When I set out to hire my first business coach, I called 3 different possibilities and got 3 very different “tastes” of coaching. At that time, aside from inquiring about their experience, I didn’t really know what else to ask and based much of my decision on rapport.
And rapport – a strong connection – with a potential coach is important. But there are also a number of other questions that will help ensure you hire the highest-quality coach best suited to your needs.
Below are 5 such questions to give you a strong start:
1. Where is your certification from?
While you can’t technically call yourself a lawyer without having a license to practice law, you can call yourself a coach without certification. (Fortunately the industry is becoming more stringent in this regard.) I encourage you to seek out coaches who are certified through an accredited program. For example, I went to school seemingly forever to earn my Ph.D. – but my coach certification training (and the continuing education requirements, connections formed, etc.) has made me 100 times the coach I would have been without it.
2. Can you give an example of someone similar to me whom you’ve successfully coached?
If you’re contacting a coach, you likely know what you want to accomplish as a result of your coaching experience. Share this with your potential coach and ask for similar examples of other clients. She might not have coached someone in your particular industry, and that’s o.k. (coaching is not industry-specific), but she should be able to connect your goals, vision, and ideas with client success stories.
3. What coaching affiliations do you have?
Ideally, your coach will be a member of the International Coach Federation, or ICF. This is the leading governing body of the coaching world and members must agree to strict ethical guidelines. Think of this like a physician: would you want one who reports and adheres to an ethical governance, or one who creates her own rules?
4. What’s your passion, or your coaching “sweet spot”?
I love this question because it’s unexpected and it helps you get an inside look at what lights up your prospective coach. If he says, “You know, I like coaching, but I’m actually thinking about phasing out this side of my business to focus on something else,” you might want to look for someone with a bit more fire. (I heard that response from a prospective coach once. I kept looking.)
5. Do you have a coach?
Anyone who wants to be the very best in their field works with a coach – just look to sports for examples of this. If your prospective coach doesn’t have a coach himself, that could be a sign that he’s become complacent in the profession – or that he thinks he knows all he needs to know. Take a “No” answer to this question seriously.
Coaching is an investment, and often a hefty one at that. Typically a coach’s fees are commensurate with her experience and results, so make sure you recognize your coaching as an investment in your future (vs. a one-time expense) and be willing to seek out the best you or your employer can manage. I’ve hired inexpensive coaches, and I’ve written out coaching checks that have made me gasp – but I’ve come to find that the old adage is so often true: “You get what you pay for.” My results and transformation with those loftier investments was always so much more profound!
As I see it, I am only successful as a coach when my client is successful with his or her coaching goals. When I’m coaching someone 1:1, I am as fully invested in his success as he is. If you sense your potential coach doesn’t share that passion for growth, success, and fulfillment, keep searching until you find one who does.
Believe me, your perfect coach is out there! And you deserve the best for your investment.
Dr. Christi Hegstad helps you successfully do what you love! As President of MAP Professional Development Inc., she coaches professionals to get unstuck and reach Bold Goals with clarity, confidence, and meaningful action.
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