Are All Coaches Created Equal? How to Find the Right Coach for You

In today’s world of professional coaching – has the industry crossed the line into some sort of more socially and market-driven McMind Coaching, or is it possible to still indulge in some mental fine dining?

With coaching now playing such a major role in people’s emotional and professional lives, coaches are springing up all over the place quickly filling void in demand and giving clients an extensive choice in both targeted and more generic coaching programmes.

So it raises a question around value: are all coaches made equal? Are some coaches more effective than others at getting you to where you want to be? Do some coaches really earn those hefty fees based on results or is it all smoke and mirrors?

Being a former athlete, having a coach is no new thing to me. In fact, in my experience, it is the only way to sustainably succeed at anything. I have had many different coaches throughout my life for each milestone I was aiming for. Each coach had a very specific sphere of influence at the time, so the selection process is important to me to ensure I got the right person for the job – it’s all about efficiency you see.

I have seen some pretty phenomenal coaches who have what can only be described as the magic touch and truly do transform lives consistently.  Similarly I have seen some shockers too who can only be described as the second hand car salesmen of the mental game.

Now, sitting on the other side as a professional coach myself I am very aware of just how important this service really is, how it can support and guide an individual to emotional contentment; an organisation to hum like a finely tuned engine; and a corporate giant to truly understand it’s purpose… of course I am bias.

So how do you separate the talent from the weekend warriors, the professionals from the amateurs and the long-stayers from the opportunists.  Lets face it – it is your mental wellbeing after all.

There are a couple of key things to think about before embarking on a coaching programme with anyone irrespective of what they say they can do for you.

Before searching for a coach, first identify what it is you want coaching on. Is it business, life, career, phobias, relationships, sport, health, habits, motivation – if you can think of it there is a coach out there who targets it!

Once you have identified which area of your life you require coaching, the next step is to identify the type of coach who will get the best result for you! Are you just in need of an ear, someone to listen to you whilst you work through your own issues with reason and deduction or do you need to be challenged, tasked and held accountable by someone who has your bigger picture in mind?

Do you want a coach that comes to you, you go to them in a clinic-type environment, a coffee chat coach, a phone or skype coach?

All forms of coaching have positives and negatives associated to their approaches and all vary in relation to their intensity too.

For example if you are the kind of person who finds they avoid situations then maybe a phone/skype coach wouldn’t be your first option as it can be very easy to hang up or not pick up in the first place! So select a coach that will fit within your lifestyle and behaviours.

Questions should be asked of the potential coach too. Some coaches are more ‘process’ based, some are more conversational and work well in certain situations over others. The good ones can switch between both.

Selecting a coach that both understands you and your needs and has the skill-set that will give you the best chance of obtaining your outcome should be your priority.

Over the years I have seen many different approaches by coaching companies to stand out and attract clients – and as they say horses for courses – some have been flash and elaborate and others have been understated and intimate. The bottom line is it needs to work for you as you need to feel comfortable enough to open up and share yourself with the coach.

Research your coach as you would research a brain surgeon! Ask people for their experiences and recommendations, read about them, get to know them, call them up and ask them questions – if they are professional then they will happily give you the information you seek – and if it doesn’t feel right keep looking and asking.

So don’t be afraid to ask your potential coach some seriously probing questions about their approach, strategies and successes – because if they are one of the good coaches then they will be asking you some pretty serious questions too.

A coach selects a client as much as a client selects a coach!

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