The Business Coaching Handbook

Everything you need to be your own business coach

By: Curly Martin


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234mm x 154mm
Pages : 246
ISBN : 9781845900601
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2007

From the author of the best selling Life Coaching Handbook.

What’s it about?

- The Business Coaching Handbook reveals what business coaching IS, how to assess the shape of your business and what steps you need to put in place to grow it successfully.

Who’s it for?

- Compiled for business entrepreneurs who have achieved the first goal of getting their enterprise up and running, or have been operating their own professional practice or business for a few years and now want to take it to the next level.

Set in a user-friendly format, The Business Coaching Handbook coaches the reader through a step-by-step process to business improvement. It is all about knowing where you are, where you are going and the actions that you need to take to get there.

Picture for author Curly Martin

Curly Martin

Curly Martin is the trail blazing author of the international ground-breaking bestseller The Life Coaching Handbook, a world first life coaching book written specifically for life coaches on how to build a life coaching business. This means that she is the pioneer for Life Coach Training. She has written The Business Coaching Handbook and The Personal Success Handbook which complete this handbook series.

She has also written or co-written over 30 books and articles on coaching. Curly is a Fellow member of The International Authority of Professional Coaching and Mentoring, which means she has met their highest robust criteria. Curly Martin 'an inspirational trainer, an un-equalled coach and one of the most impressive human beings I've ever met.' - Simon Cheung LCH Dip. Curly is the forerunner of life coach training, a pioneer and ground breaking author, top ten life coach (Observer Magazine) and one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles.

She founded Achievement Specialists Limited, an internationally accredited life coach training company in 1997 (incorporated 2004) using her 25+ years experience as a business coach, mentor and trainer.

Click here to read Curly Martin’s blog.


  1. If you are considering starting your own business or if you are already running your own small business, then you must get this book.

    Curly has a wonderful way of getting straight to the point without waffling through masses of jargon or techno-speak. Each chapter begins with a real-life case stuffy to make the reader really get the message and understand the pitfalls of business. The rest of the chapter then explains clearly how to do what you need to do to make your business a success, together with practical tips and exercises to help you apply the ideas and suggestions in your real life situation.

    This is an invaluable resource for the would-be entrepreneur and is crammed full of inspiration and information that you can, and will, refer back to time and again.

    If you are serious about making a go of your business then make a bee-line for this book. You will be very glad that you did.
  2. This book is about how to succeed in business, and this reviewer is not a businessman. In fact, I've been an academic psychologist for my entire career (about 40 years). However, my parents were business people, and I worked for them from the age of 13 until I finished graduate school, so I have some knowledge of this subject. Also, although my academic specialty is ethology, I have taught, as a hobby, a course called "The Psychology of Money" for more than 10 years. The focus of that course has been on the psychological correlates of the changing nature of money between its initial evolution and the e-money of today, and relationships between money and mercantile activities are part of that story. Hence I have some credentials relevant to the present task.

    Early in my career I fell in with a fraternal group of businessmen, from whom I learned a startling rule of thumb: Of all small businesses established in any given year, about 80% will be out of business within 7-8 years and more than 90% will be out of business at the end of a decade. I understand that the severity of competition varies across the business horizon, such that the mid- and high-priced restaurant industry is really tough, whereas things are somewhat gentler for certain lower-demand services. I also understand that the old rule of thumb as I learned it 35-40 years ago needs modification today, because people who apply for modern small-business loans typically must submit as part of their application a business plan in which they give some thought to the issues in Martin's book. Planning a business well in advance of opening it increases the probability that the firm will avoid problems that lead to early demise. Hence we can say today that the old rule of thumb applies mainly to people who go into business with their own money and who don't give thought to the full range of problems they will face; for those who have studied ahead of time, there is no guarantee of success, but there is a far lower rate of attrition.

    Martin is a good writer, and her book flows smoothly. All of her concepts are easily understandable and intuitively appealing. She cites 21 references, all books, but her text is not cluttered with academic-type graphs and tables of data, though she includes a few interesting research findings. For example, the typical person encounters 3,000 advertisements per day; and as typical readers scan a newspaper, their eyes will be on any particular ad for about 3 seconds (which is why the ad needs to grab attention). The real value of the book is that it raises the would-be businessperson's consciousness to the importance of numerous issues that can determine the fate of a business. I counted 24 such issues. I will not present all of them here, but I will present enough of them to give the reader a firm feeling for Martin's ideas and approach.

