How to Choose a Coach
5 Tips to Find the Right Coach For You
So you’ve decided to take advantage of the many benefits that coaching offers. Now, how do you find the right coach? With a bit of planning and research, you will be able to engage coaches whom you can depend on to make a difference.
Tip 1: Clarify your objectives for coaching
What exactly do you want from the coaching program? If you are looking for a corporate coach: Do you want to increase productivity in your company? Improve interactions among leaders? Improve project success? Improve the company’s management style? If you are an individual: Do you want to be more successful? More healthy? Learn how to deal with difficult people? Find your Purpose in life? Determine what to do next? There are many reasons to hire a coach, and since there are so many different coaching disciplines, it behooves you to figure out exactly what you want, so you know what kind of coach to engage. One of the first things a prospective coach will do is to sit with you to determine the key results you expect from the engagement, which will become part of the contract if you should both decide to work together. Most coaches do this as part of the interview process. Knowing your objectives up front will help you choose the best coach for you and/or your company. Some types of coaching you may be interested in include:
Tip 2: Understand Coaching Credentials, and decide what is best for you
What do all those letters after coach’s names mean? Most coaches subscribe to a governing body. The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the largest and probably most influential global coach regulatory organization. The ICF has established a strong code of ethics as well as a detailed set of competencies that regulate how coaches deliver value. When coaches have been credentialed through ICF, it means they meet rigorous training and experience criteria for their level of coaching. The most common credentials you will encounter are:
ICF-connected Coaches are mentored and tested to ensure they understand the core coaching competencies, so when you hire credentialed coaches, you can rest easy that they know what they’re doing. Since the higher the credential, the pricier the coach, determine what level you need to reach your objectives. Don’t rule out the other levels, though; interview the coaches who seem like they are a fit before making a decision!
Tip 3: Talk to people who have had successful coaching experiences
There’s no substitute for experience! Talk to your peers who have used coaches. Contact referrals for the coaches you select. Find out what worked for them, what they learned about coaching and what (if anything) they would do differently. Your peers may also have great suggestions for coaches to interview.
Tip 4: Use the ICFGR Find-A-Coach program for referrals
ICFGR members are listed in the Find-A-Coach program on this website. Simply select what kind of coach you need, and the credentials (if any) that you want. The results will indicate the coach’s credentials, what type of coaching they do, where they are located, and a link to their website.
Tip 5: Talk to multiple coaches to choose one who is right for you
Coaching style varies widely. Once you have a list of coaches to contact, set up interviews. Some questions you may want to ask (suggested by ICF):
The coach will be interviewing you as you interview him or her. It’s important for both parties that there be a seamless fit, and if the coach feels he or she is not right for you, he or she will tell you so and maybe recommend someone else. During the interview, pay attention to how the coach could fit in to your company’s style, and your own personal style. By the end of the interview, you should have a clear idea of what to expect from engaging that coach, including how long the engagement will last.
Taking time for due diligence to find the right coach for your situation will pay off royally during the coaching engagement.