Three Key Filters to Help you Find the Right Coach!

By Shweta HandaGupta

You have a lot of options if you decide to hire an executive, personal, life coach or even a coach who specializes in a niche or subset within the same! The right coach can be vital to the quality and outcomes of the coaching engagement and the surge in this profession can make the decision of choosing a Coach quite difficult.

The biggest challenge a few years ago was that anyone could call themselves a Coach, and as online searches showed, thousands did! This challenge still exists but another one has gotten added to this list. With the proliferation of coach certifications and coach certifying bodies, the ease with which a coach certification can be obtained has increased without the necessary quality checks! A canned or one-size-fits-all approach has become popular in coaching classrooms which takes coaching away from its core.

Here are a few tips which will help you choose wisely:

I  Important Attributes to look for – In my opinion really good coaches share the following characteristics

- Have a passion for helping others. They truly love people.
- Truly and genuinely care for your success, even on an emotional level
- Are well-informed and have points of view that they aren’t afraid to express
- Have a Coach and self-development practice themselves. A person who isn’t clearing the cobwebs in their own mind is unlikely to be able to help you clear yours
- Are original thinkers. In a world where imitation is no longer frowned upon as strongly as it used to be, original thinking is not as easy to find. This quality is important because original thinkers will be able to ask powerful questions in the moment when you need them.
- Have more holistic exposure, knowledge and understanding of leadership, human behaviour, psychology and the human mind.
- Are insightful & intuitive – Coaching is as much an instinct and an art as a developed practice. No amount of coaching tools or techniques can help if a coach can’t draw on their intuitive strengths to create what is needed in the moment.

II  Chemistry & Rapport are Crucial – The best coach in the world may not be the right coach for you. Coaching is a partnership that thrives on deep trust and coaches and clients often develop a strong relationship while working together. Good coaches are able to inspire confidence and trust from very early stages of the interaction and the chemistry or rapport between the coach and the client is an important determiner of the success of the coaching relationship. First impressions are important but remember that anyone with good communication skills can project an initial positive impression.

Spend time to get to know your Coach. Ask what his/her values are. Does he/she come across as an authentic person? Simply, are you comfortable letting him/her into the deepest recesses of your mind? A reputable coach always provides the first interaction free of charge because they know rapport is important and the first session also functions as an initial discovery and understanding discussion.

III Training, Credentials & Certification – Yes, these are important as they provide a minimum benchmark to ensure you are working with a Coach who has made the effort to obtain the right knowledge and skills through a rigorous training program. Credentialing from International Coach Federation is a useful benchmark to seek. Having said that, it is important to note that credentials have become more of a basic hygiene factor than an assurance of quality. Some of the best coaches in the world are not necessary credentialed but are easily identifiable by their excellent work, writings they’ve published etc. Do research the coach online, see the kind of work they’ve done and whether they’ve displayed original thinking. Don’t forget to check testimonials or ask for references.

Before you start the Coach search, there are some important aspects you need to consider which will allow you to make a better decision. Here is a list of questions you might want to ask yourself first.

  • Why do you want a Coach? – Write a paragraph on why you want to work with a coach. This will help you find the right fit and also align your expectations with the coach.

  • Are you prepared to take a hard look at yourself, work on creating what you desire and change, if required? If not, drop your coaching plans now.

  • How much contact do you need or want from the Coach? – Having an initial idea on this will help you have a better discussion with potential Coaches. Would you like your coach to be available to you for small discussions outside of coaching sessions.

  • How will you know your coaching was successful? What outcomes are you hoping for?

  • What is your budget?

These answers will also provide you a framework for your initial discussions with the Coach.

©2013-14 Shweta HandaGupta. All rights reserved

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