    She begins at a level we can call "self-examination," where she offers a questionnaire that assesses a would-be businessperson's energy, attitude, commitment, and knowledge. Certain non-compensatory levels are required, and it is well for a person to confront these matters long before opening for business. If a person falls short of the threshold on one or another dimension, Martin has suggestions for remediation, so all is not lost if the initial screening delivers a low score. The real point is that business requires a lot more than a warm body and an awake brain.

    Next, Martin points out that a business plan must contain very specific goals associated with deadlines and with milestones for measuring progress. The goals will vary with the type of business and with the ambitions of the businessperson; there is no single formula for generating them. Nevertheless, a business without goals is essentially aimless. Even if the goal is simply to open for business within 12 months, there will be direction, and the goal will then give rise to plans and schedules. Of course, new goals must be established as old ones are met.

    It almost goes without saying that a businesswoman must develop effective time-management skills to do the diversity of tasks confronting her. Martin, of course, offers advice along these lines, and she explains how to "cost your time." Figuring out how much an hour of an academic's time is worth is a curiosity (sometimes humorous), but the calculation is essential for a businesswoman to develop an adaptive attitude regarding which tasks are worth her time and which ought to be delegated (if this is possible; and if it is not, maybe it should be).

    It is certain that anyone going into business will have thought a lot about the significance of his product or service; it is also almost certain that he will have overestimated the broadness of the appeal or the perceived value of it. This is especially likely to be true if the businessman imagines that everyone is a potential client. Here is an especially important spot for psychological assessment, as Martin advocates developing a typical customer profile in as much detail and as accurately as possible. This profile will contribute to several important decisions. For example, once the businesswoman knows the profile of her typical customer, it becomes possible for her to assess the demographics of various areas to learn where best to locate. Likewise, the profile probably will dictate the publications in which to place advertisements, as some will more likely be read by the target persons than will others. The greatest mischief may be done by assuming that everyone wants or needs and will buy our goods or services and then locating the shop in a place where the appropriate customer is rare. Having done the homework ahead of time, however, we put the shop in the right place and we identify the right advertising venues. The next step is to keep records of the success of each promotion, as some will work much better than others, and the effective businessman needs to assess these matters. Martin offers advice on how to track the success of promotions, and every reader of this review can see a potential application of inferential statistics. Martin hammers on the need to test the success of various promotional decisions, as doing so gives rise to increasingly effective materials.

    I have covered about half of the book so far, but enough has been said to reveal that the businessperson must address numerous issues long before opening the shop. The remainder of the book considers marketing, press releases, paid advertisements, tactical socializing, staff management strategies, challenge resolution, management of cash flow, pricing, waste management, and outsourcing. Many of these topics contain strong psychological components, and virtually all of them need to be considered ahead of time, before opening a business, so that they do not become fatal problems later. The last chapter of the book, "Succession Planning," is about having an exit strategy. I admit to being surprised that such a matter was recommended for advance planning, but Martin convinced me that this was appropriate, even essential.

    Because the book is straightforward and readable, I recommend it to anyone who wants to be his or her own business coach. The real benefit is to encounter the issues when this coaching will do the most good. Upon retirement, one of my colleagues invested in a small business and promptly lost a significant chunk of his TIAA/CREF nest egg. So even old dogs (filled with arrogance, ignorance, and wishful thinking) need to learn new tricks before doing stupid things. This book could have done this colleague a great favor. It's too late now, but maybe not for the rest of us. Another matter is whether psychologists ought to use books like this in their courses. I generally agree that business ought to be taught in business schools by experts, but if such resources are not readily available to our students, then I think we might do a service by using books like this. (There is a huge range of texts from the academic to the sublime; Martin is in the middle.) I see a role for this type of material in social psychology courses and in certain critical thinking courses. It fits naturally with courses in applied psychology and human motivation, and perhaps with courses in cognitive psychology that take a business-oriented approach, consistent with behavioral economics and related interdisciplinary endeavors.

