Ruth Moody
August 25, 2022

How to make sure you choose the right coach

Coaching. It’s the development initiative that everyone talks about, the favourite subject of business publications and celebrity entrepreneurs alike. And now the pressure is on you to find a coach for your people’s development. When there are so many different coaches, offering a diverse range of services, it’s hard to know where to begin. How can you tell what’s effective from what’s hot air?

Coaching is no fix-all nor is it overhyped. ‘Coaching’ in itself is only helpful in so far as any other intervention is. The magic happens when the right coach is matched with the right person. Both sides need to be unflinchingly honest. When the client is clear about their goals and the coach uses the most appropriate style of coaching, it’s a recipe for a great coaching relationship and commercial success.

How to find the right coach

Finding a coach is not an issue; a quick search for ‘business coach’ on LinkedIn returns nearly two-hundred thousand results for the UK alone. Choosing the right coach is the challenge. That means you’ll need to spend an awfully long time going through the list to find one that suits your needs, the needs of your people or your organisation’s goals.

Professional accreditation and the coach’s experience are useful starting points for filtering your search results. Certification by a professional coaching body is a mark of reassurance and quality. Academic qualifications also underline whether an individual is credible.

Sometimes, you’ll come across a coach without official accreditation. And while life experience and career history play a role in determining suitability, it’s nerve-wracking to take a chance on an unknown quantity. Seeking a coach through a consultancy provides reassurance. You can relax, knowing that someone else has already taken the risk and has determined which coaches are skilled and reliable.

Chemistry is a crucial ingredient too, though it’s often an afterthought. No matter how good a coach looks on paper, it’s always worth meeting face to face. If you’ve been tasked with sourcing a coach for senior team members, encourage this meeting at all costs. In the same way that your organisation would meet with a new marketing agency, IT supplier or accountant, it’s critical to get to know your coaching provider. After all, you’ll be putting the responsibility of yours’ or your people’s development in their hands. Don’t commit to something without a meeting. Coaching relationships are based on trust and openness; it’s critical to assess whether this person is someone you feel happy speaking freely with if you’re going to get the best from coaching.

Set goals for your coaching encounter

Certification and an illustrious CV are impressive. However, make sure you choose the coach that’s right for you, rather than being dazzled by an impressive roster of past clients and outstanding achievements. What value will the individual or their style of coaching bring to your experience? Of course, a coach who’s summited Everest, managed international teams at global organisations, or authored a bestseller is impressive. Ask yourself how those things relate to your everyday challenges. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t aim high. Aim as high you like! Just make sure you reflect on what you and your organisation want to achieve.

A reliable, reputable coaching consultancy will help you do this. They’ll ask questions, dig deep on your goals, and use what they learn to provide a coach who offers the right kind of support. Keep an eye out for this; an experienced provider won’t shy away from having this conversation. A reliable provider will even be willing to say ‘No’, and they’ll have the confidence to make alternative suggestions in light of what you need. It’s all part of the value that they add.

The importance of the relationship between coach and coachee

When the coach-coachee relationship works well, it has a positive commercial impact. The right style of coaching, from the right coach, for the right person, is much more effective than a great coach in the wrong circumstances.

No two clients are the same which is why I take time to build effective partnerships. Not only do I spend time with clients to establish their needs, I work with a wide range of professionals who offer diverse support.

Helpful tips to find a coach

Whether you’ve been tasked with finding a coach by your organisation, or you’re looking for a coach yourself, here are some helpful tips to bear in mind:

What to avoid:

  • Don’t rely solely on word of mouth – What worked for someone else might not work for you. If you’re recommended someone, by all means, explore the opportunity, though bear in mind that an initial chemistry session still needs to happen
  • Don’t be scared about money – Set out the nitty-gritty early on: how much, for what, what’s included, what’s extra, and when will it be paid? Get the finer details of cost out in the open at the beginning. This avoids any confusion or nasty surprises later on and means the coach and coachee can stay focused on development

What to do:

  • Put a contract in place – Commercial contracts should be agreed upfront, though that’s not all. A contract between coach and coachee outlines what the goals are and how they will be achieved. Things are less likely to go awry if everyone knows where they stand at the beginning
  • Consider signing an NDA – An NDA provides reassurance that commercially-sensitive material won’t become public. Coaching is a confidential conversation, though an official agreement provides extra reassurance to the board or whoever is signing off the coaching budget.

Choose the right coach and set your organisation up for success

Choosing a coach with appropriate skills is key to ensuring the future success of your organisation. What really matters, aside from the coach’s professionalism, is that the coach and the coachee are a good match. It’s down to you as a client and as a professional organisation to be clear about your agenda. Spend time thinking about what you need and who can help deliver it at the start. It might feel counterintuitive when you want to get going! Though if coaching is going to deliver the results you’re looking for, it will be time well spent in the long run.

Not sure where to begin with coaching? I have a wealth of experience and an honest approach. If I think I can help, I'll be glad to tell you more. And if not, I'll let you know. I'm on 07931 502519 and welcome the opportunity of a conversation.

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