Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Coach

There are so many life coaches out there. How do you choose one that will help you achieve your life and professional goals.

This article about a life coaching programme run amok is upsetting. And an example of what good coaching is not.

Given the plethora of coaches out there, how do you choose a coach and avoid the pitfalls experienced in the article above? Here are some tips

1. Are they credentialed with the ICF or another reputable coaching organization? If they are, this lends them credibility.

2. Do they subscribe to a coaching code of ethics? All ICF coaches have to sign a pledge to be a member of the ICF or to be credentialed by them. In any coaching agreement you establish with them, do they reference their code of ethics?

3. Do they even negotiate a coaching agreement with you in the first place where you agree your goals for the changes you would like to make in your life?

4. Do they offer a complimentary 30-60 minute session (NOT A SALES PITCH BUT A GENUINE COACHING SESSION) so you can see if you have good chemistry. If you don’t, they’re not the coach for you. And if they seem like they’re only interested in selling you a coaching package, run away now!

5. Do they offer the opportunity to terminate the coaching contract at any time if you feel things are not working out with them? And are you able to get your money back for the unused portion of the coaching session? Coaching is really personal and your progress correlates directly with the positive relationship you’ve established with your coach

6. Find someone that understands the professional boundaries between coaching and counseling. Coaches are not there to help you deal with your PTSD or clinical depression, or suicidal tendencies. They are there to help you grow as a better person. They are generally more present and future focused.

7. Do they listen more than they talk? The rule of thumb is that coaches should listen 80% of the time and only talk 20% of the time.

8. Do they ask open ended questions and wait for you to finish your thoughts? Good coaches do not interrupt and allow uncomfortable pauses so you can really reflect on what they’re asking you.

9. Do they offer unsolicited advice? A good coach should ask permission before they offer any kind of advice or insight and then qualify it with the fact that it may or may not resonate and that you’re free to ignore it.

10. Do they overshare about their own lives? Good coaches share examples from their own lives infrequently and only when it’s relevant to your situation or as part of establishing a healthy coaching bond with you.

Good coaches are:

  • Nonjudgemental
  • Trustworthy
  • Caring
  • Boundaried and respect your boundaries
  • Professional
  • Ethical

Here’s an example of a code of ethics for coaches published by the International Coaching Federation to help you as you assess potential coaches. You can use this to formulate questions when interviewing potential coaches.

To learn more, schedule a free 30 minute clarity call with me.

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