    In my experience, half of our college seniors do not know such fundamental concepts as net worth, and most have no idea when or where coinage initially appeared or that coinage represented a process of cultural evolution that had a very long history stretching back through the ingots of the various metallic ages and into the very grains that made civilization possible. Happily, however, most students find such information interesting, perhaps because they perceive it as relevant to their lives and times. I think they would respond positively to the material in Martin's book, particularly since she uses a clear, nontechnical style. Martin's Britishisms pose no problems and are sometimes unintended sources of smiles. For example, "chippies" in this work are not attractive young women but restaurants that serve fish and chips.
  3. What a fabulous little book! Packed with practical, customer- centric marketing tips, it directly addresses the issues that most commonly affect a business. Marketing books generally contain condensed common sense, yet almost every business owner finds reasons not to apply it. Curly Martin has produced a text that commits the reader to action and to taking responsibility for every aspect of business development.

    Each chapter begins with a story that emphasises the applicability of these generic marketing processes to every business. The reader's challenge is one of drawing specific parallels to his or her own business and prioritising actions.

    Fundamental to a venture's success is the commitment and tenacity of its principal. The author shows us how to focus that commitment by setting goals with precision and clarity. When the target is clearly-defined the business owner can focus effort on hitting it.

    Poor time control is the crunch issue for many sole traders and small businesses. Chapter 3 provides charts to help analyse where we lose time and how to reclaim it. There's something here for everyone, but be warned, the method takes no prisoners. Such single-minded purpose may yield unintended domestic consequences for the home worker!

    I would like to have seen a focus on energy rather than time. An exercise to allow the reader to explore those times of day when he or she feels most productive would have been useful, as this knowledge can dramatically improve an individual's effectiveness.

    This book is totally practical in its treatment of marketing strategy. Martin draws the reader's attention to the primary task of knowing the target customer and of positioning the offer to match their needs. Her chapters on advertising, press releases, website considerations and tactical socialising build a holistic approach to wooing the customer, based on real experience and know-how.

    The staff strategy chapter serves to assure potential employers that, by adopting clear processes, there is always a pathway to be found through the employment minefield. Martin takes a similarly pragmatic approach to money matters, emphasising the benefits of regular book-keeping and cash-flow monitoring to maintain awareness of the health of the business. She includes a clear disclaimer, advising that professional legal and financial support should always be sought when required.

    The staff strategy chapter serves to assure potential employers that, by adopting clear processes, there is always a pathway to be found through the employment minefield. Martin takes a similarly pragmatic approach to money matters, emphasising the benefits of regular book-keeping and cash-flow monitoring to maintain awareness of the health of the business. She includes a clear disclaimer, advising that professional legal and financial support should always be sought when required.

    This is more a book on business practice than coaching, but it illustrates the scope for coaching in the small business sector. Any business owners expecting this little black book to solve their problems will be disappointed: it's down to them, there is no quick fix. After reading it, however, they may enrol for coaching when they realise the broad spectrum of support available beyond the traditional areas of legal counsel and accountancy.
  4. Curly Martin has produced the bible for Business Coaching professionals. This book is without doubt the finest example of text available and should not be missed. A truly remarkable piece of literature Absolutely fabulous.
  5. The subtitle of this book gives a simple outline, 'Everything you need to be your own coach'. It successfully deals with how you can assess the shape of your business and what steps you need to put in place to grow it successfully. If you've achieved your first goal of setting up on your own, then this book's for you as it will help you to move up to the next level. With questions, exercises and examples, these 17 chapters move you through all stages of business life in an easy to read style.
  6. I tried hard with this book, but I found it exhausting- however. I'm not its target reader; it's aimed primarily at people who have newly set up a business and want to take it forward to the next stage. It has a rather different slant from many business improvement books, with relatively little about business plans, securing finance, management techniques, customer care etc. Curly starts by focusing on you, your attitude and goals, before moving on to topics that include sales, marketing, advertising, 'tactical socialising', intellectual property, cash flow and profit margins, outsourcing, and slightly surprisingly, given the target readership - succession planning In the best coaching tradition, Curly uses some nice anecdotes, and I recognised at least one well-respected motivational technique. Eminent within her field, the author doubtless knows her stuff and she gives you nowhere to hide; personality, I struggled with initial barrage of questions and the responses I was required to make, but I realise you're not meant to enjoy the coaching process - you do it because it's good for you. (Curly would say I lack commitment, and she'd be right!) A tot is asked of you, but those prepared to put in the effort could gain a tot from this book. If you learn just one new technique or follow through one exercise, and your business improves as a result, it will have been a worthwhile investment.
  7. This is the best book on developing a coaching business using NLP techniques and principles I've read. It is thorough and really useful. The practical exercises are great; they helped me clarify many opportunities I'd not considered for growing my own business. This book is a worthy and natural accompaniment to her Life Coaching Handbook.
  8. A bold statement: The Business Coaching Handbook claims to contain 'Everything You Need To Know To Be Your Own Business Coach'.

