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How do you know you’re hiring the right coach?

Years ago when I was getting my training, I learned that so many different kinds of coaching exist. I knew some people focused their coaching in realms of normal life while others focus in realms of leadership and business. But I didn’t know of all the varieties that existed.

In the realms of life, I heard of someone who worked as a hiking coach. Others focused on women in transition. Others focused on helping parents transition through empty nest syndrome. There were well-being coaches. And the list goes on. In the realms of leadership & business, there were speech coaches, team coaches, leadership coaches, business coaches. And again, the list goes on.

So how do you know you are hiring the right coach for what you need? Here’s a short list I developed to help guide you in finding the right fit for you.


First – Know what you want to accomplish. 

You must start here. Knowing where you need help will help you know what kind of coach to look for. In a recent blog, I included a chart that might help you know what kind of service you need, based on what you want to accomplish. You can view it by clicking here. You might not need a coach, but a consultant. Or you might even need counseling. Get clear on what you want to accomplish and what kind of service you need to help you get there. Not sure if you need a life coach or something else? Know the difference. For me, I get asked all the time if I’m a life coach. “No,” I answer. Then I have to explain the differences in particular kinds of coaching.

Second – Find the right fit. 

Search your relational network, the web, linkedin & the International Coaching Federation website for the right fit. I’ve found that leveraging your network to find a good connection is almost always, a good bet. You probably know someone who knows someone else who has a connection to the right fit for you.

Third – Do your research on that person, are they trained & experienced in the realm you need?

Once you’ve found someone you are thinking of trying, do your research on them. Read their website and ask for a reference from someone they’ve worked with. Find out about their training and if they, indeed, are even trained as a coach. The international coaching federation is currently the only governing body within the coaching profession that certifies if a person has had adequate training through an ICF coach accredited training program. For example, my coach training school, The College of Executive Coaching, required over 120 hrs. of specific coach training & work. It was like getting another masters degree! So see if the person you are working with has had adequate experience and training and the realm you need help with. Do your research!

Fourth – When you meet, assess how well they listen & co-create with you

When you finally decide to reach out and meet a potential coach, assess how well they listen to what you are trying to get done. Make sure they work with you to get absolute clarity on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are not clear at the beginning on what you are doing together, why and how, you probably aren’t going to be satisfied at the end. One of the ICF core competencies is that a coach should be able to help set a clear foundation at the beginning for the coaching engagement. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed through this process. This also means, you can’t rush through it either!

Fifth – Establish outcomes & set a follow-up time

Last, if you decide to move forward, make sure your coach helps you establish what outcomes you’d like to see happen and sets a follow up time to monitor progress. I like to follow up with my clients after three months, and again after six. If you don’t schedule these times in to make sure you are making progress – you’ll never know!


This list isn’t exhaustive – but just a starting point. If you need more help in finding the right coach for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Even if I’m not the right fit, I’m happy to refer you to the right resource. I do this because I know that success is more likely when we have the right partner for the journey.

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