10 Key Skills of a Business Coach

 Sai Blackbyrn/ 4th January 2022

A business coach expertly guides entrepreneurs with his/her expertise in expanding business and maximizing profits through tailored advice. A good business coach possesses the requisite skill set which makes him the ideal candidate to approach for any business-related concerns. Ranging from strategic thinking and goal setting to the ability to identify the needs of clients among many others constitute the overarching key skills that a business coach should cultivate. 

Only by possessing such attributes can a business coach succeed in tackling the challenges faced by an organization. A business coach who fails to prioritize between short and long-term targets on which an organization should focus will not be able to make any impactful long-term changes. As a result, the implementation process will lag behind. Similarly, a coach who cannot understand the needs of his clients will fail to provide solutions to rectify shortcomings. 

The 10 key skills that a business coach needs to possess to make it big in the coaching industry

1. Listening 

Active listening is the ability to focus carefully on the speaker, comprehend their message, and respond thoughtfully. Healthy communication between a coach and a client is essential to building a trusting connection. It is unfortunate that some coaches fail to see the value of active listening as an essential coaching skill.

Think about it this way: Coaching in business does not mean telling people what to do. Many coaches end up lecturing rather than guiding. By asking clients thought-provoking and concrete questions, and showing real interest in what they are saying is the way to acquire this trait. Listening intently can be highly beneficial as the clients will feel valued and will help you in formulating a more helpful solution.

“The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, and clear communication is necessary to management success.” – James Cash Penney, American Businessman 

2. Encouraging and Supporting

A good business coach encourages, motivates, inspires, and supports entrepreneurs. They assist clients to strive forward by focusing on their betterment. They inspire clients to take action and make use of an opportunity. For example, a business coach should encourage his client to expand their local business. Being able to inspire entrepreneurs to take action is an essential coaching skill as a coach should have leadership abilities. Also, constructive support enables clients to connect more deeply with work. When clients like their work, they are more likely to solve difficulties and finish tasks efficiently.

In order to acquire motivational talents, a business coach should try to stimulate employee productivity by recognizing what they are doing right. This will help the client gain the confidence needed to make crucial decisions. Routinely encouragement will motivate the employees to meet targets. This will instill a sense of accomplishment in the employees and their dedication to the task will increase. 

“A great coach not only inspires but supports and encourages others to get results.” – Richard Schuy, CEO of Clevermemo 

3. Organization

Business Counseling aids in optimizing and stabilizing organizational operations, such as marketing and sales strategy, financial decision-making, enhancing administration efficiency, and employee retention. Planning and organization keep the employees engaged. Without a well-structured plan, clients and coaches may lose sight of the bigger picture. 

Proper organizational planning will nurture progress in a systematic manner that can be tracked easily by the coach. This skill can be acquired by consciously segregating goals into various timely prototypes like weekly targets, monthly targets, and annual targets. Such a practice will ensure that the employees are up to date with every task.  So, organization planning is valuable as it helps the coach to plan, strategize and execute business operations. 

4. Goal Setting

Setting goals is creating a strategy for inspiring and guiding an individual or group toward a certain objective. The ability to successfully accomplish one’s goals is largely dependent on the ability to clearly define them. Tony Robbin, an American author, and coach says “setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” 

A business coach must determine the short and long-term targets for an organization which should be systematically outlined for the business owner to act on. By structuring an achievable growth model, a business coach defines a vision for entrepreneurs, thus helping their companies to flourish. To learn and acquire this coaching skill, a business coach needs to create a blueprint for the firm. The coach also needs to scrutinize any pitfalls and ensure that the goals are being met timely. Coaching tools like ‘Goal Coaching Toolkit’ can help to track the progress of your clients. Evidently, goal setting is instrumental as it propels a coach to actively measure progress, overcome procrastination and help his/her clients reach their desired destination. 

5. Questioning

There’s an art to raising the right questions. A coach with a vast knowledge of the industry will raise pertinent questions that will cause the client to investigate deeper into the workings of his company. 

