Five Ways to Make the Most Out of Coaching

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Executive and business coaching is now an $11 billion industry, and that figure is growing in Idaho and beyond.  I believe that coaching transforms lives and communities.  Here are five tips for business leaders considering coaching to make the most of the arrangement.

First thing’s first, what does a executive business coach do, exactly?

While no two coaches are the same, most certified coaches provide an objective lens to help organizations or individuals up their game through focusing on development, improved focus, strategic decision making, advise, accountability and motivation.  The benefits include highly engaged teams, goals and strategies that focus on how to improve execution, higher creativity, innovation and future focus, clarity of purpose/vision/mission , improved overall business performance and higher individual alignment and happiness.

For example, I worked with a client, Jennifer, who owns a Boise-based family manufacturing company established in 1975. I helped Jennifer with a succession plan to buy out her father and set up a new leadership structure, building a strong team. While Jennifer’s needs were fairly specific and in response to a major change in leadership, not everyone who seeks coaching is in that situation.

Coaching is a fit for anyone who wants to hone their leadership, communication and “soft skills” like self-awareness and emotional IQ. Many clients are in need of significant results or are trying to solve a pressing problem or needing to fully leverage an opportunity in their industry or company.

As a coach for others, I also work with a coach myself – and I’ve experienced firsthand the ingredients for gleaning the most wisdom and practical skills from such a relationship. Here are five suggestions I offer clients and fellow coaches as we work to achieve a business’s goals.

1. Tell the Whole Truth

The intimate nature of coaching requires that both client and coach be honest, truthful and professional at all times. If you are withholding pertinent information from your coach, he or she can’t serve you effectively.

2. Experimentation Is a Must

Most coaches will recommend different strategies that need to be tested in your life or your business to know if they work. Coming in with an open mind and monitoring changes will help your coach help you. Fear of the unknown or a scarcity mindset is the biggest challenge I see holding clients back.

3. Take a Dose of Reality

I’m all for helping clients achieve their most audacious dreams, but I also encourage them to be realistic. If you want to write a bestselling business book but the last time you wrote anything was 20 years ago during college, you may want to rethink that goal.

4. Put Some Skin in the Game

Coaching, like any professional development, takes an investment of time (I recommend 12 months to start) and money. In my experience, you get what you pay for. You also get what you, the client, prepares for. That means showing up fully to each session, doing any homework or other commitments, and being punctual and organized.

5. Try Before You Buy

Looking for a coach that you believe will drive your strengths, challenge your weaknesses and be truthful about those habits, traits and blind spots that might be holding you or your business back. Coaches come with differing qualifications and experiences, as well as tools, programs and methodologies. It’s wise to hold a trial coaching strategy session to make sure there’s a foundation of compatibility and understanding, and that your coach has the confidence and experience to win your trust.


Ultimately, a coach is like having a partner in your business who provides strategic and tactical acumen and who is up to date on the latest trends, habits and methodologies, but unlike a true business partner, you won’t have to give up shares or profits to help your business thrive.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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