Have you noticed how many people are now calling themselves business coaches?

I’ve heard of some people embarking on a half-day online training course and calling themselves a business coach at the end of it. It’s scary really.

Similarly, a lot of people think that having a successful business career qualifies them to be a great coach but it’s not that simple.

Telling people ‘THIS IS WHAT I DID IN BUSINESS’ is rarely the best approach.

For reasons of full disclosure, I am a business coach – but I come at it from a slightly different angle.

I’ve got 25 years’ experience of business development. I was an associate trainer for Dale Carnegie before setting up my own business Bold Moves Coaching.

My advice to anyone looking for a business coach is to do your research before you commit.

Have a look at their LinkedIn profile to see how long they’ve worked as a business coach. They may have been a sales manager two years ago so have they got the level of experience you want?

‘I found my nirvana moment after getting a personal coach’ – CEO

I always offer people a free 30-minute consultation at the start. I think of it as a ‘try before you buy’ because sometimes you don’t click and it’s better to find that out at the beginning.

So what makes a good coach?

In my opinion it’s all about asking good questions and giving people the space to find the right answers.

My clients know their business far better than I ever will so my job is empowering them to come up with their own solutions.

Listening is an important quality of a business coach but it’s vital to be honest too.

I always say to be my clients at the start ‘if you ask for my advice I’m going to give it to you’.

That comes with experience and I’m not sure I would have been confident enough in 2010 to challenge CEOs and founders in the same way.

I remember being asked to work with the management team at one particular company and they told me that the managing director was the issue.

Having that conversation was difficult but the MD was aware of the problem himself and my job is to support them all through that process of change.

Every company you speak to wants to grow but the question I always ask at the outset is this: Why do you want to grow?

It’s tempting to look at all the financial opportunities that growth brings with it but if you want to grow you have to filter that growth mindset down to everybody in your company because they’ll be the ones delivering it.

There has to be purpose behind a publicly stated ambition to grow and it’s so important that companies continue to invest in their people.

When you’re growing as a company it’s easy for people to be left behind so upskilling your staff is a continual process.

As a CEO, MD, leader or founder of a business, you have a responsibility to keep investing in your staff and that’s something I always tell my clients.