Already since a decade coaches and coaching courses keep on springing up like mushrooms after the rain. When you type the word ‘coach’ or ‘coaching’ in Google you will get millions of hits. So how do you choose a coach that fits you and your needs? And how do you choose someone that will successfully coach you in reaching your goal?
I also used to work with coaches myself, and still am. I worked with a presentation coach, business coach, and a self-development coach. I believe that in order to live an aware life and career you need a coach. You can try to figure it all out by yourself, but this will take much more time and the results will be less certain.
Through the past eight years I got a clear understanding of what makes a great coaching relationship and how you can choose a coach that best fits you.
I have divided the qualifications, to find a great coaching match, into two main categories: basic and specific ones.
So here we go.
Always check the relevant education of your potential coach. A lot of people call themselves coach even without completing any relevant type of coaching education. Coaching is very different to mentoring or giving advise. As coaching is a free profession there are no minimum professional standards or evaluation committees to evaluate or ensure a certain level of quality or expertise.
Although coaching is not psychotherapy it does require a deeper knowledge and understanding of the human psyche. My coaching / counseling studies took a full year, which I felt was a perfect timing to make me ready both as a person and professional to be able to perform my work as a coach. I am not saying that every coach should complete a year long study, it could be bit shorter or longer, I am just saying it is a serious matter. If you want to know more about the difference between coaching, counseling and therapy you can read more here.
Being a life expert
Equally important is to know if your coach has own life experience on the topic. If it is a career change coach, does she – lets assume it’s a lady – has changed career herself? If it is an expat coach did the person live abroad? If it is a business coach, is the person successful in her business?
Theoretically it is possible to coach someone to climb Mount Everest without being there yourself, but would you prefer to be coached by someone who stood on the top and understands the process you are going through, or by someone who coaches you from the comfort of her chair?
Next to the above mentioned basic criteria I noticed there are some important specific criteria to evaluate – the soft ones.
Do you feel a positive connection with your coach? When I started my coaching practice I was taking almost all clients that came on my path, irrespectively whether I felt a personal click or not. I was hungry to coach. But after some years I realised that I want to only work with people where we both feel positive. 99% of the time I know immediately after the first phone call if there is a click.
When you feel this personal click you are easier and quicker going to trust your coach and as a result you will achieve better results yourself. Do not be afraid to follow your instincts.
A ‘growing’ coach
Is your coach developing herself as a person and as a professional? We are all human and we all fight our inner struggles. The more time, money and energy your coach is investing in herself the better she will be able to help you to achieve your results. In a way you need a coach who’s vision is bigger than your own.
You need someone who will challenge you and support you, to stimulate you to go beyond your own goals. I chose my business coach as I know that she is continuously investing in herself and has a great set of tools and at the same time is focused on growing as a person. I also apply the same principle to my own coaching education.
Is your coach well connected? This point is especially important in case you are looking for a new career, a new job but also if you are starting or growing your business. Does your coach has an extensive network and is willing to use it to your benefit?
Study the testiominals of previous clients of your potential coach. What do they say about her? Is the outcome of their coaching experience in line with what you are looking for?
Last but not least, always follow your gut feeling when selecting a coach.
Please share in the comments below what you think is the most important when selecting a coach!