How to find a coach that's right for you
Working with a coach can be a very personal process that can sometimes last for years, so it's essential that you find a coach you really connect with. There are a wide range of coaches who vary in terms of their personality, expertise, fees, and coaching programs, as well as their approach.
If you've been considering working with a coach, you've probably asked yourself questions like:
- What sort of coach should I look for?
- Shall I work with a coach in person or online?
- How much is it going to cost me?
- What will happen during the coaching session?
- What if I don't like my coach?
Such questions are totally normal and are actually very important to ask yourself.
In this article, I'll share several criteria you should consider that will make your search and selection of the right coach much easier (and faster).
How to choose the right coach for you
1. What do you need help with?
If you've decided that you want to work with a coach, you want to find one that will be the most qualified and the best fit to help you reach your goals and overcome your challenges.
If you want to work on your life in general and address a wide range of areas, you should look for a life coach 'generalist' who will be able to support you through all of these areas. Keep in mind that they may not be a high-level expert on any of these areas.
However, if you have one specific area you want to improve, such as career, confidence, public speaking, health, or productivity, I suggest you search for a coach who specialises in that particular area. They will generally be able to provide better guidance and will often have relevant resources.
For example, a career coach will be able to help you improve your CV, knows what skills are transferable, and understands the job landscape.
2. Do you want to work with your coach face to face or via phone/Skype?
You may be considering whether to work with your coach in person or remotely. Either option has it's own pros and cons. It depends on your location, preferences, and area of coaching.
The benefit of face to face coaching is that it can feel more personal, as the coach can see you and can give you feedback on your body language which may be necessary for a job interview or public speaking coaching. The downside may be that you'll most likely need to travel to see your coach. It also somewhat limits your selection of coaches, as they need to be located in your area.
Skype or phone coaching has the advantage of convenience, and perhaps even anonymity if you choose to work via phone. This may make coaching on very personal issues a bit easier for you. Remote coaching also widens the options of coaches you could work with, as you're no longer restricted by their location.
3. How much do you want to/can invest in coaching?
Coaching fees can vary widely, but whether your budget is £100 or £10,000, you can find a coach in that bracket. Generally speaking, more experienced, trained, and established coaches will charge a higher fee. No matter how much you're ready to spend, do your research on the coaches you're considering. See what their previous clients say about them, whether they have independent reviews, how long they've been coaching, and how established and serious they are.
When you find someone who is clearly walking the walk, puts up a lot of content and resources, has excellent reviews and takes good care of themselves and their business, this is a good sign.
4. Do you connect with your coach?
Whether you are planning to work with your coach for a couple of sessions or a few years, your sessions should be something you enjoy and look forward to.
Coaches are people, and just as everyone else, they have different personalities, attitudes, and quirks, so it's important that you find a coach you really connect with, trust, and respect.
How will you know?
Firstly, their website or marketing materials should speak to you. Then, as typically you'll have some sort of initial consultation with them, pay attention to how you feel. Are you comfortable speaking and opening up to them? Are they fully engaged? Are they interested in, or ideally excited about, working with you?
By the end of the consultation, you should feel hopeful, inspired, and clear about what it would look like to go ahead working with them.
5. Does the coach have the right coaching approach for you?
Coaching styles vary just as much as personalities of coaches. Some coaches are very gentle in their coaching approach, and others are more intense or assertive. Some coaches work in a very intuitive way, other coaches have their set and tested methodologies they work through. Again, it purely depends on what you prefer and what you need.
Keep in mind that the approach you like may not be the coaching approach that would be the most effective for you.
6. How long should you work with your coach?
This depends on whether you have one specific issue to resolve (e.g. getting a job) or whether you want to keep advancing in life and keep getting better.
You could have one session with a coach (if they offer such an option), or you could work with someone for several years. I believe that, for the best results, working with a coach should be an ongoing process to make sure you not only make the changes you want, but you also maintain them and don't slip back to your old ways.
Plus, there is always room for improvement. Don't you want to be the best you can be?
In summary, when you're looking for a coach, take your time to pick the right one. You can shop around, have the initial consultation with a few, and then decide.
Coaching should always feel positive and inspiring.