Working with a Coach, Part II: Finding the Right Coach for You

Congratulations — you’ve started the process! You’ve taken the time to prepare for your coaching journey.  Now that you’ve developed your coaching budget and implemented some time management tools, you are ready to look for a coach.  Real talk: the goal here is to find the coach that is right for you.  Each of us is different, coaches are all different, so find the coach that fits you.  

But where do you start? When you search #lifecoach, 10.5 million posts are tagged on Instagram.  It seems like everyone is calling themselves coaches online. This makes it tricky to figure out the right coach for you. So I’ve got some tips for you.  

First, I encourage selecting a list of 3-5 potential coaches to interview so you can make a solid decision about which is best for you.  And the number one way to start is to ask your network for a referral.  Reach out to your friends, co-workers, and others, and ask if they have worked with a coach they would recommend.  You can also search Linkedin; start with your network, find coaches they are connected to, and ask for a referral.  Another place to start looking for a coach is the ICF Credentialed Coach Finder. Here, you’ll be able to search profiles of coaches that have been credited with ICF.

Once you’ve selected your short list, do your research on them: are they credentialed? Where did they go to school? Read some of their testimonials.  Remember, you are looking for a coach that is right for you. Coaching is a very personal experience and you are looking for the coach that resonates with you. 

Next, interview your potential coaches.  Most coaches provide a complimentary initial session to prospective clients. For example, I offer Dream Big sessions, which are allow me to meet you gain insight into what is bringing you to coaching, give space for you to ask me about my coaching style, discover what working with me looks like, and for both of us to test what a coaching relationship would be like. These sessions often conclude by covering logistics such as scheduling, pricing, and other details. 

Here are 10 common questions I’ve asked when interviewing a coach myself, and that clients ask when interviewing me: 

  1. What are your areas of coaching expertise? 
  2. How long have you been a coach? 
  3. Why did you decide to be a coach? 
  4. What is your approach to coaching? 
  5. What kind of results have your clients seen after working with you? 
  6. What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve worked through with your clients? 
  7. What kind of clients do you work with? 
  8. Are you ICF-certified?
  9. Where were you trained as a coach? 
  10. What are the details of your specific coaching programs (time, price, etc.)? 

You may not be able to ask all 10 of these questions, but I encourage you to ask at least some  remember, coaching is a BIG investment, not just in the monetary sense, but also in your time and energy.

Okay, so now you’ve interviewed 3-5 coaches, you’ve asked your questions and taken notes (or even better, ask to record the interview). Now it’s finally time to make a decision. Take some time (but not too long) to reflect on each session; what resonated with you and what didn’t?  How did you feel after each call?  While you should look at the practical aspects of coaching (price, timing, etc.) ultimately I encourage you to listen to your intuition and choose the coach that resonates with you. 

Remember: you will not have all the answers and know everything about your potential coach, so trust your instincts and celebrate your decision. 

This blog is part of a Three Part Series – Working with a Coach [Part I: Preparing for Your Coaching Journey, Part II: Working with Your Coach, & Part III: Working with Your Coach]

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