Updated: Apr 17
Things to look for when looking for a coach:
1) Define what you want to work on with the coach. What are the needs you know about and goals you want to accomplish as you invest your money and your time in this experience? Stating your expectations ahead of time helps who you hire to make the best plan for your coaching and provides a way to measure your progress later on.
2) Evidence of training/certification - This is an early indication the coach invested time and money into a solid foundation before launching a coaching practice. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has been trying to become the standard in the executive coaching world by being the overall umbrella organization. There are some highly skilled coaches out there who have not received a certification but this a quick way to see what type of training a coach has received.
3) Years of coaching experience – Two years helps but five or more is better.
4) Type of client – Most coaches tend to narrow their focus to specific industries or career stages in order to better serve their clients.
5) Previous career experience – Look for someone who spent several years of successful work in one industry. A varied background can provide a breadth of knowledge but make sure the coach you are considering shows that they could be successful for an extended period of time at one company. You are trying to be successful where you are and want someone who can speak from experience on how to do just that.
6) Coaching process – Ask to see an outline of what the process of coaching will look like and for examples of the coaching tools typically used.
7) Timeline – Some coaches have a defined length of sessions for an engagement while others are more open-ended. Find out how you will know when the coaching is complete.
8) Ongoing coaching – This does not need to be decided up front but consider asking what follow-up coaching looks like with most clients. Many appreciate ongoing coaching to discuss new challenges and be held accountability for goals. Having a coach who knows you well can be a real asset when a sounding board is needed.
9) Cost – You generally have to inquire about the cost structure of coaching but keep in mind higher cost does not always equate to better quality.
These are a few objective things to consider but a subjective area to consider is affinity. Talking on the phone can give you an idea if you connect with the coach and the coaching style. Even better is in-person or a video call to get the best feel for the potential relationship.