Choosing a Coach

In the data base of the International Coaching Federation there are no fewer than eleven specialities around personal coaching. Personal coaching focuses on issues of personal and emotional intelligences, career transition, life balance, dealing with major life changes to name a few aspects of this work.

No matter what your coaching need may be there is a set of criteria that you should be applying when sourcing your coach.

Be Prepared as the potential client

What do you want to see as a result of the coaching intervention?

 Spend some time with yourself thinking through where you are now and  where you would like to be.   What would it feel like and look like for you when the outcomes have been achieved – can you describe this in observable terms.  You need to be clear about this as a starting point, however you and your coach may change those initial outcomes through mutual agreement once you have had a few coaching sessions.

What is your budget for coaching? 

A coach may quote you a per session fee with a minimum number of sessions or a fee for a package of a number of sessions over a time period, e.g. 10 sessions over 6 months.  Ideally you should be seeing your coach every 3 weeks with telephone access freely available. Coaching sessions would be between 60 and 90 minutes and fees can range. So be aware before you start on your search for a coach that there is a financial commitment required as well as a time commitment.

How to find a coach

If a coach is recommended by a satisfied client this is first prize – there is nothing more powerful than word of mouth referrals. International Coach Federation www.coachfederation.org has many coaches registered on their website. Remember that coaches who belong to ICF have undertaken to subscribe to the values and ethics of the controlling body and that would give you the client an understanding of what you can expect.

When you have found a couple of potential coaches what are the next steps?  Time to interview for the most suitable coach.

What to ask the coach when you interview for their services

What qualification does the coach have that puts them in the position to walk your path with you?

Are they affiliated to any coaching body either locally or International Coach Federation?

What is the profile of the coach in terms of life experience and relevance to your life issues?

Charging high prices does not equate to skill.

Coaching requires a specialised set of skills and this is different from a trainer or a consultant.

Once credentials are established, have a cup of coffee to establish whether the chemistry between you is conducive to the very personal and confidential relationship that should develop.  Do you feel comfortable with the coach (and vice versa) Coaching is built on mutual trust and respect and if these are absent there is no basis for relationship. How do they do their coaching, what is the approach? Where would you have your meetings? How do they track your progress? What can you expect from them in terms of reliability, meeting times as well as duration, accessibility, confidentiality, fee structure. What will you be expected to do as the client?

Once you have found your coach and all your questions have been answered be prepared for a special time in your life.

Coaching relationships are for a finite period of time and should not be indefinite as they are not about becoming dependent but interdependent.

The coaching relationship is one of two tracks.  One is the path of the client and the other is the path of the coach and the two run together with both parties embracing the work and the learning.

Working with the right coach is n empowering experience, it is a voyage of discovery about yourself and as the client you should walk away with greater knowledge of who you are and how you get in your own way.  Having discovered this you are able to be generative in your own growth and will have a greatly enhanced ability to handle life and work challenges as a result of your coaching experience.

Ref: Nedbank 3Sixty