How to choose a VA Coach / Mentor / Trainer for you

Choosing the right VA coach, mentor and/or training course for your needs can seem like a massive task. There’s so many options available to you, from the ‘simple’ (Do I want a coach, mentor or training course?) through to the complex (How do I choose between these different mentors?). It’s a choice that’s made even more difficult, as small business coaching and mentoring isn’t regulated and anyone can call themselves a coach or trainer.

So, how can you make the right decision for you? Simple – you take your time and ask the right questions!

A good trainer, coach or mentor will be happy to answer your questions about their training, expertise and experience – and it’s these things that you need to clarify, in order to make the right choice for you. Here’s an overview of the 7 things you need to ask, prior to making your decision.

#1: What’s their expertise level? (Part 1)

Part one is all about their knowledge level and experience. You want someone who has experience as both a coach and a business owner. Get specifics – such as how long they’ve been in business, how many businesses they’ve owned, how many clients they’ve had etc. A consultant who’s had both business and coaching skills will be able to bring a set of unique skills to the table – as coaching is all about getting unstuck and taking action, whereas consulting is about brainstorming and getting advice. They should also be able to help train you in any specific areas you need to work on – whether it’s marketing or business strategy, planning or time management.

#2:  What kind of dedication do they have to their profession?

A good fit is someone who takes their profession seriously. Any serious coach, mentor and/or trainer will continue to learn new business skills, throughout their working life. Find out if they have continued with their professional development, as well as what type of contribution do they have, to the profession they’re in.

#3: Are their testimonials a good fit for you?

You’re not necessarily looking for the person with the most testimonials – but you are looking for the person who has experience of working with business owners like you, in the industry you’re in. Don’t limit yourself to their website testimonials, also check out the LinkedIn profile and Facebook page, as they both have the ability for clients to leave testimonials and recommendations on them.

#4: What’s their expertise level? (Part 2)

Expertise isn’t just about how their knowledge and training; it’s followed by how they’re perceived by others in the industry – and that’s what Part 2 is all about. Are they a known expert in their field? Do they write, speak and teach on business topics and do they offer other products and services (such as books, programs and classes) to further expand their reach and influence?

#5: Are they a good fit for your needs?

An initial free consultation enables you both to ascertain whether you’re a good fit for each other – so a free consultation is a must. You want a coach who’s going to challenge you and understand you and your needs? Do they ask questions that help you to gain insight and understand yourself and your business better? Do they know where you’re sabotaging yourself and do they hold you accountable? Of course, your needs also include your preferred payment options and budget too – so make sure you clarify what their fees are, any payment plans they have in place and when payments are due.

#6: Are they a good fit for your personality?

The initial consultation gives you an ideal opportunity to see how they make you feel too, as it’s not just about them having the right skillset, it’s also about how they affect your energy and motivation. Do you feel positive after speaking with them? Are they too energetic for you or too quiet? Were they easy to speak with and did you enjoy their company? Do they have a good rapport and do you feel you can trust them?

#7: Are they a good fit for your learning style?

One final area to look at is your learning style. Do you need flexibility in the subjects and timescales? Do you prefer audio over video? Maybe you prefer a course or programme over a workshop? Do they tailor their training to suit you and your preferred learning style, as well as your individual needs?

By taking the time to cover the 7 areas above, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect fit for you – regardless of whether that’s a coach, mentor or trainer.

What are your preferred training options? Did the above help you get clearer over your choice or is it something you’re still toying over? Why not share your advice and experiences, regarding trainer selection, in the comments box below?

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