Leading Business Coach Believes Coaching Industry Should Be Regulated

Nowadays, more people are trying their hand on entrepreneurship, and a big percentage of these novice entrepreneurs need the help of businesses coaches to be able to develop the necessary skills to run a successful business on their own. Many young people opt to set up small businesses instead of seeking employment with established companies, and they need a guiding hand, at least during the first phase of their ventures. Even those who join big companies still need to learn key leadership skills so that they can climb up the career ladder. Young entrepreneurs and aspiring business leaders often turn to business coaches to get the necessary guidance, but with the current state of the business coaching industry, many of them end up getting disappointed by the coaching that they receive.

Business clients

The business coaching industry is unregulated, and that presents a big problem for entrepreneurs who need professional coaching services. Anyone can decide to be a business coach, even if they don’t have the academic credentials, business acumen, or coaching expertise to justify their entry into the field. That is not necessarily the government’s fault or anyone’s fault for that matter because the practice of coaching doesn’t readily lend itself to regulation; if someone is willing to dish out advice, and someone else is willing to pay for it, it’s really difficult to come up with a set of rules that will govern how those two parties will interact with each other, and it’s even more difficult to enforce such rules. So, with no recourse, entrepreneurs end up spending money on canned coaching programs from unqualified coaches who overpromise and under deliver.

Like any other consumers, entrepreneurs and young professionals who seek out the services of business coaches need to be protected. But is there anything that anyone can do to ensure that these ambitious innovators and upcoming business leaders don’t get short-changed?

To answer that, we talked to Stuart Hayes, a leading business coach and the founder of Stuart Hayes Leadership. Stuart is a qualified business coach by any imaginable metric. In terms of academic qualifications, he has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Monash University, and he is a CPA. In terms of business experience, he spent over a decade working with accounting firms that audited flailing businesses to figure out how to resuscitate them; a skill that comes in handy in his new career as a coach. In terms of expertise, the track records of the CEOs he has coached say everything you need to know.

Stuart acknowledges that the business coaching industry would have a better reputation if it were properly regulated, and he says that in principle, he supports the idea of having a regulatory body that says who can or can’t offer coaching services, or what claims coaches can or can’t make when they are trying to win over clients. Stuart says that “Every coach has his own unique style, but most coaching programs would be better if they were subject to guidelines that required them to use a more pragmatic approach… this would force coaches to take a hard look at the client’s business before prescribing a specific solution, so that you have a coaching program that is tailored to the needs of the individual client, instead of the one-size-fits-all programs that you see everywhere.”

Despite his convictions, Stuart is not naïve. He told us that “I’ve been in the coaching game for such a long time that I understand it would be difficult to fundamentally overhaul the way coaching is done, through regulation or even through training of coaches, so, it ultimately falls on the clients to be very keen when deciding who to hire”. According to him, universities that are offering courses on coaching are taking a step in the right direction, but great coaches need to also have real-world experience.

So, even though regulation and training could help, the fact is that for the foreseeable future, business coaching will still be a self-regulating industry. Entrepreneurs who want to get their money’s worth when investing in coaching programs need to do their own due diligence. Stuart advises that “entrepreneurs should check the credentials of the coaches they hire to make sure that they have the academic background, business experience, and coaching track record, but on top of that, they should closely examine the coaching program and ask, is this based on my needs, or is this just general stuff that could be given to anyone?”

Stuart’s advice is that entrepreneurs should be wary of coaches who come in with preconceived notions about what steps need to be taken, and they should instead go with coaches who take the time to study the business before creating a targeted coaching program.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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