Knowing how to choose a coach that’s the right match for you is vital and there’s three things you need to consider before parting with your hard-earned cash.
But before we get into what those three magic factors are you also need to be aware of the fact that coaching is an unregulated profession. Anyone can set up and call themselves a coach. Plenty of people also claim the title coach who do other jobs too, you often hear “Oh I’m a coach – I coach other team members. I did a half-day’s course…”
There’s also a huge difference between someone who calls themselves a coach professionally and others who claim the title as a side-line. So how do you go about choosing the right coach for you?
So considering these 3 magic steps will ensure you end up with the best coach for your ‘buck’.
- The quality of the coach’s qualifications
- The mix of practical experience a coach brings with them
- How you ‘feel’ about the coach: do you think you can trust and work with them?
Step 1 to choosing the right coach: The quality of the coach’s qualifications:
The easiest way to do this is to know that the three leading professional coaching associations ask for coaching qualifications to be held before they accept new members. So, membership of The Association for Coaching, European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and International Coach Federation (ICF) will tell you that the coach’s qualification is recognised and meets the minimum required hours of training. I am a member of the Association for Coaching – who recognise the 190 hours my coaching qualification required. Holding membership of an association tells you that the person you are considering for a coach takes their profession seriously and is committed to keeping their skill set up-to-date.
What other qualifications and associations does the coach hold?
Do they hold any relevant degrees? If you’re seeking a business coach – do they hold an MBA, for example? Or does their coaching qualification denote a specialism – for example I hold a distinction in my business coaching qualification.
Are you satisfied with an NLP coach – or do you seek the additional depth that a psychologist can bring to the process? All these choices are valid and offer different experiences and fee prices associated with them.
The important thing to remember is that anyone can claim to be a coach.
Anyone can add the letters NLP in their descriptions – so you should check their qualifications. Who did they study with? How long did their qualification take? If you want a business coach – is it important to you that they are members of other relevant associations – such as the Association for Business Psychologists, members of the British Psychological Society? If you seek a coach who works specifically with women, what other indicators are there that they are serious about their niche? Does their twitter account show them linked to other likeminded networks? Does their website reflect a desire to make a wider impact in their chosen area?
Step 2 to choosing the right coach: Next think about the mix of practical experience a coach brings with them.
I use a blend of coaching and consultancy and make very clear distinctions between the two. A coach should never advise you what to do, their skill lies in drawing solutions out from you. Working with a good coach should never be a permanent arrangement – you should expect to grow and for your confidence to soar when working with a good coach.
You may feel though that the practical experiences a coach brings with them, will enable them to empathise more with your situation. Are you seeking a leadership coach and see that the coach has worked in high pressured environments at that level themselves? This might be more appealing to you. They might hold membership of the Chartered Management Institute. As a fellow of this organisation myself, I feel this reassures prospective clients that I hold both qualifications and experience of leadership. Your coach may be affiliated to other associations, such as the Institute for Leadership and Management (ILM).
Step 3 to choosing the right coach: How you ‘feel’ about the coach: do you think you can trust and work with them?
Having considered all the above – you should book a free consultation with the person you are considering to be your coach. Do they offer Skype (or similar video calling? This can help you get a sense of whether the ‘fit’ feels right. This part of the process should be like a two-way interview. Remember, it’s your money and your time. This investment is an important one, so don’t be pressurised to go ahead and book paid sessions if you need more consideration time. A good coach will understand the process behind choosing the right coach and won’t be at all offended if you decide not to proceed further.
If you’re thinking of coaching as the right investment to make in yourself – I couldn’t agree more. Having experienced the power of transformational coaching first hand I know you’ll never look back. So, do something today that your future self will thank you for. Follow these steps and you’ll find your perfect coach in no time.
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You may might find more inspiration in my blog: how I ended up in a job I love!