in turn allows for greater growth and development. Reputation isn’t a good enough reason for hiring a coach. It’s why ideamix is building idealab to match clients with the best coaches suited to you and the topics you want help with.
- Clients need to be open to new avenues. How many times have you walked into a store intending to buy 1 thing and come out with 2 others? You might start working with a coach to improve your productivity as an example. But your sessions may lead you to explore and understand other factors you didn’t come in wanting to tackle: like client-executive relations, communication, or marketing.
Women in business
Cue the fluctuating employment numbers we’re seeing from the pandemic, and the consequent realization that women need a different level of support in the workplace. The benefits that coaching provides are especially important for women in business. According to the Harvard Business Review, many female executives report “feeling alone, unsupported, outside their comfort zones, and unable to advocate forcefully for their perspectives in many high-level meetings,” especially in male-dominated spaces. How women are treated and perceived in the workplace also contributes to this phenomenon, with many women reflecting on their tendency to be talked over or discredited by their male colleagues.
As such, coaching for women can act as a means to take back power in situations where they may otherwise face compromises, unfair juggling, difficulties, and hardships. Personalized coaching is an immensely important tool for leveling the playing field and uplifting female entrepreneurs. This is especially important when we consider the inequality facing female entrepreneurs; for example, women-led startups only received 2.3 percent of venture capital funding in 2020 — a significant drop from the 3.4 percent of funding allotted to female-founded companies in 2019. How do we bridge this equity gap? It’s why so many female founders work with coaches – to help position them best in an already challenging environment.
It isn’t just women who face the work-life juggle every day. In 2020, the International Coach Federation (ICF) reported that 68 percent of coaching clients in North America were women. In terms of age range, surveyed coach practitioners reported that 60 percent of their clients were under 45, indicating the need younger generations feel to develop themselves and their businesses.
Perhaps mirroring the profile of clients, internationally, the number of female coaches rose from 60 percent to 70 percent since 2015. By extension, not only are women increasingly becoming coaches, but 68 percent of coaching clients on a global scale are women, indicating their desire to strengthen their skills and optimize their chances to succeed in business.
Finding the right coach
Coaching is a growing international market, with Gen X making up 51 percent of coaches and advisors globally. Not only can younger generations learn from their seniors, but they also have ample room to establish themselves in this field and grow.
When looking for a business coach, it is immensely important to do thorough research. What does their resume look like? How many clients and businesses have they worked with in the past, and what industries are they in? Have they received training prior to coaching professionally or do they have a depth of firsthand experience? When it comes to helping you evolve personally or professionally, it’s important to check all your boxes before making the investment. Because coaching is an investment — from both a financial and emotional perspective.
Reputation and experience are not the same as genuine connection and solid results. It’s important to place your own development and that of your business in the hands of someone you trust. Listen to reports and concerns from former clients, and schedule a consultation with a coach before making a decision to work with them.
“[Coaching] can give these early-in-career leaders a sounding board,” said Janet Lockhart-Jones, Ed.D., president and chief learning leader of Project Partners Consulting, a firm that helps businesses grow and develop their skills. “It can give them an opportunity to express what their challenges are. And it can give them a partner to help them brainstorm what some solutions might be and hold them accountable to act on those things that they say are important to them.”
Professionals and industry experts agree there are myriad reasons to hire a business coach. Hiring a coach to aid in your growth is an investment that, in turn, can make your business immensely more successful. Consulting with a professional provides a new perspective that can enlighten you to any blindspots or problem areas in your business or brand.
At ideamix, we provide the most beneficial and realistic tools and resources for individuals, professionals, and business owners to build their self-awareness and skills. Our idealab workshops offer private programs with experienced coaches for those who want to identify and build on an idea or passion. Regardless of where you are in your business journey, whether it be launching a startup or building on an existing brand, ideamix will meet you at whatever stage you’re at to workshop solutions and goals.
It’s also why we’re building the best-in-class platform to connect coaches with clients, whether they be consumers or small businesses. Feeling confident in your ability is a must-have tool that should be in every entrepreneur’s arsenal, and coaching programs are one step in the right direction.