Corporate Business Coach – Expert Reveals Abuses Behind One of America’s Fastest-Growing Professions

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A corporate business coach reveals the truth behind one of America’s hottest – and most abused – new professions. “The good news is: Exceptional business coaching helps turn dysfunctional companies around,” says John Wyche. “The bad news is: Poor coaching costs companies time and money – and problems just get worse.”

Executives who want to hire a business coach but are afraid they’ll get taken for a ride by a do-nothing “expert” probably have realistic fears, says John Wyche.

“Some of my colleagues will be unhappy to hear it said aloud, but there is abuse within the business coaching industry,” says Wyche, who holds degrees in economics and business from Yale and Stanford. “Those of us who are making legitimate contributions to the field know this better than anyone.”

Wyche says there are no legal requirements for becoming a business coach. “This is nothing like being a certified public accountant or a medical doctor where you need a license to practice,” he says. “The fact is, there are more regulations for barbers and beauticians than for business coaches. Anyone can wake up in the morning and start calling himself a professional business coach.”

According to Wyche, the number of coaches is climbing fast. He cites statistics from the International Coach Federation, one of a number of certification and training organizations, that show a more than 400% increase since 1995.

“Ten years ago, 1,500 people belonged to the organization. Today, there are more than 8,000 members, and industry estimates show there are 20,000 to 40,000 coaches worldwide. Most of that growth has occurred over the last few years,” Wyche says.

Wyche cites six common abuses committed by incompetent business coaches and the protections business leaders can use when hiring a coach.

1.ABUSE: The business coach brandishes a coach certification as prima facie evidence of his coaching competence.

PROTECTION: Look for solid experience and credentials and ask for references. Certification says nothing in and of itself. Some certifications are highly regarded within the coaching industry, but some require little more than a credit card to earn.

2. ABUSE: The coach spouts platitudes and simple solutions to complex problems. (“There is only one way to deal with a difficult manager.“)

PROTECTION: Trust your common sense and ask questions about the coach’s coaching model, process and methodology. Overnight turnarounds happen only in the movies. It takes genuine insight and demonstrated experience to solve problems that have compounded over time.

3. ABUSE: The coach boasts a high level of experience in all business areas.

PROTECTION: Remember that no one is good at everything. No coach can be a top expert in human resources, marketing, public relations, finance and web technology. If needed, a competent coach knows to call in other experts to help guide progress.

4. ABUSE: The coach does not have a strong business background but claims to be well-versed in the latest theories of corporate change management.

PROTECTION: Seek a coach who offers more than theory. Strong coaches have significant hands-on experience through the leadership and consulting roles they have played in various organizations.

5. ABUSE: The coach is not interested in assuming any responsibility for the outcome of his work.

PROTECTION: The strongest coaches are willing to tie at least some of their success to measurable business results. Look for a coach who is willing to provide measurable outcomes – in writing.

6. ABUSE: The coach insists his wealth of practical experience compensates for a lack of formal education.

PROTECTION: Just as you would with any employee, check the coach’s educational background. A formal education is no guarantee of superior coaching ability but the strongest coaches often have advanced degrees in relevant areas such as business, psychology and organizational behavior.

Visit to see the Top Ten Questions corporate leaders should ask any business coach before hiring. For a free consultation, call John Wyche of Stone Ridge Consulting at (954) 315-1716.

Since 2001, John Wyche of Stone Ridge Consulting Group (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), has provided results-oriented executive coaching in organizational management and human resources strategy. Wyche graduated with an MBA from Stanford, a BA from Yale, and is certified as an executive coach by the Professional School of Psychology. He has coached business leaders from such companies as Pfizer, TIAA-CREF, FedEx, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation, and the Broward (FL) Education Communications Network.


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John Wyche