How to Choose a Coach

leadership development program

Making the critical decision to invest in your development by hiring a coach is a great move, but how do you pick the best person for you? Here are some practical tips to help you choose. Look at their online presence if they have one. You’ll get a feel for their approach and whether they seem like a good fit for you. If you can, look for details of:

  • experience and credentials
  • areas of interest and expertise
  • client testimonials
  • coaching approach and style
  • pricing and packages
  • location and whether they coach in person and/or remotely
  • complimentary consultations

Once you start looking at different people, you’ll begin to get clear on who resonates with you and why. Then you can contact them to have an initial conversation. Most coaches will offer a free consultation to find out more about you so you can both determine if you’re right for each other. (Good coaches are selective about their clients in the same way you can be selective about your coach!). This is a great opportunity to check if you have a connection, and it’s also a chance for you to ask them questions about their style and approach and coaching logistics (venue, times etc.).

Questions you could ask:

  • what can I expect to get out of coaching?
  • what kind of people do you most like to work with?
  • how will we set/agree my coaching goals?
  • how will you hold me accountable for success?

Make it three coaches’ max!

Every coach is different, so having conversations with couple people will give you an opportunity to understand what style and approach feels best for you. Ideally, limit this to no more than three coaches so you don’t become overwhelmed by choice. And you’ve already checked them out online – or if you know them/have been following them for a while – you might only need to chat with your preferred candidate.

It’s never about the money…

It is about value. Of course you’re going to want to know how much the coaching will cost, but it’s important to consider the value, not just the price. Coaching is an investment in yourself and your future. In your continued professional development and growth. You’re not buying time from your coach; you’re buying personal transformation and professional development.

Imagine this: You’re feeling disgruntled and wishing you knew what you really wanted to do. This feeling of dissatisfaction and being disillusioned, stressed, and so your confidence has taken a knock.

You decide to hire a coach to support you with this and within three months you’ve achieved clarity on what you really want to do. Developed ways to feel happier and fulfilled, taken action to build your confidence, and found a job you love.

How much would you pay for that amount of ‘transformation’ in your career, life, and well being? Now look at the cost of staying where you are now?

Remember, the value of the transformation is usually far greater than the price of the coaching, so resist the temptation to see it as an hourly rate cost, but rather as an investment.

Check your heart and gut as well as your head

As with any decision, it’s important to tune in to your gut instincts and what your heart desires as well as listening to your logical mind. Choosing a coach is an important decision but not one need that you agonise over. Your heart or gut will give you a strong indication of which coach to work with.

I know that people often want to talk to two or three coaches, but this not the same as buying a car or negotiating price. I let potential clients to call me back if they’d like some help to make their decision. I know I am not for everyone, and it’s important that you choose the person who is right for you. I’d far rather help someone made a decision that feels good (even if the decision is to work with someone else), than have them stay stuck in indecision.

If you start to talk yourself out of it.

I’ve had many conversations with people who told me they were keen to start working with me…and then they disappeared off the radar.

As well-trained coach I follow up, and check in, and yet often I don’t hear from them again. Obviously, I don’t know everyone’s circumstances or thoughts, and there can be many valid reasons that someone changes their mind about going ahead. I understand and experience about working with people and how good we can be at talking ourselves out of something that would be good and then unwittingly self-sabotaging. The fear of change can be daunting, that our self-preservation kicks in and provides us with a list of plausible-sounding reasons not to proceed.

It’s all about the chemistry

In my experience ‘chemistry’ is the most important thing. You and I must be able to connect and trust each other. You also need to be open to the idea of being vulnerable to get the best from coaching. Your coach therefore needs to be someone who you feel comfortable with and who resonates with you.

I think it’s great that there are so many coaches in the world, because you’re bound to find someone who feels like a good fit for you, and whose offering is exactly what you need to make the positive change you desire.

If you want to know more go to my coaching page.

I believe the discovery of oneself should be a fundamental goal for everyone. Life is too short to let others dictate who you can be. Knowing oneself will direct you to your life’s purpose and help you to actualize your full potential.

I wish you continued success, Geoffrey

I have coached CEO’s, leaders, architects, engineers, public speakers and entrepreneurs. in the 25 years coaching experience I led teams for the 2010 Winter Olympic Bid, CN Financial Division, Shaw, Rocky Mountaineer, Sandwell Engineering, FKP Architects, Rogers, Telus and Stantec.

As a facilitator I have worked with and provided training for: The Pursuit of Excellence Canada, BC Housing, London Drugs, Leadership Vancouver, Tourism Vancouver and Victoria. I also wrote and taught at the Sauder School of Business, Executive Education, at the University of British Columbia.




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