What is a business coach and why businesses need them

Business is booming for business coaches because most owners and CEOs don't have official leadership training. Here's how and why to become one.

It's like a kid's joke: What is a business coach? The punchline is nothing but a laughing matter though: a business coach is totally necessary.

The business of business coaching is booming in these fast changing and uncertain times. Pretty much every company on the planet has had to pivot and many business owners need help working out new ways to do what they do.

Here's the thing. Most business owners, CEOs and leaders don't actually have any official leadership training.

Many are often really great technicians at their craft and at doing what their job requires but when they get to a position of leadership they realise it's a completely different game to management.

It's a skill that anyone can learn. When you're coaching a business, you're teaching them about psychology and human behaviour and thinking. It adds massive value to a company.

How much value? Businesses are commonly prepared to pay anywhere between $5000 and $30,000 a month.

These changing times have shown you don't need to be in the same location as a business to serve it, so it's a career you can do from anywhere which is a pretty powerful thing.

In answering what is a business coach, one definition is they help leaders not just inspire but create a brightness of future for people in their team. They show leaders how to make everyone feel empowered and pumped to come to work.

What they don't have to do is understand the craft of the business to understand how the actual business runs.

From a coaching point of view there are four elements a business coach can help a business with. They need to be expert on two.

The first is the environment of the company.

This means things like the mission and vision of the business, the values of the organisation. The attitude, the ethos. Whether it's functional or chaotic, healthy or toxic—and whether it needs to be changed.

Business coaches don't need to be experts at bottom lines or with strategies. They have to understand human behaviour and work culture.

The second thing is the structure of the business. It still blows me away now how many businesses have no internal structure and would be well served by a business coach.

Business coaches understand the need for—and know how to implement—structure and processes, manuals, training, benchmarks and KPIs.

One of my first jobs was a sales job, but I never got any sales training. I didn't get trained once! I never had a system taught to me on how to actually sell so the business was heavily reliant on employing people who already had a natural ability.

That's a crazy way to run a business.

Again, as a business coach you don't have to understand the craft of the business—for instance, if you're a media company, your craft is media—just how to run if from the top levels of environment and structure.

The exciting thing is business coaching is something you can trained in, and it adds a phenomenal amount to any business.

Right now is a great time to up-skill.


One of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend

Matt Lavars life coaching
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute