Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Choose the Right Coach for You


The coaching industry attracts consultants, therapists, and people with good intentions who want to help. But because there’s currently no regulatory board or set of, the prospective coaching client should choose a coach wisely.

Evaluate their credentials
A business coach should have some formal training, and have some understanding of organizational dynamics including how to navigate corporate culture.

Other questions: Is the coach part of any organizations? Does the coach publish books or articles? Does the coach offer products and services in addition to coaching?

But don’t take degrees and certifications at face value. They tell you nothing about the quality of the coaching.

Evaluate how they work with clients
Many organizational consultants direct you toward answers without involving you in the solution. That’s not coaching. A skilled coach will engage you in dialogue, give you a new look at an issue, and ultimately let you decide what’s best.

The coach’s role is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that you already have. Coaches are trained to listen, to observe, and to customize their approach to meet your needs. Coaches will elicit solutions from their clients; but a skilled coach also knows when to jump in and provide direction when you get off track.

Make sure they’ve been in your shoes
Make sure your coach has experience in your area and speaks your language.

Many therapists jump on the coaching bandwagon. While the therapists may have skills and knowledge that help them work on personal transformation, they’re not necessarily best at helping you adapt your leadership style or improve work performance.

Other ways to learn about a coach:
-- Read their bio, and ask about their background.
-- Ask them if they’ve worked through the issues you’re having.
-- Visit their website and see how they market themselves.

Look for testimonials and get real referrals
Most coaches will post a client list or testimonials on their website so you can see what their clients think. Beware of anonymous testimonials.

Ask for names and numbers of clients to contact, to validate the coach’s work. Call them. Ask specific questions such as:
-- What was it like to be coached by this person?
-- Did they help you achieve your goals?
-- Would you hire this coach again?

Make sure you fit with your coach
Trust your instincts when deciding whether or not the coach truly understands who you are and what you need. You may want:

-- A coach who’s direct and will act as a constant “swift kick in the behind.”
-- A coach who provides advice and talks about their experiences.
-- A coach who listens as you pull the answers from inside yourself.

Ultimately, you will want a business coach with whom you have great rapport, who you would trust with certain details of your life as well as your observations, who will not judge you.

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