I painfully understand what it’s like to hire a coach, look up to them as a mentor, only to realise that they don’t understand you, your business, or your vision. The first time it happened, it took over 3 years to overcome the pain and damage they caused.

Imagine entrusting the growth of your business to someone, only to realise that they didn’t understand where you were coming from and could only coach you from how they would run the parts of your business they understood.

It made me question my messaging, my branding, my offers. I changed and worked on all of these and only realised later that it wasn’t me who had it wrong, it was them.

How did I work out that my business coach didn’t understand me?

understand business quote john mcnelisThe first business coach outright told me that they didn’t understand and that no one would understand, or want to, the psychology of social media. While I didn’t work with them after this, I still admired them and their one comment stuck with me for over three years. I worked my business away from the psychology of social media and to teaching strategies and tactics. I hated it and it ended in me breaking down and having to rebuild myself and my business.

The next coach I felt was giving me business advice that didn’t actually meet my needs. It was as though they were listening for what they would do in what I said, rather than helping me with the issue. I went to a number of events with them and when they started talking over me as I was giving training, I knew that they didn’t understand me or my business. I even spoke to a colleague who witnessed this and they agreed that the coach didn’t understand and my message was clear.

What did I learn from having a mentor that didn’t understand my business?

People listen and react from the place they feel most comfortable, their own drivers.
People also have a number of biases they need to be mindful of, especially when coaching.
People listen to respond rather than hear.
When you introduce doubt in someone, be prepared for them to question you or question themselves.
Some people will never understand what you do but the people in your corner should always support what you do.
Staying aligned with my values keeps me happy and focused.

I’m grateful for these lessons but every time it took me 4-6 months to recover from them. That’s a lot of lost time and lost income.

How to know that a business coach understands your business.

A coach should listen and question before they give an opinion. Their opinion should be based on what’s best for your business, not their’s, not their other clients’, yours.

Understand business quote Warren BuffettA coach shouldn’t push an opinion on you. They should tell you why they have a particular opinion and the risks and benefits of adopting (or not) but they should never make you feel like you must.

A coach should call you on your BS but not tell you how to think or what to do.

A coach should advocate for you and your business.

A coach should understand the aims and objectives you and your business have so that they can help you both be the best possible versions.

If a coach doesn’t understand then they should ask questions until they do.

I hope that helps you find someone who understands you and your business so that you avoid some of the set backs and issues I’ve encountered over time. If you want to chat to me and find out if I’d understand you and your business, then please contact me.

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