Charlene Norman

4 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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How to Choose Your Best Advisor

How to Choose Your Best Advisor[ BULLET PROOF]


Change Your Thinking
For The Better

One of the most frequent questions we get is about choosing a good business advisor or coach. 

Some days, it seems like an entire university has sprung up and is happily pumping out coaches and consultants.  Online and offline.  Churning out experts and gurus on, well, everything.  (NOTHING is more like it! And at exorbitant fees too! ) 

Here then is a relatively stock response.

First, YOU need to be clear about what you want to be advised or coached about.  As in, where do you want to go, or what do you want your organization to look like? 

The short answer is choose someone who has ALREADY been where you want to go or done the work you need to have done. 

Why on earth would I say that?  For a few key reasons:

1. Because you are investing in your future.  So, make the most of that investment. Save yourself time and energy.  Piggyback on all the mistakes, failures and lessons learned from someone else who has already done everything that you want to do. That way, you can leapfrog past your competition, save yourself needless time, energy and money and get to the front of the line faster. 

2. You must ask them a very, very important question.  Let me speak to your client(s) who are/were exactly like me.  Yes.  Speak to their clients, because short of your own experience with them, that is the best way to gather the insight you need to make an informed decision.

3. When you speak to those customers, ask a few questions.  Like what did they do for you?  Can you quantify the results you achieved in any way?  What kind of numbers or metrics (customers, sales, bottom line, goals) did he/she help you reach?  Are you still with them?

Now for some of the things you must never do.

Do not choose someone who is in an entirely different industry than you. 

Do not choose someone who has only been trained but has NEVER run their own business. 

Do not choose someone you have not interviewed. 

Do not choose someone who is not over fifty years old. 

Do not choose anyone who calls themselves an expert or a guru. 

Do not choose someone who does not teach you a system or a process. 

I believe a business advisor or coach is a trusted ally or mentor.  Essentially the secret weapon in your back pocket to guide you, tell you stuff you don’t want to hear, save you from yourself and everyone else. 

They have been where you want to be and can guide you on the fastest path to get there because they will avoid all the failures and potholes that plagued him/her and everyone else. 

Lastly, and perhaps most critical, they can help you see you own blind spots that are preventing you from achieving the objective and/or growth you want. 

No matter who you decide is the right candidate, you want to ask yourself are they getting results?  Have they got multiple successes in your space? Have they achieved what you want to achieve? Do they teach a framework or a system? Do they train on business and mindset? Do your values align with theirs?  Are they LIVING those values?  Do you like them?

My partner and I will never claim to be experts and gurus.  While we freely admit to having several decades of experience between the two of us, we acknowledge we are not everybody’s cup of tea. 

We are not skilled in every single industry and accordingly do not bluster about being able to help everyone. But for those who do fit with our knowledge base, our space and our values, we can be dynamite. 

For them, it is our pleasure to serve.

To your success!

Charlene Norman & Jim Murray are partners in a collaboration called Bullet Proof Consulting. Charlene is a business strategist with an ability to identify and deliver profit opportunities. Jim is a communication strategist, writer, art director and blogger. Bullet Proof is located in St Catharines, Ontario and designed to serve forward thinking businesses in the Niagara and Golden Horseshoe regions of Southern Ontario.



Change Your Thinking
For The Better

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Charlene Norman

4 years ago #5

ROFL. Aleta, here is my logic. Once upon a time, someone much older than I told me it took twenty years to really learn one's craft. Then I was told it took twenty years to become an over night sensation. Then I learned it took twenty years to become skilled at anything and learn a bunch of life lessons. If we finish university in our early twenties, we start to mellow in our early forties. But we still need a few years to establish ourselves in our own businesses. That will take us to nearly fifty. (Assuming we stick to one thing.) Sure, there are some folks who can be ready to be advisors before they are fifty, but not too many. And as you say, in not too many industries. Before fifty, most of us are focussed on ourselves, our families, our mortgages, our own worlds. It is (generally) once we hit fifty that reality hits us. We have a health crisis, the kids leave the nest, the main financial issues are done, one or both parents pass, we start to think about legacies and leaving our knowledge for others. In other words, we think about really helping mankind. Despite the fact that all humans feel special and unique, all humans go on this trip. I too have met a few folks who could be great advisors at less than 50 years old. They simply lacked the patience to pull it out of me at the time. (And that 'pulling it out of us' is more than half the job when the relationship is right. ) Love your analogy of box of chocolates. Indeed.

Charlene Norman

4 years ago #4

Thank you Whitney. You are so right!

Charlene Norman

4 years ago #3

Interesting point Phil. As a matter of fact, I constantly say, "a real advisor keeps their identity secret and so should you. It is your secret only. No one needs to know how you come to your genius. Ever." You are correct. I should have included that too.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #2

I agree entirely with you, Whitney Raver. Youthfulness is not, in itself, a handicap. Indeed, youthful vigor and a fresh outlook are valuable assets. However, that should not be confused with a total disregard for the value of relevant experience -- something that too many "younger" people engage in, especially on social media. Just because on social media someone can, with a few keystrokes, add the title if "guru" or "ninja" or "expert" to his or her resume, that does not make that person such. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #1

OMG, Charlene Norman, are you actually suggesting that hard, relevant experience is something to be sought in a business coach or advisor? What a novel -- and un-Millennial -- idea that is. Seriously, there is one point I am moved to add. Do not hire someone who is not prepared to work on what I call a "transparent" basis. What does that mean? Well, a good coach or advisor or consultant is never visible and never leaves any tracks. His or her focus is on YOU and YOUR BUSINESS, not on using you as a case study on the basis of which to close the next gig. Good solid advice here... from someone who is obviously well experienced. Thanks for raising the bar. And cheers!

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