So why even have a coach? It’s hard to know where to start because there are so many benefits to coaching! I have a coach myself and it’s literally changed my life. A great coach will help you identify your blind spots (sorry, you have them too), help you recognize your strengths and areas for improvement, help you get really clear on what’s important to you, and work with you to set goals that have purpose and meaning. Most of all, a great coach will be your ally and advocate, but will also be there to hold you accountable and face the truth.
Finding the right coach is the key if you want to gain the awesome benefits that having a coach can bring. I say the right coach, because everyone isn’t a good fit. This person is going to be there with you as you tackle some tough stuff. There will probably be things you haven’t told anyone or even consciously acknowledged yourself. It’s a powerful, intimate connection and one you should consider as carefully as you would a therapist or even a spouse or partner.
Here are a few helpful hints on finding a good coach and making sure that you’re ready for this kind of relationship in your life and you know what to look for.
Interview any prospective coach to see if they’re a fit for you.
A good coach will welcome the opportunity to do this. A good fit makes for a healthy coaching relationship from the start. You should be able to ask them questions and find out more about them in places like LinkedIn, their website or blog. Get a feel for their philosophy both in life and in coaching. If someone isn’t willing to have this type of conversation with you (at no cost or obligation to you), that tells you a lot about them.
A coach should have a coach of their own.
Not everyone will agree with me on this, but I feel it’s critical. This is important so that you can be confident that they understand the benefits of the coaching relationship from both sides. Maybe they have can coach now or have had one in the recent past. You want to feel comfortable that they ‘get it’.
Make sure you’re comfortable with bringing 100% honesty to the table and receiving that back in return.
This can be difficult but having a safe space for you and your coach to give voice to the truth is essential. And a safe space has no judgement and is absolutely confidential. If you can’t lay it all out there and feel 100% safe and comfortable doing it, keep looking. If you’re not sure you’re ready to open the vault, a good coach can help you with that and get you to a place where you are.
Make sure that you’re ready to do the work.
A good coach will guide you and give you information and observations but won’t do the work for you. Change will come from you, non from your coach. Any coach who tells you that they’ll change your life or you is probably not the right coach. Any coach that guarantees you’ll have the relationship of your dreams or a 6-figure income in a year after working with them may not have your best interests at heart.
My coach didn’t change me or force me down a path she thought I should go down. She supported me while I worked on the things that kept me from being the best version of me and having the kind of life I wanted. I did the work, but without her support, encouragement and most of holding up the mirror for me, I wouldn’t be where I am.
Make sure they have the skills and experience you need.
Being a coach isn’t like many of the other helping professions. There are no ‘official’ gates to enter the profession. Anyone can literally hang their ‘I’m a coach’ shingle out. Look for coaches that are affiliated with major coaching organizations like the International Coach Federation or the International Association of Coaching. These organizations have codes of ethics and structure that they require of their members and are a good indication of someone who is serious about the work.
Look for a coach who is a continuous learner themselves. Not everyone will go through the many steps to get a certification, but make sure that they not only see themselves as lifelong learners, but also area actively learning and growing themselves. You can ask them what kind of reading, learning or training are they doing right now or have done recently.
Look for a coach who has real-life experience that will support you and your journey. Education is awesome, but it can’t replace experience. Look for a nice balance of the two that will provide the background and expertise that’s right for you and where you are right now.
It may feel like a lot of effort, but you’re worth it and the time spent up front finding the right person will pay off for you many times over in the long run. You can change your life and everything you need is inside you right now. A coach will help you figure out how get the good stuff out and get rid of the not-so-good, and you deserve that kind of support.
Finally, getting a coach and asking for help is one of the most profound acts of courage you can make – it was for me. It doesn’t make you weak but proves just how strong you are. As a version of the Serenity Prayer says…
Feel free to schedule time with me using the link below!