My first business coach was amazing. She was one of the first people to help me really see the potential inside of me. I was all stuck in imposter syndrome, saying What do I have to offer? Is this stupid? Am I being unrealistic. And she reflected back to me what she saw: that I was committed, that I delivered, that my idea was fresh and solved a real problem. The ability to see the rockstar she saw was invaluable to giving me the confidence I needed to start my business. She taught me that one of the consequences of being a visionary is that the more conventional people in your life are going to say WTF at the ballsy, bold decisions you're making.
She was the perfect remedy for my business…until she wasn’t.
Because what seemed like thinking big to me a few years earlier started to look like thinking small. When I wanted to scale the law firm and hire new team members, she urged me to move slow, to take it one step at a time. Because she’d given me such solid advice for so long, I believed her. And then I realized that she wasn’t supporting my plans to scale because she’d never been able to successfully scale. It was suddenly clear: my business had outgrown hers.
If you’re growing a business, and fast, you’re going to eventually outgrow your coach. The wisdom that gets you off the ground might not get you to six figures and the wisdom that got you to six might not get you to seven.
This has happened to me a few times as my business has doubled and doubled and doubled again. And it’s not just coaching. I’ve had to scale up my marketing strategy, my core team, my designers and writers, my accountant, etc.
So how do you know if you’ve outgrown your coach?
You don’t want their business
You should be DYING to have your coach’s business. Their revenue, their life, their team, their offerings. You should read their emails and be like, damnnnnn why didn’t I think of that? You should use their business as a benchmark for what you’re aiming towards. If they’re making way less money than you want to make, or if they’re too busy and scattered, or seem like they’re struggling with the same things you're struggling with, it’s time to bail.
They don’t scare you
Your business coach should scare you. They should have a vision for you that is so grand and so bold that it makes you nervous and sweaty and kind of want to throw up. If they constantly let you set your goals at a “comfortable” level or encourage you to be “realistic,” they might actually be helping you create a reality that’s way too small for your potential.
You think of them as a friend
Friends offer support. Business coaches light a fire under your ass. Unless you have the kind of friend who constantly calls you out for hiding, procrastinating or being too busy, it’s a warning sign if you think of your business coach as a friend.
I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the first coach I worked with. And when it was time to part ways, I told her how grateful I was and that I’d be happy to recommend her to anyone who was at the appropriate level. Change and restructuring is a natural part of growing a business. It’s only when you aren’t changing that you should be worried.