How to choose the right Coach

right coachI may be the perfect Coach for you!  But then again I may not.  Over the years, I have worked with a variety of Coaches, some were simply amazing and others made me regret every dollar I spent on their services.  Because I care about your success and because I know how vital your relationship with your Coach is to your progress as an entrepreneur, I wanted to take some time and provide you with my best tips on how to find “the one”.

I have found that people spend far too little time researching who they hire to advise or coach them in their business endeavors.  They see a clever marketing email, brilliantly written web copy or fall prey to the promise of “achieve [insert unrealistic goal here] in less than a month”.  Hiring a Coach is in most cases no small investment and in my opinion deserves to be treated with nearly as much diligence as finding a doctor or hiring a nanny for your children.

A special note about testimonials: as with job references, these usually represent the Coaches’ favorite clients (and in some cases peers whose main interest is a backlink to their own site).  The results being presented are rarely average and just because someone else worked well with a particular Coach does not mean you will.  It is important that you honor your unique personality, work style, values and preferences when selecting a Coach.

Here are my top 10 tips for what to ask your potential Coach:

Tip 1:  Ask for a free consultation

As a potential client you should be able to sample what you are about to invest in.  Insist on at least one if not several complimentary sessions so that you have an opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for whether you found the right Coach.  If your Coach seems more interested in selling you than getting to know you and how they can serve you, it’s time to move on.

Tip 2:  Ask them about their niche

What is their specialty and who do they serve in their practice?  If the answer is anything and anyone, runI cringe when I see Coaches who claim to be experts in a plethora of widely differing specialties, including relationships, career, business, spirituality and marketing.

Tip 3:  Ask them about their cancellation policy

Many Coaches will not refund your money once you sign an agreement.  Make sure your Coach offers an “out clause” if for some reason the two of you just don’t work well together or your life circumstances change.  You won’t get a refund for work that has already been delivered and there may be a cancellation fee, but at least you won’t have to pay for the entire program.

Tip 4:  Ask them about their process & tools

Passive income is all the rage in coaching circles.  If you are purchasing a 1:1 coaching program, make sure it is actually delivered live.  Some Coaches claim to offer “personalized attention” but you end up receiving a series of pre-recorded videos, audio clips or group programs that leave no opportunity to ask questions or receive help specific to your unique situation.    In addition, ask your potential Coach how they approach their 1:1 sessions and what tools (i.e. membership site, goal setting software, etc.) they use to supplement their programs.

Tip 5:  Ask them how they helped other clients like you

A prospective Coach should be able to give you several examples of how they helped someone in a similar situation.  Don’t expect personal references as this information is often protected by Coach/client confidentiality agreements.

Tip 6:  Ask them to tell you their story

Ask them about their own story; in particular the subject you are seeking to be coached on.  This will give you an indication as to what your prospective Coach has experienced in their own life and career and how well they will be able to relate to your personal situation.

Tip 7:  Ask them about their belief system

This will tell you a lot about who you are dealing with – pay attention and use your discernment!  If you are not careful here, you may end up with a Coach who asks you to channel your dead aunt for advice on how to build your business or manage your life (trust me, it really happens…).

Tip 8:  Ask them about their training and background

Just about anyone calls themselves a Coach these days, despite the fact that they do not have formal training.  Make sure your prospective Coach is certified and has a solid background in whatever topic you are hiring them for.  If you want to start a business, find a Coach who has led teams and run businesses.  Likewise, if you are looking for a relationship Coach, you will want to stay away from Coaches who are on their 4th marriage.  In any case, if your Coach looks like they just graduated High School but tells you they are “experienced”,  keep looking.

Tip 9:  Ask them about their personality style

Birds of a feather flock together.  If you are anything like me, there are certain personality types that drive you insane and that you avoid at all costs.  Before you commit, find out what makes your Coach tick – it’s quite ok to ask them what their MBTI, DISC or StrengthFinder results are.  The more closely aligned you are with your prospective Coach in terms of personality and work style, the more successfully you will work together.

Tip 10:  Ask to connect with them via social media

How do they interact with their audience online?  What kind of messages do they share and who do they hang out with?  It’s ok to virtually stalk your prospective Coach for a while to get a feel for who they are and how they run their practice.  So go ahead and send them a friend request on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or connect with them on LinkedIn – then pay attention to how quickly they follow up and how they engage with you.

I wish you the best of luck in your search for a Coach that you connect with and who will help you take your career and life to new heights.  Make sure you take the time to ask the right questions and don’t believe the marketing hype – your bank account and progress depend on it!  Remember that building a business requires hard work and perseverance – there is no such thing as an overnight success story.

Should you and I ever have the opportunity to consider working together, I will be happy to answer each of the questions above to make you feel confident about your investment in my programs.  If you would like more information about working with me, click here.

Comments

  1. felissa says:

    Great info!! I thought the part about if the coach looks like they just “graduated high school, run” was funny. Since sometimes people think I am younger than I appear. I always love to hear stories of those who have overcome. If I decided to seek a, I would want a coach that overcame similiar challenges I am facing. I think your list isnt only helpful for coachees but also coaches. Good stuff! I always love reading your post.

    • Hi Felissa – thank you so much for the kind feedback, I really appreciate it. Congratulations on your “younger than you are” look – what a blessing! Of course I was referring to those who proclaim themselves experts but haven’t actually “paid their dues” like the rest of us :-).
      SB

  2. This is a great list. Thanks for sharing it. I think the most important ones for me is the personality type and their belief system. if we assume they know what they are talking about, then those two qualities will be the separating fact.

    • Thank you for your feedback Amos. I agree those two criteria are very important!

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