How to choose a coach?

We often get asked by prospective clients how they should go about choosing a coach so this week we have put our heads together and come up with our top ten tips for making that selection.

If you have looked for a coach yourself, you will know that the choice is vast. There is life coaching, career coaching, executive coaching, business coaching, wellness coaching…… the list is endless. In fact, when we Googled “Find a coach” today we got 1,550,000,000 results in under 1 second!! So where do you start?

Here are the team’s top tips for selecting a coach:

1. Decide what you want to work on. This might sound obvious, but so many people come to us and ask for life coaching when we are all about business and leadership. If you cab articulate what you want to improve/change then you are in a good position to start looking for the right person to help you.

2. Ask around. You will probably know someone who has had a coach and they can probably give you a recommendation. This is always better than a Google search which could give you an endless list to search through and no guarantee that you will get a quality coach at the end of it.

3. Don’t just pick the first person you find. Its really important to meet a few coaches before you make a decision. You need to get an insight into how they work, what their area of specialism is and most importantly you need to see if the chemistry between you works. You are choosing someone who you will work closely with, so you need to make sure you fit together.

4. Do your homework. Once you think you have chosen the right person do some digging- look them up on LinkedIn, read their website. What do their testimonials say about them? What articles, insights or posts do they publish? What coaching qualifications do they have? In other words, how credible are they?

5. Don’t worry if they aren’t an expert in your field. Coaching is very different to mentoring although they are often confused. A mentor is someone who advises you because they have done what you are doing, and they have done it successfully. A coach isn’t there to give advice. A good coach will ask you challenging questions, will guide you through a thought process which will give you the answers you are looking for, but they won’t tell you what to do. In fact, finding a coach who knows nothing about your business can be a real benefit- they will ask more questions, be genuinely curious and will keeping probing to gain understanding which in turn helps you to understand and see things differently.

6. Find someone who asks great questions. The ability to ask deep searching questions is essential in a coach. So, if at your first meeting the questions seem easy or ordinary then you might need to keep looking.

7. Geography. Today’s technology gives us the ability to connect and speak to anyone anywhere at any time and has made the world a much smaller place. In theory you can choose a coach anywhere in the world and work with them across platforms such as Skype, Facetime or Zoom. However, we firmly believe that whilst interactions like this can be helpful to keep in touch and check in between main sessions, there is nothing to replace the quality of a one to one, in person discussion. So chose someone you can meet in person if you can.

8. Price. Coaching is not a cheap option however it can be the most cost-effective investment you make in yourself and your business. Not all good coaching costs the earth and not all expensive coaching is good. Set yourself a budget and see what you can get for your money. The most important thing to remember here is that you will need to maintain this relationship for 3, 6, 12 months or more and you need to be able to continue to fund it for as long as it takes to make the improvements you are looking for. So don’t chose a high price option if you can only afford it for this month.

9. Duration. Linked closely to #8 your coach should give you an indication of how many sessions they think you may need to get traction on your goals. Of course, this will only be an indication, but you should be wary of any coach who suggests that they will be working with you for several years. A coach is not there to become a crutch, but to serve you for a short period of time whist you make the improvements you are looking for.

10. Set expectations. At your first coaching meeting your coach should talk to you about expectations. They need to understand what you expect from your sessions, and also to establish ground rules, boundaries and tell you what you can expect from them. This is known as contracting and whilst it may feel like an annoying delay in getting started, it’s essential for a good coaching relationship, so make sure it happens.

We hope these tips help you make the right choice for you. Whoever you chose, enjoy the journey and the challenge of pushing further, harder, faster and for longer than you have before, to get the right results for YOU!

If you’d like to meet a coach from TLS to see if we can help you, please get in touch.

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