To acquire this technique of asking open-ended inquiries, a business coach must constantly keep in mind the established coaching goals in focus while framing and asking questions. The questions should always be directed towards identifying any pitfalls in employee productivity, management, or a leadership vacuum. In short, being able to ask purposeful questions is a learned skill. It can be highly beneficial as it causes the client to think for themselves. When a coach asks questions rather than instructing the coachee what to do, the coachee will be prompted into thinking of finding solutions rather than waiting for a response from the coach.

Here’s a tip: Pose open-ended questions to the client. What, where, why, how, and when questions can help you gain a better understanding of the scenario and the client’s feelings as well.

6. Ability to Identify Client Needs

To assure client satisfaction, a business coach should firstly be able to identify their needs. In order to maintain long-term relationships with clients, it is critical to accurately recognize their wants and requirements. Customers will move their business elsewhere if you fail to adequately assess their demands or if you are insensitive to their wants. The ability to rightfully pinpoint just exactly what the client needs to incorporate to make their business thrive is an indispensable skill required for coaching.

Business counseling does not have a one-size-fits-all strategy. Your prior client’s methods and tools may not be suitable for your new one. The most successful business coaches have a strong understanding of their clients’ needs. To acquire this skill, you must tailor every aspect of your work as a coach to your client’s individual needs. As you create and implement your services and coaching sessions, you must constantly keep the needs of the client in mind. To identify needs, you must both listen and ask the right questions. In turn, this will benefit you as a coach since your clients will be pleased with your attention to detail. You will end up becoming their ‘go-to person’ in case of any business-related queries. 

7. Strategic Thinking

The ability to apply critical thinking to solve difficult issues and plan for the future entails strategic thinking. To achieve long-term business goals, overcome hurdles, and deal with problems, this skill is essential. A business coach needs to think strategically in order to help their clients’ businesses grow and prosper. Many business owners and executives lack the ability to see the big picture.  Help them realize the difference between where they are and where they want to go by working with them. Then you may work together to bridge the gap by making necessary modifications and dealing with impediments that prevent them from growing.

To acquire this skill, a business coach should develop strategic questions which are industry, product or service-specific. This should be followed by observing and reflecting on the current business model to devise how it needs to be modified to maximize profit. So, strategic thinking is an important skill and technique to cultivate as a business coach since it helps to spot new growth opportunities, address emerging industry trends, and devise step-by-step plans to meet targets. 

8. Creativity

The act of forging new connections between existing ideas or identifying interconnections between concepts constitutes the creative process. Creative thinking is not about creating something new from scratch, but rather about taking what is already existing and integrating those bits and pieces in a novel way. Despite having the same professional title, no two business coaches are the same. A unique creative expression can become your signature trait as a coach. Above all, it is a great coaching skill. 

If you are thinking of being a coach, your originality and creativity towards handling tasks will frequently set you apart from the competitors. You may utilize the same tools as others, but your own techniques and approach, as a consequence of your unique experiences and abilities, will set you apart.

To be innovative, though, you must spend time getting to know your clients. It is critical to understand their strengths and shortcomings in order to build a plan or coaching style that is appropriate for them. To acquire this skill, you should be authentic and come up with tailored solutions which are uniquely curated for your client. Moreover, being innovative will set you apart from your competitors. 

9. Business Acumen

Business acumen is an in-depth grasp of how a firm operates, how it generates revenue, and how various business strategies and decisions affect financial, operational, and sales results. Only a good business coach can accentuate the significance of financial preparation. It’s one of the salient skills you need to be a good coach. 

A business coach with credible knowledge in managing company finances can advise and assist business owners in understanding numerous elements such as tax planning, pricing strategies, locating monetary leaks, and cash flow management. It is no surprise that business owners are always seeking someone who has a fair idea about their organizational workings, company policy, and company ideology to provide a neutral perspective. To acquire a knack for business, a coach should try to multitask between carrying out promotional strategy, bringing the leads, and working on employee dynamics. Developing this skill will be instrumental in providing a clearer vision and a more comprehensive framework for a firm. 

