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Is Business Coaching A Waste of Time or The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make?

Business Coaching is not a waste of time, if you do your due diligence to find a Coach who executes growth strategies for your business, instead of simply playing the role of a motivational, mindset-transformation therapist.

It is a harsh reality, but it’s the truth.  In a 2016 survey from the International Coaching Federation, it was estimated that there are approximately 53,300 professional coach practitioners worldwide.  About 17,500 of those coaches are in North America.  They will be releasing a new survey in 2019 and I will be sure to update the numbers here when it is released.

I expect that the current number of coaches worldwide has doubled since 2016.  If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, I’m confident that a big portion of your social news feed is someone trying to sell you on their masterclass, mastermind, online course, webinar, or group strategy session. In the sea of options, who is real? Who actually knows what they’re talking about and has direct and proven experience versus just selling you the dream?

Business Coach Vs. Business Strategist

Merchandising Strategy

Global Retail Consultant, DeAnna McIntosh, preparing for a strategy presentation for one of our clients.

These terms are often used interchangeably, so you have to ask the Coach or Strategist you are interested in what their definition is and the services they provide.  A Business Coach can be considered a professional who will help you achieve your goals effectively.  A Business Strategist can be considered a professional who strategizes and executes your business direction.  Again, ensure that you verify with the person you are interested in what their approach is to their role.

At The Affinity Group International, we consider ourselves Strategists. There is purposeful data and industry research behind each decision we make for ourselves and for our clients – regardless if you’re working with us on your logo design or if we are creating a financial plan for your merchandise inventory.

Here are 4 Ways To Know If A Business Coach or Business Strategist Is A Good Fit:

They Have the Proven Expertise

Validate their credentials through multiple sources! Find their personal profile and company profile on LinkedIn and see if they have recommendations from prior colleagues and clients.  Check testimonials.  Don’t be afraid to ask for their professional resume.  Use this mindset when evaluating coaches: it’s awesome if they’ve been able to help other businesses at your same size / relatively similar sales figures, etc. but does their experience align to where you want TO GROW TO. Our specialty is with both local and international brands and with national US big box retailers.

They Speak Your Brand Language

Simply put, they “get you“. They understand your brand vision, and when you’re speaking with them, they’re able to repeat your vision right back to you, and seamlessly add in where they can visualize your brand growing to with their strategic plan.  Great listening skills are critical to effective coaching.  Pay close attention to their responses to your questions during the interview process.  Are they directly answering your questions with a comprehensive response or answering around your questions?

Your Business Coach has to be just as excited about your business as you are. When you speak with them, you should get butterflies and an overwhelming energy about the potential of what results you will produce by working with them. You two should have a serious connection, borderline love, and excitement about working together! And most of all, you must trust your gut. Your Coach will be your accountability partner for your business journey. You have to actually enjoy talking to them and respect that they always have your best interest at heart and end goal in mind! Be overly cautious about Coaches and programs who promise bigger than life results, and seemingly “get rich quick” schemes.

You Connect With The Way They Run Their Business

Your Business Coach will be advising you on how to grow your business, so pay close attention to how they run their own business through your communication with them.  How easily could you contact them? How was the communication process since your first correspondence? Do they seem like someone who is consistent and reliable? It is important to pay attention to the signs and ask questions.

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DeAnna McIntosh is a trend-setting, results-driven Retail Business Coach and Consultant with 16+ years of experience helping brands drive sales, conversion, productivity, innovation, and engagement (10 of those years being inside Fortune-ranked Retailers). Work directly with her via www.deannamcintosh.com.


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