The top 5 problems with business coaching

You know what? Coaching might not be for you. After all, not everybody would benefit from a coach. And if that’s true (which it is), wouldn’t it be really rubbish to paint a picture as if coaching is all sandy beaches and palm trees? So we decided to write an article outlining what the top 5 problems with business coaching are so you can make up your mind whether it’s for you or not.

No bias, no bull, and no hiding. Just an honest review so you are as informed as possible.

So when does coaching not work?

So here it is, the very biggest problem with coaching.

A business coach will often use the expression “work on” the business and not “in the business”.

Why is that phrase so popular? Because it’s the first thing that you need to do to start really growing a business. A hairdresser can’t grow a business by cutting more hair.

But when you take the scissors out of that hairdresser’s hands and they start working ON the business (marketing, building systems, recruiting, managing and leading, working on the financials, making commercial decisions, and planning), that business is likely to grow.

That’s part of the job for a coach. It’s one of the key things that a business coach does.

The top 5 problems with business coaching

Problem 1

So what does that have to do with the biggest problem in coaching?

Well if you are the kind of person, that even with a coach pushing you and holding you accountable, your still not going to work on the business, coaching is probably a waste of time.

Why is it so important to work ON the business?

Because the time working on the business is when you’ll complete your goals. In each coaching session, you’ll set goals and actions that will move the business forward. If you can’t and won’t make the time to work ON the business, then you can’t possibly complete the goals that will move the business forward.

Your coach will help you set goals, they’ll hold you accountable and challenge you if you don’t do them. But if you are the kind of person that still isn’t going to work on the business with all that help and guidance, then there’s not that much point in having a coach.

That’s not a dig at people that don’t want to work on the business, some people are happy cutting hair and love working in the business. Some people are ready to retire and couldn’t care less about growing a business. And some people might be running a business for fun because they love what they do.

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but it does mean you are probably better off without a coach.

Coaching is ideal for those people that want to grow, and get stuff done.

If you set goals, work towards them and complete the actions, you will grow. 

Do you have one of those friends that says they’ll come out for dinner with you on Friday, and you would bet your last penny that they don’t show? Well, that’s not what we mean when we say “get stuff done”. The kind of person we’re referring to is that person that says they’ll be there, and that you can be supremely confident that they will be.

If you are the kind of person that would do what you said you were going to do, if you have goals and dreams and want more from your business. If you want your business to grow, then you don’t need to worry about this problem.

So the first point on the 5-point checklist is;

Do you want to grow?

And are you happy to make time to work ON the business?

If the answer to either of those is NO then coaching could be more of a problem than a solution.

The top 5 problems with business coaching

Problem 2

The second biggest problem in coaching is when it becomes difficult to measure the results. Most people have something they want to achieve from a coaching programme or a coaching relationship. If that thing they want to achieve is hard to measure then it could be tricky to know whether you’re getting your money’s worth or not.

Some things are really easy to measure, for example, growth, profitability, and how much the owner pays themselves. All of those don’t contribute to this problem at all, they’re simple, numerical, and easy-to-measure KPIs. But when it’s something like “a better quality of life” or “teamwork”, the lines can become a little blurred.

When that’s the case, most members just have to go off their gut. Anything but an ideal measuring stick.

That doesn’t mean you should completely write coaching off as you could with problem 1 (not working on the business). But it does cause a bit of a problem.

Can coaching help you have a better quality of life?

Can it help with the teamwork in an organisation?

Yes, of course. It’s just trickier to measure.

So you don’t need to turn on your heels and run for your life with problem 2. But you do need to give some careful consideration to whether you’re ok with it.

Which means the second point on our 5-point checklist is;

Do you know what you want to gain from a coaching relationship?

Is it measurable?

And if it’s NOT measurable, are you happy not knowing whether it’s working or not?

If the answer to all 3 of those questions is NO, then again, coaching might not be right for you.

The top 5 problems with business coaching

Problem 3

Here come’s problem number 3. There was always going to be a problem when it comes to the price so here it is:

If you specifically want 121 coaching and you want it cheap.

Actually, it’s not the biggest problem in the world. Is there cheap coaching out there? Yes, and not just cheap, but free.

I know what you’re thinking, the cheap or free coaching must be rubbish and not worth doing. If that’s what you thought, you’d be wrong. Some of the free coaching (and cheap coaching) will absolutely help you. As long as the framework of a good coaching system is there (goal setting, working ON the business and towards those goals, accountability etc) then you should make progress.

So what’s the problem then?

Well, it’s not that coaching would be the problem, but we at Action Coach Manchester probably are. There are lots of different things that make 121 coaching cheap or expensive and for us, we wanted to make coaching an unforgettable experience. But we also wanted our members to have a good combination of 121 coaching, face-to-face events, digital learning, accountability, and education from some of the world’s best. That’s what we provide for all of our 121 members and that means we’re not the cheapest.

Are we the most expensive? Nope, wouldn’t say that either. There are certain coaches on a global scale (think Tony Robbins or Marshall Goldsmith) who charge much more than us and only offer 121 coaching without all the extra bits mentioned. And even coaches on a local level charge more too. But we definitely aren’t cheap (our 121 coaching programmes start at £1333+VAT).

What if you’re just starting out?

If you’re starting out there are tons of places that you can go for free or for cheap 121 coaching. You can visit a growth hub local to you (like the Manchester growth hub). There are government backed schemes. You could try your bank and see if they have any accelerator programmes (banks like NatWest do and their business expert Adam Clayton can help with that). And there will be lots of local business coaches who’d be happy to help you for a really reasonable price on a 121 package.