    Using a mix of NLP techniques and sound advice this book will be particularly useful to SME business owners and advisers alike. Written in a conversational style and easy to digest, this handbook takes the 'coachee' through all aspects of their business - from goal setting to succession planning via time management, marketing, networking, staff strategies, business challenges, money matters and outsourcing - gaining great insight in the process.

    Recommend it to your clients? Yes. Will they work through it? Probably not - but as their business adviser you'll want to keep a copy firmly in your back pocket!
  9. Simple plain English, straight forward and easy to follow. I have been a business consultant myself and it still amazes me how people go into small business with absolutely no idea how, where and what to do.
  10. Curly Martin's latest book is as practical and loaded with insight as ever. We are placing it straight onto our recommended reading list for all our coaches. Thanks Curly
  11. Curly's 'The Business Coaching Handbook' is neither a handbook, a manual, a workbook or a reference book. It is a bit of all of them. This is not meant as a negative but an idea as to how versatile it is.

    Each chapter, and there are eighteen if you include the Introduction, stands on its own. Allowing you to pull out what you want from it without feeling obliged to read all those that preceded it.

    In making it a self-help book, Curly has included in each chapter a collection of selfhelp, probing, questions that either check your understanding of what you have been reading or invites you think through how the lessons relate to your own business. Additionally each chapter concludes with a Diagnostic Action Box and supporting Action Boxes.

    The Diagnostic Action Box is a 'to-do' or check list helping readers apply the concepts/ideas/lessons to their business. This is supported by the Action Boxes that invite readers to write down what "Action I will Take" and when it will be completed.

    Each chapter is introduced with an overview and a case study, making it easy for the reader to confirm the relevance of the chapter before investing time in reading it. Brilliant!

    In conclusion a very practical self help book that is unpretentious, reader friendly and easy to navigate your way through. Relevant to all small businesses and refreshingly, if I can borrow a well known advertising slogan: 'It does what it says on the tin' or in this case the front cover'
  12. Curly's clarity of thinking coupled with her ability to apply personal development concepts to real world situations has proved invaluable in both my personal and business life. I would have no hesitation in recommending her work to any aspiring entrepreneur looking to leverage some quality ideas in their business.
  13. The Business Coaching Handbook is a brilliant follow-on book from Master Coach Curly Martin. In the same direct & accessible style as the best selling "Life Coaching Handbook', Curly leads the reader through the literal minefield of business processes like a beacon, so not only are we aware of where we are going but we also understand the most appropriate actions to make along the way. This book is priceless for the fresh business entrepreneur in the early stages of their business development, as well as being an invaluable resource of inspiration & ideas for more seasoned professionals.

    The Business Coaching Handbook manages to be almost encyclopaedic in its scope, whilst remaining to be concise & relevant, with a host of cutting edge techniques, tools & action steps to guide us along our paths to success. The pages in this book are steeped with 20 years of solid business coaching experience form the author, making it an essential powerhouse guide for any entrepreneur wishing to excel on their business. I shall be recommending it unreservedly to all of my business colleagues as a must have read
  14. Excellent - Down to earth, packed full of practical, usable action concepts. Follow and use Curly's ideas and you will build your business and make serious profits.
  15. This book works as a business owners conscious and a wake up call, all in one. It reminds business owners of what they said they would do and have not yet achieved. It also introduces new ideas and methodologies for overcoming those troublesome little challenges which are so easy to avoid taking any action on until they have grown so big they have become a crisis. Every business owner should take time to read this book and if you are short on time - read chapter 3!
  16. Without doubt Curly Martin is in the vanguard of a movement for change which is totally in tune with the current business climate. Her depth of knowledge and insight have proved to be an invaluable tool for me in the success and expansion of my Company. I am sure that by reading the Business Coaching Handbook, and most importantly taking the action required, both existing and prospective entrepreneurs will achieve the results to which they aspire.

    Highly recommended!
  17. The Business Coaching Handbook is packed full of extremely useful information. I found the ideas the inspiration I needed for taking my business to the next level. There are many different practical business models which are explained clearly and were easy to apply. Time has always been a challenge for me and it was an eye-opener to discover the ways I waste time. The variety of techniques I now employ when organising my time have given me the space to work on growing the business.

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