So You’ve Decided to Hire a Professional Coach—Now What?


Choosing a professional coach to assist you in moving forward in your life and creating a life of success, fulfillment and balance requires that you do some homework. Here are some guidelines in selecting the coach that can best help you to achieve your personal and professional goals.

The most important thing to look for in selecting a coach is someone with whom you feel a natural rapport—someone with whom you can easily communicate, feel a sense of trust, and can co-design a powerful partnership that will help you produce the results you are looking for in your personal and professional life.

Coaching is—or should be—a partnership of equals, so it’s important to select a coach who is able to enter into the relationship as an equal. You and your coach will be working together in the service of your agenda, not theirs. A masterful coach will listen, observe, and customize their approach to meet your individual needs. A coach who is flexible and has a collaborative style is much more likely to help you achieve your personal goals than a rigid and authoritarian coach.

Since explaining what coaching is and how it works can be challenging for both coach and prospective client, the best way to understand why coaching is so effective is to actually experience it. Many coaches offer a complimentary coaching session so you can try it out. I highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity. And it’s a great way to determine the degree of rapport you feel with the coach you are considering.

Here are some questions to ask a prospective coach:

  • What is your coaching experience?
  • What is your coach-specific training?
  • What is your coaching specialty?
  • What is your philosophy about coaching?
  • Do you offer a complimentary session?

Since coaching is a profession in which certification and licensure are not yet required in most states in the U.S., there are many individuals who are calling themselves coaches who have not been formally trained in specific coaching skills and are transferring skill sets from other professions into their coaching. Often this results in an inadequate or ineffective coaching experience for clients.

If you are considering hiring a coach, be diligent in asking the coach if they have been specifically trained in coaching. Don’t assume that a coach is competent because they have other professional credentials or set high fees.

As you evaluate prospective coaches, keep in mind that the coach’s job is to provide support and help you produce the results you want in your personal and professional life. Who you choose as your partner in this endeavor is extremely important. You are always your best investment. Invest wisely when hiring a professional coach. As with any sound investment, you will be very pleased with the returns.