Coaching, mentoring, and training are three different things. If an organization needs coaching, they need someone to ask them questions and pull the helpful information out of them. If they need mentoring, they need advice on what they need to do next. If they need training, then they need instruction on a certain subject or procedure.

If you’re considering a coach, you need to have a few clear expectations in mind, so let’s make it clear and simple to put a finger on what to look for in a coach. Here’s what you should be asking:

1. Have they been successful in business? 

If you are looking for a business coach, then one point on the checklist is to look for someone who knows the ins and outs, the pains and gains of running a business -- and has been successful at it.

2. Have they been successful as a coach? 

Someone who has been successful in running a business may not be good at being a coach. Once you find somebody who has successfully run a business, the next step is to look for someone who is also a master of their craft: coaching. Because running a business and coaching others on how to run a business are two completely different things.

3. How do you know if someone’s had coaching success? 

The few times I was fired from a coaching client very early in my career, it was because I didn't understand the client's true needs. I just wanted them to like me as a coach. Through my experience running some of the largest sales teams and coaching others, I realized that each organization had to be dealt with differently, on its own level.

4. Who else have they coached? 

Can you talk to one of their previous clients? Don't always just look at the video or reviews. No business is going to share their negative reviews with you. Why would they do that? They will just put all the people who had positive experiences on video in front of you. 

You need to talk directly to the people who used their coaching services. It might turn out that their actual experience was different from what was advertised.

5. Are they a sales coach, or are they a business coach? 

They cannot be both. A sales coach cannot be a business coach at a high level. You may have seen a business owner who can teach some sales. But I suggest that if you're going to find a business coach, make sure that they stay in that lane. Then when you're looking for a sales coach or you need sales coaching, find somebody in that lane. They can cross paths, but not at a high level.