Choosing A Coach

Depositphotos_6841768_xsCoaching is a valuable way for people to develop skills, set better goals and be more accountable to those goals. Not all coaches are created equal, so choosing the right coach is important. Here are five-steps to help you make a good choice:

1.  Learn more about what coaching is and what you can expect.

Ask people who’ve worked with a coach about their experience. What did they like most, and least. Visit the International Coach Federation website and learn more about coaches and coaching.

2.  Assess your readiness for coaching?

Coaching is most successful when the following things are present

1)  A real desire and willingness to change,

2)  You can embrace someone to partner with who can offer a unique perspective,

3)  You’re ready to try things that are new or different.

When two or more above are present, the chance of success is high.

3.  Consider your goals 

How do you want to be different? Set some basic goals before you even start the interview process with prospective coaches. Ask:

  • “What do I want to get out of this experience?”
  • What abilities or skills do I want to develop?
  • Upon completion, how will I know that the coaching was successful?

4.  Identify and interview several coaches.

Ask people you know who’ve had good results with coaching to recommend coaches to you. Check out Coach Directories through Coach U’s Find A Coach ( or at the International Coaching Federation (ICF) explore the Coach Referral Service. If possible, select two or three coaches and interview them to find a coach that will work well with you. Remember, although many people prefer fact to face coaching, coaching can also be done by phone, so don’t limit yourself to coaches who are in your geographical area.

When interviewing coaches let them know what your goals are, and ask them:

  • About their background and relevant experience, qualifications, and skills  (Many coaches have backgrounds in business, counseling, and NLP).
  • To describe their philosophy and process.
  • Where they received their coach training. (Coaching is very intuitive, but beware of the self-declared coach).
  • About assessments and how your needs for them will be identified.
  • About their expectations and their criteria for success. (A great coach does not have their own agenda, but works to help you reach your goals).
  • Has the coach worked with clients like you? (Similar goals, same industry, similar issues).

The success of the coaching will depend a great deal on the relationship.

Do they listen well? Do they help you to be your best?  You should feel positive about your coach after your initial consultation. If you felt the coach made you wrong, or the conversation was a struggle, you probably need to look elsewhere.

It is important to remember that not only are you interviewing the coach, but a good coach will be interviewing you as well. Good coaches know who they work best with and choose to work with those individuals. Ask for references and speak to two or three of the coach’s current or past clients.

5.  Do not delay. You will think you can do this without coaching, you will not.

I recommend you interview at least two or even three coaches before making your decision. Most coaches have a coaching agreement, which asks you to agree to a time frame.

Let the coach know that you need:

  • Set outcomes what you want to achieve and how progress will be measured.
  • The expected timeline
  • Criteria that will define success
  • Agree on confidentiality and involvement of others, (boss, board, staff, etc.)
  • Structure of the engagement. When? (days of the month, time of the day, and frequency. Where you will meet? And What should  you expect from the meetings?
  • Fees, payment schedule, and cancellation and rescheduling policies.

Think of coaching as an investment you are making in yourself. It is an investment that will yield many returns.

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