Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute



Your Entrepreneurial Coach Is Ready.

While you may have already started a business, you can use an entrepreneurial coach.

Entrepreneurs should not be expected to do everything themselves. Just as athletes depend on a coach to help them reach new horizons, your entrepreneurial coach can help you to think and act more creatively for success.  The bottom line: a coach can help you save time and money.  It should also be noted that coaches have worked with communities to help them move forward as shared entrepreneurial ventures.  

Entrepreneurial coaches are well-trained volunteer leaders from SC and NE Kentucky who have been selected in a high competitive process and have received significant training and practical experience to coach those who want to start or expand a business or non-profit venture.  Coaches come from diverse backgrounds including agribusiness, professional services, community and economic development and education. 


To find out more, download Your is Coach Ready!


What Do the Coaches Do?

Coaches ask the right kinds of questions to help entrepreneurs focus on market opportunities and what makes them unique.  Coaches do not provide the answers, nor are they experts in marketing, finance, or production.  The best coaches are great listeners and encouragers; they help entrepreneurs catch inconsistencies in their business plans snd help them get access to support networks.  Coaches are the kinds of volunteer leaders who can work with you over the kitchen table.  When an entrepreneur is ready, coaches cooperate with local Small Business Developments Centers, Innovation and Commercialization Centers (ICC) and other organizations to ensure access to the appropriate services. 

What’s Involved in a Coaching Relationship?

The relationship between the coach and the entrepreneur is unique.  The coach has tools and techniques that can save time and money for the entrepreneur.  These include questions and that focus on developing or expanding a small business.  Some sessions are more general while others are directed towards the competition, marketing, finances, and management and staff.  .  The coach listens attentively to help the entrepreneur determine the market opportunity and his or her distinct competence.  Typically, a coach meets with an entrepreneur 8 to 10 times and knows how to help he entrepreneur find answers to tough questions.   Each session lasts a maximum of 2 hours.  The entrepreneur is expected to do homework between sessions in order for the coaching relationship to be productive.  There may be an occasional phone call or e-mail.

What’s  the Culmination of the Coaching Relationship?

KECI Fellows visit with entrepreneurs Bruce and Sue Ann Switzer at Calamus Outfitters in Nebraska. The Switzers converted their ranch into an outfitting operation and have been featured on Rachel Ray for their "Hayfork Fondue" dinners for guests. The Fellows are pictured outside the lodge at Calamus Outfitters.

The coaching relationship comes to fruition when the entrepreneur is prepared to make a 15 minute presentation before a “dream team” of advisors.  This team could include potential investors, customers, suppliers, board of directors, technicians and others with whom the entrepreneur might like a future relationship.  After the presentation, the advisors have up to one hour to provide feedback – information that can strengthen one’s business development plans and avoid potential pitfalls and problems.

Can the Coaching Relationship Involve An Entrepreneurial Team? 

Ideally, there is an entrepreneurial team of two or three individuals because one person can not be expected to do everything.  However, it should be noted that the same individuals need to be involved in each coach session.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Coaches involved with the Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute are trained community volunteers.  There isn’t a cost involved except the time that the entrepreneur is expected to invest in the coaching relationship and the homework between sessions.

KECI Fellows visit with entrepreneurs Bruce and Sue Ann Switzer at Calamus Outfitters in Nebraska. The Switzers converted their ranch into an outfitting operation and have been featured on Rachel Ray for their "Hayfork Fondue" dinners for guests. The Fellows are pictured outside the lodge at Calamus Outfitters.

How Many Entrepreneurs Can Each Coach Serve?

Remember that the coaching are volunteer and the coaching relationship usually involves at least 8 sessions with each entrepreneur.  Many coaches have full-time jobs and their own businesses.  In spite of these limitations, it is estimated that each coach could reasonably serve three to six entrepreneurs each year.

Do Coaches Need to Have Technical Understanding of One’s Business Ideas?

The best entrepreneurial coaches work with a variety of firms in which they do not have any technical competence.  The role of the coach is to listen carefully and get to the essence of a great business plan:  What’s the market opportunity?  Why you?

Will the Entrepreneur Be Forced to Reveal Trade Secrets and Pending Patents To A Coach?   

The entrepreneur decides on the kind of information to be shared with the coach.  For the most part, coaches do not need to know trade secrets or detailed information in order to help the entrepreneur find success.  Typically, coaches do not sign disclosure agreements because there isn’t a need.

What is the Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches’ Code of Conduct?

  • Coaches encourage small business people to fulfill their dreams;

  • Coaches listen attentively;

  • Coaches maintain confidentiality with those whom they coach;

  • Coaches ask probing questions to help the entrepreneur articulate his/her business concept and to save time and money for the entrepreneur;

  • The entrepreneur is responsible for doing home work between coaching sessions in order for the coaching relationship to be successful;

  • Coaches do not coach entrepreneurs in which there is a conflict of interest; and

  • Coaches do not provide technical or financial advice or answers or make judgments about individuals or businesses.


Find a coach in your county by clicking here!


 Community & Leadership DevelopmentUniversity of Kentucky 500 Garrigus Building Lexington, KY 40546-0215
Phone: (859) 227-0911 Fax: (859) 257-1164 Questions/Comments
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