How to Hire the Right Digital Agency Coach

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Recently, I read 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), how do you know you are hiring the right digital agency coach for your business?

Don’t waste your time, and don’t let your coach waste your time

There are several ways a coach can “waste your time.”

I firmly believe that having the right mindset and motivation is essential. 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

I accomplish “breakthroughs” through my advanced and highly detailed discovery process. I painstakingly go through this process because the last thing you want is an inexperienced digital agency coach with a one-size-fits-all program. 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.

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Personality match 

There are some fantastic coaches, but they may not be the right fit for you. Find 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  

Anyone can call themselves a business coach.  

When seeking a coach, 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 

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.

Experience matters

One of the biggest challenges facing coaches today is that the coaching field is unregulated. No licenses are required; 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.

For example, if you’re building a remote agency, hire someone who built and scaled a remote agency. If you’re looking to scale your agency by outsourcing non-strategic services like custom graphic design, hire someone who did this successfully, not someone who merely read about doing so.

Here are three questions you need to have answered before hiring a coach:

Have they personally done what you want to do?

Do a deep dive into each candidate. Do not just believe their marketing messaging. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish for your Agency, make sure the business coach has achieved these goals for themselves and others.

You must have a coach who not only founded an agency but also:

  • broke the 7-figure mark
  • scaled lead sources/volume
  • built out the systems and processes to replace themselves, and
  • successfully operated their Agency by the numbers (KPIs)

Having a coach who has experience at every level – from starting an Agency to successfully exiting that 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.

Do they provide a range of proven programs?

Many coaches will create a “one-off program,” meaning they may design a course or tremendously helpful product. Still, 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 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).

You can scale your agency business without spending a ton of money. But it’s difficult to do so unless you focus on the right things.

Do they provide one-on-one coaching?

Make sure you get one-on-one with the actual coach and are not delegated to another coach or thrown into a group setting. Both of these scenarios are fine for lower-level tactics that are generic.

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 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, not their students’ successes, run!

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? It’s normal to have a soft offer at the end of educational materials, but they should sincerely want to help agencies, not just try to make a quick dollar at someone else’s expense.

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.

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.

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