Choosing a coach can be tricky. This guide gives you 10 essential tips to ensure you find the right coach for you and your needs.

The question is not ‘why would I need a coach’ but ‘why would I go through periods of my life without one?’

Leading a resilient life means recognising when we are ‘stuck,’ demotivated or lack direction, clarity or motivation. Coaching enables people to find that illusive holy grail of confidently moving forward towards the life we want to lead, both professionally and personally. Finding a coach you can really connect with helps you understand yourself, focus on what’s important to you and works together with you to build a process in which you can confidently take action. 

Working with a coach can be an amazing experience that builds resilience to enable you to thrive regardless of what life throws at you 

Coaching is a two-way process, it’s a partnership between you and your coach that enables you to maximise your potential, leverage your strengths, focus on opportunities for development and build plans for your future.

10 tips to help you find the best coach for you 

1. Check their credentials 

Coaching is currently an unregulated industry which means anyone can refer to themselves as a coach. Look for a coach with credentials (e.g. International Coach Federation) that adhere to stringent standards of professional coach-specific training, performance evaluation and relevant experience. Professional coaches adhere to a strict code of ethics where confidentiality is key. 

2. Do your needs fall into their speciality? 

There are coaches out there who are ‘super strong generalists.’ They really know how to dig in and help their clients excavate what is most important to them. More specialist areas include life coaching, coaching through divorce, career coaching, leadership or team coaching and even maternity coaching or coaching for young people making a transition. The best advice is to ask your potential coach if your needs fall into their speciality.

3. Try before you buy  

Find a coach you feel comfortable with and you are half way there. A good coach will offer a complimentary “chemistry” session so you can be confident that this is the right partnership for you. Here are a few things to look for in your ‘chemistry’ session:

  • Your coach should discuss the coaching relationship and his/her style of coaching with you. 
  • Discuss adherence to client Privacy and confidentiality with you and set any expectations for note-taking and availability of notes for you to look at. 
  • Crucially, your coach should explain that it is ok to say you’d rather not proceed and not push you for the reason why. Sometimes it can simply come down to the ‘chemistry’ and that works both ways. 
5. Personality counts 

Relationships rule the world and whilst your coach certainly should not act like your your best friend, you do need to feel a connection with them. A coaching relationship is based on trust, honesty and nurturing. That said, effective coaching involves a healthy dose of challenge too so as your relationship develops you need to feel comfortable about sharing what drives you, what makes you feel great and also what scares you! If hiring a leadership/team coach, its important you feel they are credible enough to stand in front of your top executives. 

6. Commitment 

A typical Resilient Me programme ranges between 6 and 12 months of commitment. Frequency of sessions often involve either weekly or monthly meet-ups but should be flexible to your needs and scheduled around any potential timelines for achievement. Be wary of any coach attempting to lock you into an endless contract, but do understand that change takes time and effort. 

7. Define what ‘success’ looks like  

What are you trying to achieve? How do you want to feel? How can a coach assist you in getting there? Coaching sessions are all about you and your chosen focus. Coaching is based on helping you unlock YOUR potential and helping you find solutions to move forward with confidence and focus. Be wary of any coach who tries to engineer what success looks like for you. A good coach provides a safe and confidential environment in which you can explore and challenge your thinking and find the best way forward for you.  

8. Good coaching takes the guess work out of purpose and performance  

Potentially, the main intent for engaging a coach is around managing weakness. Perhaps concerns around not been ‘good enough’ or confident enough to move forward with our chosen goal. A good coach avoids opinion and works with you to use specialised assessment tools designed to help you understand and unleash your signature strengths, whilst navigating any weaknesses. Ask your coach how they will discover hidden perspectives and use frameworks and robust assessments. What assessments do they use and is it included in their fee? Why do they use the assessments they’ve chosen and what training have they had to administer and interpret the results? 

9. ROI for organisations and executives 

Coaching should involve both a transformation in thinking and behaviour and introduce a process for confidence in moving forward. A coach should be able to articulate a robust calculation of expected return of investment on typical coaching outcomes. Engaging a coach cannot promise increases in productivity by x% or increased sales volumes by y% but they should be able to point to similar achievements with other clients.  

10. Ask for success stories 

Ask for a success story or two. When they share, it will tell you how they define success so you can see if it aligns with how you define success.  

Whatever your goal, you can benefit from a coach. The next step once you’ve made a decision about finding a coach, is to make sure you find the right professional to enable you to confidently move forward towards the life you want to lead, both professionally and personally.