If you do want cheap and you want to work with us here at Action Coach Manchester, the best place to start would be on our Growth Package. It’s priced at just £99+VAT, so man alive is it cheap. The downside, there’s no 121 coaching involved in that programme. So if your just starting out and want to be involved in our coaching programmes, group coaching (with lots of digital coaching alongside) is the way to go.

So it’s time for the third point in our checklist.

Are you comfortable in a group format instead of 121?

Are you comfortable working with another coach or an organisation such as the Manchester growth hub?

If the answer to both of those questions is no, then coaching might not be for you.

The top 5 problems with business coaching

Problem 4

We’ve reached problem 4. This is fairly straightforward and also surprisingly common.

Problem 4 is:

If you don’t like leaving the office.

This can be a big problem if you’ve only got a small budget. Maybe you’ve only just started your business or it’s in its infancy and you really don’t like mingling with lots of people. Maybe it’s none of those and maybe you can’t travel, then this could also be a problem.

Just like with problem 4 (if you specifically want 121 coaching and want it cheap), the answer here could be joining a growth hub or a free programme. That way you can either have 121 coaching for a certain amount of time or you can join their group programmes that usually run on Zoom.

The Community

One of the coolest benefits of our programmes at Action Coach Manchester is our community. Rubbing shoulders with other business owners that are facing similar challenges or that can pass on any advice can be so cool. But we get it, it can also be intimidating right?

For some, being around different people can cause anxiety. It can cause others to feel awkward or uncomfortable. And others, that don’t suffer in those circumstances, they might just prefer to be at the office or spend time alone.

If that’s the case, then coaching may not be for you.

The exception to that rule would of course be if you wanted, could afford, or are happy to invest in 121 coaching. Or as we mentioned before you were happy to look at some form of free or funded coaching.

So the 4th point on our checklist is:

Are you comfortable mingling with other business owners?

If not, are you happy investing in 121 coaching?

And if the answer to both of them is no, are you happy to join a free or funded programme?

If the answer to all three of those is no, then coaching might not be for you.

The top 5 problems with business coaching

The top 5 problems with business coaching

The top 5 problems with business coaching

Problem 5

Here it is, our fifth and final problem.

When coaching doesn’t get results.

As crazy as it might sound, getting results from a coaching programme is a fairly linear process. If you and your coach follow the framework, you will get results. But some people do invest in a coaching programme and then DON’T get results. So here we’ll explore why that happens.

The first reason

The first reason is a fairly obvious one, a lack of results will often happen if the coach isn’t following a strong framework. There are some key parts to a coaching framework.

They include:

  • Knowing where you want to go and having clear goals.
  • Setting a plan to get you there.
  • Working towards those goals and working on the plan rather than all the random stuff that can happen in a business.
  • Learning about the subject that your goals are set on.
  • Executing the plan and staying persistent when time’s get tough or focus is lost.
The second reason

The second reason is if the coach does a bad job when it comes to accountability. There aren’t many “perfect” business owners out there that set the goals, follow the plan and never miss an action that needs taking. A big part of the coach’s job is to hold the business owner to account.

That’s not the easiest skill in the world, after all, this is a human-to-human business and most coaching relationships become personable. The coach often cares deeply about the people they are coaching. That can make accountability tough. It’s not easy having challenging conversations with someone that you really want to win and someone that you really care about.

However, that’s one of the key roles of the coach. They MUST hold their members to account, they must challenge them if they aren’t doing the things they said they would be doing. And if they don’t, it can mean a lack of results.

The third reason

The third reason that coaching doesn’t get results is when the person being coached is not doing the goals. This is closely linked to the accountability mentioned above. If a coach is highly skilled when it comes to goal setting, planning, mapping actions to be taken, and then holding that person accountable then the results will come.

But if the person being coached isn’t completing their goals, they simply can’t get results. It’s almost impossible to take no action and get good results. So this one falls on both parties.

It falls on the coach to hold the person to account and make sure the goals that are being set excite and motivate the business owner. And it falls on the business owner to take the action and find the time to complete the goals.

The fourth and final reason

Here it is, the fourth and final reason and possibly the most important one:

The business owner isn’t committed.

Sorry to throw this back at you guys right at the final bell. And of course, the coach plays a big part in helping the coachee get results. If the coach is teaching or educating the business owner on a subject that’s not relevant, or maybe even giving bad information, then it’s going to get the wrong kind of results. If the coach isn’t challenging the business owner when they miss goals, or if they aren’t helping the business owner set clear goals in the first place, that’s not going to help get great results either.

When the business owner being coached isn’t committed.

But ultimately, if the coach is doing a good job and the business owner isn’t committed, it just isn’t going to work out. Growing a business means dedicating yourself to getting better (by learning and educating yourself). It means taking action (by completing the goals). And it means being consistent and persistent (giving it enough time for the power of time to kick in and to keep going when things get tough).

Therefore, commitment is key. Commitment to the business, commitment to themselves to be better and take action, and finally, commitment to a coaching programme.

Our fifth and final checkpoint is a simple one:

Are you willing to fully commit to a coaching programme?

If the answer is no, then as you’ve probably worked out by now, coaching might not be for you.

But if you do think having some accountability would be helpful and you do want to grow whilst being part of a business community, well then our business coaching programmes might just be perfect for you. If that’s the case and you want to find out more, simply check out our prices and programmes here, or just jump straight in by selecting “join a membership” by clicking here.