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The Ultimate Business Coaching Guide For 2021

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Behind every notable athlete, there is always a coach who helps them focus on the task at hand, improve their performance, and provide constructive feedback.

Similarly, entrepreneurs, business executives, startup founders, and small business owners benefit from having a business coach in their corner.

A business coach and an athletic coach share the same basic principles.

Coaches function as reliable and experienced mentors, trainers, and teachers to help an ambitious spirit overcome professional challenges.

If you enjoy that type of bond, you’re ready to work with a business coach.

What is business coaching?

Business coaching is a process designed to help you move from where you are—professionally—to where you want to be.

The main role of a business coach is to accompany business professionals and entrepreneurs in clarifying their vision, setting actionable goals and objectives, and keeping their clients accountable throughout their journey.

A coach’s job isn’t to assign blame or enumerate all of your past mistakes.

The ultimate goal of a business coach is to help you discover your own path and to help move you forward in your pursuit of personal and professional success.

Is business coaching only for executives?

Absolutely not.

In the past, coaching was more common among executives. But now, business coaching is being used in every step of the career ladder.

The expression: “everyone can benefit from coaching” is resoundingly true. Everyone means business leaders and executives, business owners and founders, and individuals in all career levels.

Business coaching services can take many forms and apply to various situations; this is why it can fit everyone’s needs.

For business professionals and entrepreneurs, coaching encourages introspection. Clients generally explore their strengths, opportunities, and blind spots through systems designed to achieve long term personal and professional growth.

If you are an entrepreneur or a business owner, you might seek advice on business growth or prioritizing other company needs. A small business coach will help you develop a vision, then set corresponding goals and action plans to ensure the success of that vision.

As you progress in your career, an executive coach will help you become your “best self.” Coaches are not just present to help you set goals—they’re invested in helping you hit certain milestones.

Other times, you might need to resolve issues that arise from being a frontline or middle manager.

Or you may need a subject matter expert to assist you with a specific technical proficiency such as the financial or marketing areas of your business. This might include developing the products and services your business needs to achieve success.

Ultimately, your business doesn’t necessarily need to be struggling for you to work with a coach. You may just want someone to share their insight or an idea on how you can get from A to B, even if your business is already successful.

Business coaching services add value across a wide array of scenarios and help clients at different stages in their careers.

Where do business coaches get their knowledge?

Business coaches don’t receive their wisdom by reading tea leaves or gazing at a crystal ball.

Coaches are—most commonly— experienced business leaders who have had success in growing one or many businesses.

A business coach doesn’t need to have any specific business coach certification. However, obtaining a certification does provide a helpful framework for effective and credible coaching.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) ranks among the most recognizable business coach programs and certifications.

Yet, it is the experience, proficiency, and relatability of the coach that produces the best results.

Does business coaching actually work?

Yes, but you have to put in the work yourself. A business coach does not have a magic wand to wave away all of your many business problems.

A business coach is an attentive observer who can gather tidbits of data and identify blockages (psychological, financial, communication, personal, etc.) that have been holding the business back.

Much like a therapist, a business coach asks questions until a “problem” topic is broached and then offers advice, opinions, and expertise to help you overcome the said problem.

A coaching session can provide much-needed guidance, but coaches don’t have the power to take your business to the next level and won’t solve all your business problems.

It’s up to you—the client—to do the work to enact change, whether that means achieving your professional goals, personal growth, or taking your company to the next level.

What are the benefits of hiring a professional business coach?

Overall, coaching helps you obtain fresh perspectives and can enhance your decision-making skills.

It can help you develop the foundational competencies required for success in your current company and the qualifications to land your next dream job.

For example, a business coach can help you:

  • communicate information and directives more effectively

  • achieve a better work-life balance while improving productivity (i.e., work smarter, not harder)

  • stay grounded during crises and transmit that calmness to the rest of the team

  • prioritize responsibilities to help employees deal with stress and avoid burnouts

Studies by the ICF show the positive impact that business coaching can have on individuals ranging from small business owners to industry leaders.

  • 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence

  • 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills

  • 86% of companies report a 100% return on investment and more

Coaching a business owner increases worker engagement levels and positively impact their employee experience. Engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and report higher job satisfaction, which leads to higher retention.

Without a doubt, coaching helps you to develop better habits, and by practicing the right behaviors, you will move closer to achieving your goals. 

What are the different business coaching services?

Before you start looking, it’s essential to understand the different types of business coaching services that are available.

Here are the most popular categories:

Professional Coaches

This type of business coaching is the most common because there’s a professional coach for every stage of your career.

Businesses are now assigning a coach for entry-level employees in order to accelerate productivity. Mid-managers are also working with coaches to develop leadership skills and high-performing teams.

A study by the Personnel Management Association showed that when training is combined with coaching, individuals increase their productivity by an average of 86%—compared to only 22% with training alone.

Executive Coaches

Top executives, CEOs, and business owners understand that being at the top is demanding and it requires that your mind stays sharp and up-to-date.

An executive coach can make the transition into a leadership position much smoother by serving as a mentor. Most executive coaches have served in similar positions themselves.

