In this article, Life Coach London Hans Schumann covers everything you need to know to establish whether life coaching is right for you, how to find the perfect coach for your situation – and whether you are coachable!
Being a career & life coach, naturally I am chuffed that coaching has become so popular. It is no longer a service reserved for CEOs and celebrities.
Just like personal training, personal coaching has become accessible and valued by a growing number of people across all sections of life. And in the same way as personal training helps us become more effective at hitting our fitness goals, personal coaching helps us with other goals in our careers and in life.
Yet the number of coaches is growing rapidly and I appreciate that it can be tough finding the right one for you. The best way to start is with a recommendation from someone you trust. If you don’t have a recommendation, you can Google or search for coaches in online directories. You will be spoiled for choice, though. So how do you choose?
Here are a few tips for finding the right coach for you:
Before you start looking for a coach, it’s worth considering whether life coaching is right for you. Let’s compare it with some alternative processes:
Coaching: Coaching empowers you to gain greater clarity and develop new strategies for your goals and challenges. It’s a collaborative process created jointly with your coach. It focuses on the future and is typically solutions-orientated. Sometimes your coach may invite you to visit your past for learning, but the main focus is to take action and move you forward.
Therapy/counselling: If you want to explore emotional issues in your life, therapy or counselling may be a better fit. They both focus on understanding emotions and relationships. You will be doing most of the talking and much of this will be about your past. Good examples where this approach may be more suitable than coaching are emotional traumas, bereavement and significant levels of depression.
Therapy and counselling will also be more appropriate if you are not yet ready to embrace change. Maybe you just want someone to listen. I once had a client who signed up to a coaching package, but then cancelled the next day because she was too scared of change. She decided that a talking therapy was a better step for her at that time in her life.
Mentoring:A mentor is someone you go to for advice. Typically, it’s someone who has already been successful in an area you want to grow in and who agrees to share her experiences with you. Maybe she is working in the same industry as you, but is more senior. Most mentors don’t charge for their services. They provide support to junior colleagues or acquaintances alongside their main job, to “give back”to others. Mentoring can include coaching elements, but it’s quite likely that your mentor will not have had formal training in either mentoring or coaching.
Consulting: A consultant is hired to deliver a specific solution or professional advice. You benefit from his technical expertise and get answers very quickly. Yet a consultant will not empower you to grow in the same way as a coach. A good example for consulting is if you were looking for solid marketing advice. Rather than having a coach help you create your own marketing strategy, you may just want someone to tell you what to do, or even do it for you.
Training:The purpose of training is to pass knowledge on to you. It normally follows a pre-defined structure and is often delivered to several people at the same time. Sometimes people think my coaching is a training course, where they can be passive and simply follow my lead. But that’s not coaching. Whilst many coaches use models and processes, each session is bespoke and co-created between the coach and the coachee.
If you feel coaching is the best way forward for you, the next step is to decide what type of coach you would like to work with:
Coaching is not regulated and there is no official standard that tells you what to expect. Coaching can therefore mean a lot of different things and coaches often develop their own unique styles.
There are a few industry bodies that have developed coaching standards. Those organisations accredit coach training and individual coaches against those standards. That’s the closest thing to regulation in the coaching industry. The best-known coaching organisation is called the International Coach Federation (ICF).
If your coach is accredited by the ICF, then you will know that he has been properly trained and has demonstrated experience in coaching. It will probably say so on his website (check for the ICF logo) or you can ask him directly.
Since there are so many different coaching styles, I recommend that you ask your coach to explain how he works before you hire him. Here are few basic distinctions:
There are also different ways of working with your coach:
Face-to-face: Most commonly, coaching takes place with both you and the coach in the same room, either at their or your location. Most of my clients prefer this method (at least to start with). With good reason. There is nothing to beat face-to-face contact. There is a better quality of energy in the room. There are also certain coaching tools that require both persons to be in the room
Video coaching: This is becoming increasingly popular. Here coaching takes place via a video platform such as Skype or Zoom. Many of my clients who tried it, never want to go back to face-to-face afterwards. They find that video coaching works well for them and they love saving the travel time at either end of the session. It’s a great choice for busy people. I receive most of my own coaching via video. A note of warning though: You need to have a good wifi connection and a place where you are undisturbed.
Telephone coaching: Some coaches also offer telephone coaching. Not for everybody because it can feel strange for some to open up to a coach you can’t see. Yet some people report that telephone coaching really helps them to focus on the words and to dive into the subject matter even deeper. What you can’t do though is show things, like diagrams, unless you email them.
Group coaching: This can be a right for you if you learn better in group settings. When I run workshops attendees often tell me that they value sharing experiences with others. Group coaching is also a more cost effective way of buying coaching.
Whether you are after a life coach, career coach or executive coach, I recommend checking the following points before you hire him or her:
Most coaches will offer packages of coaching sessions that typically start with something like six sessions, but they can be as much as a full year of coaching. Before you commit to buying a package, I recommend having a trial session with the coach. This should be a proper coaching session rather than just a chat over a coffee. You want to have a real experience of what it is like to be coached by that person. If you work with an established coach, he may well charge you for this session.
Only commit to working with the coach if you received value out of this trial session, if you trust the person and the chemistry between the two of you is right.
During the trial session watch out for the following, which indicate good-quality coaching:
I love coaching so much that I still have my own coach. In fact, I sometimes use several coaches in parallel for different topics.
I have worked with many coaches over the course of the last decade and found them all without any recommendations. I just “knew” that they were a good fit after I spoke to them; and indeed that gut feeling may be a much better guide for you than any of my tips above!
It takes two to tango: no matter how amazing your coach is, you won’t create good results with him if you do not do your part. You need to be “coachable”. Click here to take my free online test to establish whether coaching could be right for you.
Here’s what makes a fantastic coachee:
If your answer is yes to all the above, please get in contact with me! I would love to talk to you. You may well be my dream client and we could probably create fantastic results together!
On the other hand, if your answer is no to several of the above questions, coaching may not be right for you. One of the most common obstacles I have encountered is that clients are not ready to change. They have complaints, but subconsciously they still prefer the comfort of their current discomfort. The “pain” of their current situation is not enough to make them want to change.
I once had an unemployed client in his forties who complained about the “hell” of living with his parents. He described in vivid terms how the situation at home drove him mad. Yet he did almost nothing to change this situation. He sat through his career coaching sessions with me, but then did not follow up on the actions we agreed. I reflected back to him how he was stuck in a victim mode. He received more benefits than drawbacks from his situation at home. As painful as that situation was, it was not painful enough to get him out of the house to look for jobs each and every day.
Are you ready to change? Click here to watch a short video about the process of embracing change in your life.
If you have any questions about finding the right coach for you or how to become a better coachee, let’s schedule a call to discuss your personal goals and ambitions in life. You can contact me on [email protected]
Hans Schumann is an ICF accredited coach and published author providing Executive Coaching, Career Coaching and Life Coaching in London and via Skype. Email: [email protected]| website: https://www.hansschumann.com| telephone: +44 7795450710
This article was first published on www.hansschumann.com