10 Tips: Find The Best Coach & 10 Questions to Ask To See If You Found Them.
Disclaimer: You may not agree with all of these. Maybe you'll think there's some missing. Everyone needs to know what they're looking for-so, there's that.
I have found, however, in the many years that I've been coaching with productive results, that there are a few factors that make a coaching relationship work...or not.
It's a two way street of course and this post offers my perspective of the factors that need to be employed by both coach and participant in order for it to be worth everyone's time, effort and your money.
1. The coach has an expertise and niche that is aligned with what you're looking to do. I've noticed many coaches try to cover too broad a field of service. I prefer someone who knows a lot about a specialization, instead of nothing too specific about a lot of things.
2. The coach has education, certification, specific training, continued education and seasoned experience in the field of their coaching expertise. Deciding to be a coach and then going after just coaching certifications doesn't cut it. How will you decide if the coach you seek actually has something to offer in the field they coach?
3. The coach can easily refer you to someone they have empowered. Confidentiality is important-but it shouldn't be used as an excuse to not be able to offer references. At any time, I have at least ten people who would be willing to speak with someone about our results-and they don't have to offer too many details, or even a last name if they don't want to.
4. The coach has a content foundation and clearly offers tools for your specific goals. Someone with expertise in a field will often have their own intellectual content and you can trust it because they use it and it has worked, over and over. Borrowed from other coaching programs or regurgitated material is a sign, in my book, that the program may not offer you anything new.
5. A coach can quickly answer "theory to action gaps". In theory, content is always useful and it always works. In everyday life, theory doesn't always hold up like it's supposed to. It's my #1 pet peeve with leadership and influence material. A coach worth the weight can bridge those gaps by telling you not what you should do, but HOW to do it and all the factors involved.
6. A coach holds you accountable. Often, if people haven't done the work we talked about, I reschedule. I have a wellness coach friend who "fires" people (kindly) after they consistently show they aren't following through. Service is about truly empowering people-not wasting their time or taking their money for nothing. A good coach wants to empower people who want to empower themselves.
7. You are willing to look at yourself very intensely to figure out what you are, what your impact is and what you want to do. Good coaching often ends up sort of "forcing" you to look at yourself because everything begins and ends with you. This process can get really uncomfortable for some people-but without the courage to do it, you may not make all the strides you want to make.
8. You are willing to make the changes necessary to grow and expand. Working off of #7, some people say they're ready and then once they get uncomfortable, they resist changing. Ego is a strong player here.
9. You are someone who knows you always have something to learn and, potentially, do differently. Do this seem like a "given"? Can I tell you how often people say they believe this but don't, in practice? Can I tell you how often people don't think coaching can benefit them because they're "all good"? In my experience, most people who believe that are the ones who need it most.
10. Both you and the coach should create a relationship that ends when it should end, realistically. I know coaches that want people to keep going for obvious monetary reasons. I know participants who use coaching as therapy. Coaching should be created to supply you with awareness, tools, perspective, perception alignments..things that once achieved, help you to "see" things in ways you can't "unsee" on your own, going forward.
Questions to Ask To See If You Found The Right Coach:
1. Tell me, what niche do you focus on? What does your coaching aim to do?
2. What background do you have that provides expertise in this area?
3. Would you be able to provide a reference who can tell me what you did for them and how?
4. Can you give me an example of some content focus and what tools they provide?
5. (provide an example of something you're looking to work on) Can you give me an example of how you would bridge theory to action on this, why it might not work in theory and your method for bridging that in the everyday?
6. Can you explain how you view accountability and what you will do to held me to it?
7. Can you explain how we will examine my personality, impact and results thus far?
8. Can you give me an example of an exercise you use to help someone grow or move outside of their comfort zone?
9. Can you give me examples of some of the myths people have about themselves (in this area) that you've seen in your practice?
10. What is your philosophy on coaching program goals..how to evaluate when the relationship has run its course?