Psst. I have to tell you a secret. The secrets of the masterful business coaches are no secret.

In fact if you want to spend countless hours reading books, surfing online, attending workshops, and buying online seminars, everything you need is out there… somewhere. Pretty much everything you need in terms of information is available if you can find it and make sense of it all. 

So what is it that really holds people back from growing their business?

I asked inside one of my FaceBook groups. At the top of the list was overwhelm. Indeed, there are so many secrets online to follow. So  many people telling you what you should and shouldn’t do.

In fact, I’ve shared a few of my secrets as well:

But here’s the real secret: Your secret to success in your coaching business is simple: you need a business coach. Yes, you’ve trained to become a coach and you already know this, but I have to say it: No one that goes at it alone, so to speak, reaps the rewards of an enriched life and achieves a lucrative success at their highest potential. They might make some headway along, but the results are always limited by the power of one. Isn’t that why you became a coach to help others? Why not get some help for your business too! You and your future are worth the investment!

Those who rock their coaching businesses all know having a trusted coach, someone who has traveled your road before is the real key to success. Someone who is devoted to you learning, developing and mastering business success leveraging your best.

Think about one of your first mentors; how awesome was it to listen to your big sister’s tips on fashion, make-up, and boys? How much more fun was it to share in the experience of dating, dances, and high school, and have another perspective to draw upon? How did it feel to have someone to talk to about both your successes and struggles? Pretty amazing huh!

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received came from my first business mentor. Back then coaches weren’t actually a known resource. Robbie was a successful business owner who agreed to show me the way. And that he did. His advice was simple: listen to your gut and use your lessons to move ahead. His words of wisdom enabled me to believe in myself and more importantly: achieve success my way. Which his encouragement, I become a serial entrepreneur evolving my business every 4-7 years to ensure it was aligned with my deepest passions and profitable.

But finding a mentor can, at times, feel like finding a life partner. There are so many things to consider. Of course, since really good coaches don’t come for free it’s also likely that you’ll want to spend both your money and your time with them wisely.

Here are 5 tips on finding the right strategic business coach for you. Print and save these notes before you start interviewing.

1.) Traveled the Path

Has this business coach truly traveled the path that you want to take, and for how long? You’ll want to work with someone who has made the mistakes you are about to make, since they’ll tell you what to avoid before you waste your time, energy, and effort trying it.

You may hear this expressed in a few ways, such as “seasoned” or “experienced.” Seek to learn about your prospective business coach’s history and track record to ensure that they’ve accomplished something similar to the goals you’ve laid out for yourself. I’m always surprised at how many business coaches are in their first year of their first business helping others.

For example, if you own a multi-million dollar business, does the coach you’re considering have experience working at this level? If you prefer to use video marketing, how much know-how does your coach have in this specific area?

If you are looking for more emotional support during the tough times, how compassionate is this person, or do they simply follow an in-the-box formula?

Coaches love helping people. However, when it comes to business and your life, the right fit for you probably won’t be someone who is simply happy to help

2.) Able to Explain in Ways That You “Get It”

Be careful; this is not the same as someone who regurgitates factual points you already agree with (you know, the ones that make you nod your head in agreement while your lost in a daze.)

A great coach takes a brand new, confusing strategy and breaks it down into actionable, point-by-point instructions that you can use right away to make your business work for you. They are great teachers with a knack for creative learning methods. They take away the confusion and uncertainty from the process.

The way in which they communicate, especially their attention to detail and organization, is critical to your ability to digest new concepts quickly saving you time and wasted effort.

Especially important, is a business coach’s ability to recognize communication breakdowns and commit to being as effective as possible in their mentoring process. (You’ll know this because they actually ask you how well things are working for you before suggesting alternate solutions.)

3.) Leverages Your Own Strengths

A highly effective business coach is someone who knows that their job is to get you generating results sooner than later. They want you to be running on your own two feet, powered by the miracle of a mind that is yours.

Choose someone who believes in you and actively engages you to think for yourself, or invites you to problem solve with them. Why? So that when they are gone you have naturally developed these skills and can keep up the good work far beyond your mentor’s support.

Notice when you are speaking to a potential coach. Are they asking questions and engaging you to think from different perspectives, or do they have it all figured out for you.

I know, it might be tempting to just grab the answers from someone and run, but what happens when they misread or misunderstand something you said and the advice falls flat?

4.) Provides More than Shelf Help

With technological advances, it’s easy for many coaches to take a “hands-off” approach (eek!). So, when I say shelf help, I mean that some coaches will refer you to online resources or books that you can use to learn by yourself. Yes, maybe that digital course is absolutely amazing, but how are you supposed to ask questions and get feedback that is specific to you unique business and needs.

Being accessible via telephone, email, Skype, Google HOA or IM features (like Facebook) is important to many students. Some coaches will also host weekly webinars or chat session so everyone can learn from each other. Check to see if yours does before you sign up.

5.) Someone you Trust, Like & Respect 
While you can certainly learn from someone you don’t like, if you like your coach you will feel a lot more comfortable asking questions and getting your needs met. Things will just flow and your goals will be achieved minus the interpersonal struggle.

When you are checking out a coach, do you trust their strategies? Do you believe in their philosophies? Do you like who they are? Can you see them as a role model? Trust is essential. You owe it to yourself to find someone you believe in.

Here’s one more little tip; make sure your value systems are aligned with your coach. The goals that you have for your business should match-up with their values.

For example, if you see, “How to build a multiple six-figure business” but your goal is to “Pursue your passions from anywhere in the world,” an aggressive, money-focused coaching system would not be a good fit for your freedom oriented desires, right?

Everyone in the fast lane that went from zero to 100 had a coach – so I think that if you really want all the best juicy secrets to success, you should, too. Remember those secrets are inside of you, and your coach is going to help you to get there!