One of the reasons I sought out a coach was because for years, I had been relying on therapists and counselors to help me at different points in my life and I felt like our conversations would go NOWHERE. We would talk and talk in circles (well, I would) and there seemed to be no plan or end goal. Then I found a coach and realized that coaching is much more action and results oriented. It focuses on the present and future and doesn’t tend to delve too deeply into the past. It wasn’t until I had my first session with a coach that I experienced my breakthrough and since then I’ve been working with two other coaches. So, I can definitely say that I “walk the talk” when it comes to believing in coaching.
In my quest for a great coach I learned several things that I think you will find useful. I hope you can benefit from these recommendations because working with a coach can be one of the most transformative experiences of your life!
Don’t fall into the trap of looking for a “friend”
Of course, you want to find someone who makes you feel comfortable, but you also don’t want to get into a coaching relationship with someone simply because you happen to have the same hobbies, you went to the same school, or you have mutual friends. Finding a great coach is about more than chemistry (even though that’s important). You’re going to want to ask a lot of questions in terms of how they work, what their process is, what training they have had, and what their coaching style is. You should also look for someone who takes the time to provide valuable original free content and has established themselves as a subject matter expert. Check out their website and social sites to see if what they are creating resonates with you. In addition, if they are a great coach, they will not just tell you what you want to hear but will challenge you to go outside your comfort zone. If they aren’t pushing you to grow in different areas of your life, it’s not the right coach for you.
Look for someone that has training
There are a LOT of people out there that call themselves coaches but don’t really have any training or experience. Technically, anyone can hang a shingle and call themselves a coach. If you can, look for someone that has gone through an ICF-credentialed certification program (one great example is iPEC, the one I went through) because that shows that they have commitment, drive and a desire to continue improving their skill set (I went through 9 months and over 300 hours of training even though I didn’t have to). I’m not saying that there aren’t great coaches out there without those credentials, but this way you have an additional filter that will help you to narrow down your search for the perfect coach.
They should ask you lots of questions
A great coach will want to make sure that you are as much a good fit for them as they are for you. So, expect them to ask you a lot of questions in terms of why you’re looking for a coach, what you want to accomplish, what timeframe you’re considering, etc. If they seem too eager to take you on and don’t take the time to ask you questions, find someone else. They should also provide you a complimentary session to really delve deeper into what you’d like to work on and offer you the opportunity to experience coaching first hand. If they just want to have a 15-minute conversation with you and then expect you to hire them as your coach, it’s not the right coach for you. You want to find someone who really takes the time to qualify potential clients and isn’t rushing you to sign on the dotted line.
There are no guarantees
Any coach that says they can guarantee results is lying. While a coach is your guide, it’s up to YOU to actually do the work to reach your goals. There is no magic formula or specific timeframe to get there—every individual’s situation is unique and different. Be wary of coaches that make those types of promises. The coaching relationship is a partnership and the only thing a coach can guarantee is that they will do the best job that they can to help you.
Follow your gut
Finally, follow your instincts. Regardless of all the above if you speak to them and something inside you says it’s not the right fit, move on. Ideally, this is a person that is going to challenge you and hold you accountable. You’re also going to be sharing a lot of personal information with them and ultimately, the coaching relationship is built on trust. If they aren’t completely open or you don’t feel comfortable, continue your search.
Hiring a coach can be one of the best decisions you ever make. Make sure to do your research, interview several, and most importantly listen to your intuition. Good luck and let me know how I can help!
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Originally published at corporateescapeartist.com