New executives commonly face a lonely uphill battle when they first assume their leadership role. A leadership coach can act as a sounding board to help you evaluate your feelings and ideas before sharing them publicly.

Executive coaching offers an opportunity for anyone at the helm of an organization or team to sharpen their leadership skills and create better business goals.

Subject Matter Experts

This is one of the most important categories as it involves having sessions with seasoned experts with specific business specialties.

Subject matter experts are less common than certified or professional business coaches, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t as valuable.

For instance, a financial or marketing coach could be essential for tackling specific business challenges as they have a deeper understanding compared to the limited knowledge of a business owner.

More importantly, subject matter experts “teach you how to fish.” In other words, they help business owners gain competency in specific areas to ultimately take on the work by themselves.

Subject matter experts typically work well with startup entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to put their best foot forward in developing the products and services required for company growth.


Advisors describe a newer category of business support.

Think of an advisor as someone with business coach training that exists to help you when you’re stuck.

Advisors can answer specific business questions or offer on-demand business advice with things like preparing for a difficult conversation at work, navigating company politics, resolving a team conflict, or discussing the best way to ask for a raise.

Advisors are becoming more popular, particularly for businesses with small HR teams or lack an HR function.

Unlike traditional coaching services, advisors address short term needs during a single session. Business issues are addressed, but usually, advisors are not involved in mentoring or holding coaches accountable over time.

Because of this limited role, advisors can become an affordable solution, especially for young professionals and small business owners who are early in their careers or who cannot invest in full-time business coaching.

CoCaptain is one of the few companies out there that offer advisory services as well as traditional business coaching.

Small Business Coaching

Small business coaches are becoming more and more popular. A small business coach can help business owners and entrepreneurs navigate the ever-increasing difficulties of running a business.

For example, small business coaches can provide content and advice regarding the type of entity you should create. They help you decide how to hire, and manage new employees, keep your team engaged and productive, what kinds of marketing solutions you should consider, and other small business challenges.

This service helps entrepreneurs and small business owners gain self-awareness to understand their strengths and weaknesses. The program can then help the owner leverage their best skills while also addressing each area of opportunity for the success of their small business.

A small business coach aims to ensure you grow your business and that the entrepreneurial enthusiasm does not fade away simply because you lack the best strategies.

Life Coaching

Very few people realize how much their personal and professional lives are interconnected. This is why there’s been a surge of holistic services that combine life and professional coaching.

A life coach focuses on your personal needs. The program offers help to improve relationships, advance careers, and achieve a greater sense of fulfillment.

Businesses are embracing life coaching services for their employees because it helps to clarify individual goals and to identify and overcome personal obstacles.

A life coach helps clients attain a greater sense of purpose by aligning professional goals with their personal vision and values.

How can I find the right coach for me?

It might seem easy to find a business coach, but finding the right one is an entirely different story.

Beyond word of mouth, coaching platforms can be a helpful resource to find the perfect fit.

If you’re assessing if a business coach is the right fit for you, remember the acronym TEACH.


Instead of analyzing their personal success, find a business coach that’s an effective teacher.

The most effective business coaches demonstrate how things should be done—they “walk the walk.”


It’s essential to evaluate coaches based on their proficiencies. Maybe it’s obvious, but if you need help with sales, stick to a business coach with a background in sales.

A coach’s industry, past professions, and life experiences are all relevant factors.


The most effective business coaches respectfully provide honest feedback and hold clients accountable for making progress on their goals.

Beyond constructive conversations, coaching services are designed to help you deliver better results.

Find someone that will bring out the best you.


Find a business coach with personal values that align with yours. Similarly, your coach should have a communication style that fits with your own.

You need to develop a (hopefully) long-lasting relationship where you feel safe being open and honest as you take on the world.


You may initially pursue a coach to help you achieve your company growth objectives or to clarify your career vision.

However, when your coach asks the right questions, you’ll discover a need to go deeper to yield better results.

The right coaching service will support you across multiple disciplines, including both professional (business) and personal (life) growth.

How much does a business coach cost?

Like with most services, business coach expenses depend on the experience and location of the coach as well as the number of coaching sessions desired.

Historically, business coaching can be pricey with a typical fee of around $250 an hour. Depending on the coach’s level of experience, the rate can go up to $1000/hr.+ in cities like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco.

Fortunately, new platforms like CoCaptain offer virtual coaching at various price points. As a result, you can find qualified and experienced coaches at affordable rates—regardless of location.

While ad hoc coaching has its benefits, longer engagements provide the best results. It’s customary to meet with a business coach around twice a month for three to six months.

By purchasing packages, you can save money upfront rather than paying per session.

In some cases, business coaches offer 15 or 30-minute complimentary consultations (also known as discovery calls), so you can assess if they are a good fit before making a commitment.

Bottom line

This article provides an overview of the world of business coaching, how to find the right business coach, and how a coach can help professionals of all levels achieve their goals.

Even when you have limited resources or you are a new founder, hiring a business coach as early as possible will maximize your return.

Whether you decide to go for a one-off session or commit to a more long-term coaching program, a partnership with a business coach can help you achieve greater job satisfaction, increase your bottom line, or reach your personal and professional goals.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to hire a business coach? Share your experiences below.

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