So you want to hire a coach but with so many choices it's easy to feel overwhelmed.
How do you find the coach that is right for you? It can seem like a daunting task so
here are some guidelines to help you make the right decision for you.
Before you start interviewing coaches, here are some questions you might ask
yourself. Your answers will give you a place to start your search.
1. Why do you want to hire a coach?
2. What kind of goals are you working on? Business? Personal? Creative? A
3. What kind of background and experience do you want your coach to have? Do you
want someone who has worked in large corporations or small businesses? Do you
want someone with a spiritual background? Do you want someone who comes to
coaching from therapy and counseling or not? Is it important that your coach have
experience as an artist, writer, scientist, educator or something else?
4. Do you want a coach who provides structure and accountability or do you want
someone who appreciates process as well?
5. How important are credentials to you? Be aware that credentials can tell you some
things but not always what it is you need to know.
6. Do you want to work with a man or a woman? Does age matter to you? Are there
ethnic or cultural issues that matter to you?
7. What values are most important to you? And which must your coach share?
8. Do you want a one on one relationship with your coach? Or would you prefer a
9. Do you want to meet with your coach in person? Or do you like the ease and
efficiency of phone sessions? Maybe you would prefer coaching online, e-mail or
10. Do you want regularly scheduled appointments? Or do you want on call
coaching just when you need it?
11. Do you want an experienced coach? Or are you open to working with a new
coach? Most would assume that the experienced coach would be a better choice but
in many cases the enthusiasm and the active learning of a newer coach can be of
12. How much are you willing to spend? This is the last question because it is the
least relevant. And notice, I did not say how much can you afford? Hiring a coach is
an investment in yourself and offers a very high return on investment. So the
question becomes, how much are you willing to invest in yourself at this moment in
time? My recommendation is to take money out of the equation, make a decision
based on all other factors and then factor the money back in.
Take some time to think about these questions. Write down your answers and
prioritize them. You may find a coach who has it all but chances are you will have to
compromise on something so be clear about what is essential and what is not.
Once you are clear about what characteristics you want in a coach and what your
priorities are, you are ready to start looking.
1. Ask for referrals. If you know a coach, someone who has a coach or someone who
is familiar with the field, ask them to recommend some coaches. Discussion lists
and networking groups may be places to put out your request.
2. Take classes. Most coaches teach classes in both live and teleclass formats. Find
subjects that interest you or coaches who sound interesting and take their class.
3. Use referral websites. Coachville, the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the
International Association of Coaches (IAC) all have directories of their member
4. Check out websites. Once you have some names, go to their websites and find
out everything you can about them.
5. Subscribe to their newsletters. Read past issues that may be archived on their
6. Read their blog. Many coaches are now adding weblogs to their online presence.
Read what they are writing about. Does it resonate with you or not?
7. Identify 3 coaches you might like to work with. By this time you have gathered a
great deal of information, have eliminated many and are probably down to a
relatively short list anyway. Honing it down to 3 gives you enough choices without
sending you into overwhelm.
8. Make an appointment with your top 3 choices. Most coaches offer a free
introductory session. Take advantage of this offer and talk with them. What is most
important during this session is to pay attention to how you feel with this coach. Do
you feel comfortable? Does the coach feel genuinely interested in you? Does the
coach seem to "get" you? Does the coach's pace and style work well for you? What
kind of value did you receive from this one session? Did the coach answer your
questions completely? What is your intuitive sense about each coach? Your intuition
may be the deciding factor and, in some cases, may override your objective criteria.
9. Make a decision and hire a coach.
It took me over a year to find my coach. In the end it came down to two possibilities.
One was very experienced, highly regarded in the coaching community and
exhibited excellent coaching skills in the many classes I took. The other was a
relatively new coach who was just starting her business. I had taken one free
teleclass and a 4 week group. I liked the material very much but didn't particularly
like the group.
So who did I choose? I chose the newer coach. Was that the right decision?
Absolutely! I had a strong intuitive pull to her which was the deciding factor. In
retrospect, the more experienced coach has taken off in a direction that is totally
incompatible with my values and I would be looking for another coach had I hired
Instead, I have an established relationship with a coach who knows me well, knows
when and how to support me, knows how to challenge me effectively and has great
insights. Best of all, she asks really, really great questions.
Having the right coach for you can make all the difference in achieving your goals.
Take your time, explore your options and trust your judgment.
? 2004 Susan L. Fuller
Susan L. Fuller, "The Allergic to 9-5 Coach", coaches creative women who are
allergic to 9-5. Working with creative business and artistic professionals, she
provides an environment to inspire the development of new works, new markets and
new businesses. To find out more visit her at http://www.allergicto9-5.com