After being in the consulting and coaching business for nearly two decades there’s one thing I’ve learned that has definitely stuck with me; there is a huge division between the consultants and coaches who do this work for a living, and those who do this work as a calling.
Coaches who do this for a living are focused mainly on how many hours they can bill, how many customers they can get, and the bottom line margins. Coaches who do this as a calling are instead focused on how they can create more hours to help more customers, how they can serve even when the customers don’t have the budget, and how many peoples lives they can impact by sharing their wisdom.
The same rings true for many of the companies that are in this line of work and the cultures that they propagate as a result. That’s not to say you won’t find coaches of both types within these organizations however, but what you may find is that the coaches who focus more on service over the number of hours they can bill don’t last too long within the clashing organizations.
Finding a coach who truly cares about your business and who values service to others above all else is definitely the exception to the rule, but you can find them. Trust your instinct and judgement when you are selecting the right partner for your company. The companies with the silver lining may have built their empire on the backs of customers they’ve walked across, and the companies who remain nameless may be that way because they haven’t yet struck the right balance between service to others and profits to sustain growth.
Here are a few tips to get you started on finding the right match for your organization when it comes to coaches and consultants.
- Ask the prospective consultant to share a story about how their company demonstrates service to others above service to themselves and how they see that benefiting their relationship with your company.
- Do some research on the potential partner and see what you can learn about the company culture and how they treat their employees. There are plenty of sites where you can find valuable anonymous data from current and former employees.
- Ask to talk to some of their past customers and ask them to share stories of how they helped grow and transform their organization. Don’t be afraid to ask for specifics, sometimes in the re-telling of these stories some underlying hidden gems might appear in the details.
- Do your best to find a good culture fit not only with the consultant you plan to work with, but also with the company you plan to make a partner. Sometimes the consultant on the sales call might not be the one who sticks around to deliver the services.
Finally, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes the most economical or ‘easy to deal with’ coach isn’t the one that makes the most sense for your business. Keep in mind how many people and areas within your business this person has the potential to impact, do you really want this person representing the future of your business to your own customers? If not, then move on and find one that you wouldn’t mind taking home to meet your family if you had to – this might just be the person you can trust to take you where you need to go.