Improve Your Life! How to Hire A Coach.
A reader writes, "I do not know how or where to contact a coach here. What kind of background should a good coach have?"
Perhaps others of you wondered the same thing. Hiring a coach takes some investigation on your part but according to the February issue of "Fast Company" magazine there are 20,000 coaches in the world so locating one isn't going to be difficult. (See below for a link to the Fast Company article.) If you want a coach in your country that is definitely possible since coaching is a worldwide profession. That said however many coaches coach on the telephone so you are not limited to coaches in your country.
Where do you look for a coach? My favorite way of finding anything I need is to ask others who have had experience with it. So to find a coach I would ask my friends who their coach is. If that doesn't work then there are directories of coaches on the web. A few such websites are: and .
You will need to have some search criteria to find the coach that is right for you. If your issues are work related you might want a business coach, a career coach, an executive coach or a corporate coach. If you have personal issues, you might want a personal coach, a life coach or a relationship coach. Another search criteria might be your country if you prefer to be coached by someone there.
The International Coach Federation, an association for coaches, suggests that people interview at least 3 coaches before deciding on one coach. That said I think what is most important is your trust and connection with your coach. If you call one coach and your intuition tells you this is the coach for you, then hire him or her. The one thing I do know is that you must believe that the coach can help you for the coaching to work. It is the coaching relationship that is most important.
Before you decide on which coaches to interview, go to their website if they have one and get a feel for the coach. Subscribe to his/her newsletter or read articles in the archives of the website. It will help you to understand where the coach is coming from and if his/her values align with yours. Finally many coaches give Teleclasses. This is a great way to "put your toe in the water" without a huge financial commitment.
Coaches come from many diverse backgrounds. There are former therapists, educators, and business people. Depending on your need one background may be more appropriate for you.
Some coaches have additional training as a coach. Rather than telling the client what to do, the coach's role is to help the client to find his/her own path. Coach training programs give the coach the tools and resources to guide and motivate the client without pushing him/her. The advantage of having a trained coach is that he/she has no agenda other than to help you succeed.
For the interview you will want a list of questions that will help you to decide if this is the coach for you. (See below for a way to receive a list of questions to ask.) Let the coaches know your expectations and needs so that they can have a chance to tell you if they can meet them.
Finally be sure to discuss the fee with the coach. You must feel that the benefit of coaching is worth the cost of the coach and that you can easily afford that fee without cutting back on necessities.
1. Ask friends about coaches they or any of their acquaintances use.
2. Search and http://www.coachfederation.org for names of coaches to interview.
3. What kind of help are you looking for? Make a list of questions you would like to ask the coach. I have a list of questions that used to be on the CoachU website. If you would like the list, send an email to with "Coach Questions" as the subject.
4. Interview the coaches and let me know the result!
5. Read "Are You Being Coached?" from this month's Fast Company magazine
Alvah Parker is a Business and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker's Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Parker specializes in helping professionals create a career that is fun, fulfilling and profitable. Alvah is found on the web at http://www.asparker.com. She may also be reached at 781-598-0388.