10. Empathizing and Communication 

A vital workplace coaching skill is undoubtedly empathizing and communication. Good communication means the message you intend to send is received by your audience with full empathetic understanding. To build trust, a business coach must have open communication with customers. Strong communication skills help to create genuine and long-lasting connections with clients. It is necessary to have a good rapport with the client. Effective communication will demonstrate to clients that the coach is understanding their concerns. It also assures them that the coach will assist them by conveying strategic guidelines. For example, a business coach who is unable to clearly explain what changes his customer should undertake to make the business flourish will not meet expectations. 

To acquire this skill, a coach needs to cross-check and see whether their message was properly understood. A business coach who fails to do so will not be able to match the wavelength of his employer. This will problematically disrupt the pace of the organization and can lead to confusion if his message is being misinterpreted. A coach should never come across as condescending. Instead, empathy is the key. Remember, communication is a two-way street. Effective communication is advantageous for a coach. After all, if the clients can easily comprehend their message then only can they suitably follow their advice and execute it. 

Proper workplace communication improves team building by promoting transparency and encouraging a concise flow of information across employees. 

“Communication, the human connection, is the key to personal and career success” – Paul J. Meyer, author of Five Pillars of Leadership

Can Job Coaching Skills be Acquired Later?

Yes, job coaching skills can be acquired later. There is no particular deadline that can halt you from developing your skillset. As a business coach, you need to constantly work towards upscaling your current skillset by keeping up with the latest industry trends. This will give you an edge over your competitors and even add credibility by demonstrating your professional advancement. By possessing skillsets like goal setting, strategic thinking, and effective communication, you can aptly act as a career coach by helping professionals meet their business goals. 

How Should a Business Coach Use their Talents?

A business coach can optimally use their talents to help individuals running small and medium-sized companies reach their full potential. A Business Coach is committed to the cause of increasing his client’s efficiency and productivity to leaps and bounds. By using their skills and talents, a business coach structures an achievable growth model. Doing so, establishes a vision for entrepreneurs, thus helping their companies to flourish.

Moreover, by identifying a company’s strengths and shortcomings, business coaches work with the employees to make targeted adjustments.  So, business counseling assists businessmen in maintaining control of their firm while eliciting the finest performance from their employees by enhancing their general performance, productivity, and effectiveness. Even the big firms can make use of the advice provided by business coaches as no matter how competent the employees might be, upscaling and honing new skill-sets is a must to keep up with the industry trends since it is becoming more dynamic and spontaneous than ever. 

To read more on this, check out ‘How to Become a Business Coach.’

What are the Ways of Improving Coaching Skills?

Here are some ways in which you can improve your coaching skills:

  1. Be Accountable: Instilling a sense of accountability is essential to forge long-term relationships with clients. In coaching, you are not trying to fix your employer; you are trying to help them grow. If you showcase to your clients that you feel accountable for their actions, then they can confide easily in you.
  2. Believe in Human Potential: Good coaches believe that their students will succeed. When you hold unconditional trust in someone, it encourages them to go above and beyond what they previously felt they were capable of.
  3. Be Non-Judgemental: It is possible that what works for one client may not work for another. Help your coachee obtain what they really want, not just what you believe they should be getting.
  4. Don’t Lose Your Cool – Coaching can be stressful but that doesn’t mean you should ‘push’ your client to get your point across. So, maintain an aura of calmness so that the other person does not feel compelled to speed up or respond in a certain manner. It is crucial that your clients feel comfortable talking about their challenges at their own pace. 
  5. Provide Non-Verbal Support – Providing non-verbal support during a coaching talk helps create a comfortable environment. Begin with your posture. Make eye contact with the individual you are coaching. Also, remember to match your emotions and facial expressions to your intended message.

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