How to Hire the Right Digital Agency Coach

With approximately 53,300 business coaches (not all in the digital marketing industry, although it seems like it lately) to choose from, how do you know you are hiring the right digital agency coach for your business?

Why business coaching can be a Waste of Time

Recently, I happened upon an article in Forbes magazine called, "Why (most) business coaching is a waste of time (" I thought - great - someone else bashing digital agency business coaching. But, after reading it, I have to admit the author brought up several Valid Points regarding business agency coaching. With approximately 53,300 business coaches (not all in the digital marketing industry, although it seems like it lately) to choose from, how do you know you are hiring the right digital agency coach for your business?

Don't Waste Your Time and Definitely Do Not Let Your Coach Waste Your Time.

There are several ways a coach can "Waste your time," So here are a few things to consider when looking for the right coach for you and your Agency.

In the article, the author writes, "many agency business coaching programs are a waste of time… because they are focused on mindsets, motivation, and emotions, and not on implementing proven systems, processes, strategies and action steps that will actually grow a business." 

I firmly believe in the right mindset and being motivated, but business coaches often want to be psychologists and not focus on developing the skills that will help the Agency. Authentic business agency coaching is about guiding agency owners on how to grow their Agency as a result of "discovering breakthroughs and implementing proven best-practice systems and processes that eventually remove the owner from the day-to-day operations …and conquering "obstacles that are often too complex and difficult to implement without proper coaching and mentorship." 
  • Discovery Phase

One way I accomplish these "breakthroughs" is through my advanced and highly detailed " discovery " process. I painstakingly go through this process because the last thing you can do is have an inexperienced digital agency coach force a one size fits all program down your throat and mess up an already good agency that simply needs some minor adjustments. You did not make it to where you are by doing everything wrong, so you must isolate the most significant pain points (systems, processes, leads, employees, etc.) and then determine priority.

  • Personality Match

There are some fantastic coaches, but they may not be the right fit for you. I recommend finding a coach with an aggressive but understanding personality. One that will challenge you to achieve your (BHAG - Big Hairy Audacious Goals), hold you accountable and recognize when to back off because of workload.

  • Solid Ethics and Honest Results  

As I mentioned, anyone can call themselves a "business coach," and if "the program seems too good to be true? If it promises overnight success or huge profits that seem unrealistic and unsustainable, it probably is" When seeking a coach, you want to ensure they are trustworthy and have a proven track record of doing the right thing. You will share many things about your Agency with your coach - including very personal information. Make sure that information stays with your coach. Make sure the coach has a good reputation in the community and is known for doing the right thing.

  • Call It Like It is

"A person who always agrees with you won't push you forward. At the same time, a good coach chooses the right time and way to tell you what could be uncomfortable truths and help you make the best decisions" Business coaches help entrepreneurs manage their businesses and overcome obstacles. This is why you should seek a Coach with strong analytical skills, sound judgment, and a critical eye on how you do things that highlight your strengths and areas for improvement. Then be willing to tell you precisely what is going on and how to fix it. You need a coach that tells you to turn right even when you want to turn left. 

Do Your Research Because Experience Matters

One of the biggest challenges facing coaches today is that the coaching field is unregulated. No licenses are required, and anyone can call themselves a digital agency business coach. Consequently, we have untrained and incompetent coaches damaging the industry's reputation. Business/Agency coaches are crucial but make sure when interviewing agency business coaches they have indeed accomplished what they are claiming and can help you achieve your goals. Here are three questions you need to have answered before hiring a coach.

1) Have They Personally Done What You Want To Do?

Do a deep dive into each candidate. Do not just believe their messaging. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish for your Agency, make sure the business coach has successfully accomplished these goals for themselves and others. It is crucial you have a coach that has not only founded an agency but also broken the 7-figure mark. They have scaled lead sources/volume, built out the systems and processes to replace themselves, and successfully run their Agency by the numbers (KPIs). Having a coach that has experience at every level - from starting the Agency to successfully exiting the Agency - is vital. There is no substitute for experience when building a successful digital marketing agency, you can be proud of! You need a coach who can see the big picture because he has experienced every step of the way.

2) Do They Provide A Range Of Proven Programs?

Many coaches (or so-called digital agency coaches) will create a "one-off program," meaning they may design a course or tremendously helpful product, but unfortunately, they will not help you grow, scale and sell your Agency. Again, it is about seeing the whole picture, not just one part of the picture. Most of these programs are needed and helpful, but they are "skill set" training programs, not authentic business coaching with all of the systems and processes required to scale an agency. It may be an excellent fit for a specific problem but will not be the needed skills to scale a digital marketing agency that runs without everything being tethered to you (the owner).

3) Do They Provide One-on-One Coaching? 

Make sure you are getting one-on-one with the actual coach and not be delegated to another coach or being thrown into a group setting. Both of these scenarios are fine for lower-level tactics that are generic in nature. But, when you need a coach to dive into the details of how you run your Agency and do an in-depth discovery phase that will uncover your growth hurdles and then guide your Agency through solving those hurdles, there is simply so substitute for one-on-one time with someone who has walked a mile in your shoes, not read another coaches handbook. 

Driven By Your Success and Not Their Success

Great coaches are driven by their students' successes, not their own. If the coach you are interviewing is constantly throwing their success in your face and not their students' successes in your face, RUN! certain tasks to proven leaders within your agency. 

Are they ALWAYS selling something and not providing educational materials such as featuring partners who bring value to their audience, holding webinars with educational materials, and so on? Now it is normal to have a soft offer at the end of educational materials, but they should sincerely want to help agencies, not just trying to make a quick dollar at the expense of someone else. 

Following up on references, successful coaches have a trail of successful businesses behind them. Ask to speak to a few of them and get their version of how the coaching has impacted their day-to-day lives/businesses. 

Yes, Having A Coach is Vital

Finding the right coach may take some time, but it is worth putting the time in to ensure you find the right coach for you and your Agency. When you find the right coach, get ready to grow and expand your business faster, more efficiently, and more effectively.

Lee Goff

Hyper focused on serving digital agency owners grow, scale, and enjoy their digital marketing agencies. It is hard to grow a digital agency unless you have the right tools and guidance.

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