Choosing the right coach is one of the most important parts of the coaching journey. Without the right coach or coaching team, the chances of success will be far reduced. In fact, perhaps it might not be worth going through the process until you are sure you are in the right hands.
So, how to ensure a career coach is right for me?
Before approaching the subject, you need to ascertain if your coaching will be done by one coach or several. Convention suggests that normally one person will be your coach as they will get to know you and develop a relationship that will gain your trust. However, there are other ways and sometimes a team approach can be better.
This collaborative method might seem a little far fetched for you as an individual. Ultimately, you only need one coach so why should you even contemplate more than this? The answer is not in how the coaching is being delivered but more in terms of the methods behind the coaching.
If a coach is part of a wider organisation, they can lend on the experience of their colleagues in order to produce the best possible content for their clients. This might take the form of research that they do before your sessions or by having one of their peers take an actual session with you. In the right circumstances, this can be hugely beneficial and is something you can check out yourself as indicated below.
However, the reality is that one coach can never fit all purposes or even come close to doing so. There is also a plethora of ways in which coaching is delivered and on so many different themes. A general overview of coaching options can be found here: https://instituteod.com/15-types-coaching/
Therefore, it is critical to ensure you choose the right coach for you. Some suggested steps to finding out are outlined below:
- Think about what you need.
This might seem a little strange as surely much of the coaching process revolves around establishing a plan for your future. However, you need to think a little about your own requirements, desires and aspirations for the future. This will help you to answer some of the points when you tackle the due diligence about your coach below in the second point. There are some good general comments contained here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-choose-the-right-career-coach-for-you
2. Do due diligence about the main coach or company. Invariably, there will be one main coach that you will be working with so it makes sense to do your research on them via linkedin and other ways. Of course, there is only so much you can discover but even a small amount of research can be insightful. Perhaps you will be able to answer basic questions such as:
Have they been coaching for years?
Do they have much real life business experience?
What was their experience prior to coaching?
Do they work for an organisation or for themselves?
Do they have any testimonials that I can look into?
Are their clues concerning their style of coaching?
What is their persona like? Would I get on with them?
And so on.
The ‘right’ answers to these questions will vary for each candidate. For example, you might prefer to work with someone who has a major background in Human Resources with some experience in life coaching. Or, not, as the case may be.
3. Find out about their coaching processes and style via their website. This includes both how they coach and also what packages they have in place. The style is something you have to be personally comfortable with. The services they provide will include packages, monthly coaching, individual sessions and the format and costs for these. Although some coaches will be flexible, it is important that your own preferences loosely fit into these.
Trying to manipulate a coach to provide services they are not comfortable with often results in a disappointing outcome in the end. As much as you want value yourself, the engagement from your coach remains of paramount importance throughout.
4. Doing a trial run. Most coaches will offer some sort of try before you buy call. This is really important for you to find out if the coach is compatible with your needs. Before you have this call, make sure that you have outlined some of the aspects that are important to you. As such, you can ensure that you ask relevant questions that are pertinent to you throughout this call. A lot of these questions are those addressed in the second point and are perhaps ones that you have not been able to answer in your own research. Remember this call is not only a chance for the coach to demonstrate how great they are but also to discover if they are compatible with you.
The overall feeling you have from this call will also be important. Did the coach mainly talk about themselves? Were they reading from a script and trying to overtly impress you? Were they genuinely interested in you as an individual? Answers to these will help you to discover how to ensure a career coach is right for me via the consultation call.
5. Adapting throughout. It is impossible to map everything out in your initial call and even when you start with a coach. You must ensure you try to get the best out of your coach throughout the process. Establish an open forum for dialogue so that you can make tweaks when needed during your sessions. Give feedback and don’t be afraid to tell your coach what you think and what works best for you.
6. Insist on feedback. Any good coach will want you to succeed as much as you do. If your coaching takes place over a given period of time, then you must ensure you are receiving relevant feedback from your coach. This should be based on quantifiable tasks you are completing throughout the sessions and on your own. This could be job applications, your CV and profile, new skills you are acquiring etc. You want to ensure you are being tested so that you can continually improve throughout the process.
Ultimately, of course, this remains an individual decision and one career coach will not necessarily be right for different people. But don’t just go with your gut. Your career is too important to rely on a hunch and you want to minimise your risk as much as possible.
So, when thinking about how to ensure a career coach is right for me, consider some of these aspects above. All reputable career coaches will want you to be as happy as you can be before proceeding.
Please do let me know your comments or any further advice you might need along your journey.