You’ve watched artists, sportsmen (and women) and performers hire coaches to excel and sell boatloads of creative work.
Done right, coaching can bring about positive change, improved relationships, better time-management; drive sales; engage employees and lead to bottom line results.
If you’re still unsure whether coaching really works, here’s some research. A study of Fortune 500 telecommunications companies by MatrixGlobal found that one type of coaching, called executive coaching, resulted in a whopping 529% ROI.
In companies, coaching used to be a euphemism for “we’re going to get you coached, so you know we did everything to support you and we’re not hit with a lawsuit if we fire you.”
In short, it used to be a signal of underperformance.
But coaching has come a long way since then. For example, today it’s used as a tool that’s used to support top performers do even better.
There are so many coaches out there, but if you’re picking one to work with you one-on-one, you cannot afford to make a mistake of choosing a wrong type.
And yes, there is a wrong type – it depends on several things, such as the chemistry between the two of you, their working style, the type of coaching they offer to name a few.
So how do you separate the sales pitch from reality? Here are 7 things to specifically look for when finding a life coach that’s right for you.
The human mind is a beautiful thing. Those first impressions you get when you meet someone? They are spot on.
When you’re looking for a life coach, make a mental note of first impressions you get from their website, phone call, marketing material such as business cards, brochure and any other communication you receive, even their photo. Now notice how you feel. We all have what I like to call “invisible antennas” that pick up “vibes” from others. In short, first impressions count.
Beyond first impressions, you want to know if they offer a free or sample session before you two start working together. A good coach will always offer you a complimentary “discovery” session. This session is for you to ask any questions you may have about the coaching process.
They will be happy to answer these for you. This session is also a good exercise in rapport-building. You may also get your coach to do a small demo of what happens in a real life coaching session.
Does the coach work one-on-one, on the phone or Skype? How long is each session? Do they have a wide range of time slots available, including weekends? Or are they only available during specific days? What’s their fee structure and cancellation policy like?
Do they offer email coaching between sessions? Depending on your own lifestyle, work commitments and weekly schedule, these logistical questions can help find the right match for you.
To know whether your coach walks her talk and takes her coaching seriously, check if they are certified from an accredited program. A lot of coaches are in this profession because it’s their calling. They may be “naturals” at coaching. So it’s not a necessity to be accredited. However, it’s always good to find a coach that is passionate about coaching and has invested their time and money in getting a qualification.
Another thing to look for is their professional membership. Professional organisations set standards of ethical practice, as well as host workshops and trainings for coach’s development. Together, these two reflect on the coach’s seriousness bigtime.
If you need a business coach, you need a business coach. Not someone whose main focus is life coaching but they do business coaching too, on the side. No. Ideally, you want to find someone who is committed to working with clients on their business.
And that’s not enough. If you’re a startup, you want to find someone who specialises in small business and startups. A coach who works with businesses generating a million dollars in revenue won’t be a great help. So align your current situation and challenges with the coach’s speciality and experience, and take it from there.
This comes as you gain more trust and confidence in your coach. Can you connect with them on a personal level? While the relationship between a coach-client is intimate, there is a fine line that is to be drawn and respected.
Your coach is not your “best friend”. So, as an example, although they show flexibility and are there for you on different levels playing several roles, they won't cry with you when you cry. An effective coach knows how to self-manage and still show empathy during a session. It’s a skill that comes with lot of experience and learning.
As a coach, I like to set up a session by establishing we are in a judgement-free zone. I tell them to share whatever is going on for them without any reservations because everything we discuss remains confidential.
Saying this upfront allows me to hold the space for the client during the session. This is vital if I want them to trust me and support them at a deeper level. Notice if your coach strives to create trust and support for you and in what specific ways.
There you go – 7 tips to find the right life coach for you. Everyone’s unique, so what may work for someone may not work for you. Your friend may rave about a life coach but you may find they are not a great match for you.
And that’s OK. It doesn’t make you or the coach less-than-ideal. You’re looking for personal chemistry and that can vary from person to person.
How would you go about finding a life coach that’s right for you? Got more tips to add to the list? Tell us in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.
Here’s a handy list of ICG-recognised coaches that you may find helpful.
This list features some truly excellent coaches with years of experience and skills. Go find them all here.