How to choose a professional Coach

Realising that you may benefit from working with a professional Coach can be a pivotal moment in your career. It takes a certain self-awareness and introspection to recognise that you can enhance your performance and fulfil your real potential with some independent support. So, what should you consider when looking for a Coach?

Decide what you want to get from Coaching

Be as specific as possible and write it down. As the saying goes, ‘if you put clarity into a process, you’ll get clarity out of it.’ So, have a think about it and complete the sentence ‘I want a Coach to help me…’ This will create focus when researching and clarity when talking with potential Coaches. 

This also helps you benchmark where you are before working with a Coach, to help you evaluate progress in x weeks / months into the Coaching relationship.

Talk to your network

There may well be someone in your network who’s either successfully worked with a Coach or knows a good one they can recommend. Also, talk to your internal company network too, one or two people whom you trust. Check in with your HR colleagues, who may have a discrete budget for individuals to use for Coaching and other self-development.

Create a shortlist 

Identify 2-3 potential Coaches and analyse their outputs eg on their website, Social Media and articles they’ve written. You want to evaluate their content and see if you learn anything new from it. If their content is more about stating what you already know or seems too obvious, it might indicate that they won’t be able to give you new insights and fresh perspectives.

You also want to assess how close they may be to your way of thinking.

Talk to your shortlist

Any Coach should be willing to have an initial chat with you to assess if there’s potential value in working together. If you do proceed, you want to ensure that you have good chemistry and have a sense of trust between you both. 

It’s best to have a consistent list of questions to ask, such as ‘what’s the process of working with you?’ And ‘based on my Coaching needs, how would you measure the success of achieving them?’ Ask about how many sessions they think it might take to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for.

Also, ask them for 2-3 examples of how they’ve helped other people, using their process. Whilst coaching skills are adaptable to seniority, you might want to check their experience at working with people at your level, and with ideally with your requirements. 

And experience of your industry sector will help too. For example, if your prospective Coach primarily works with public sector clients, they’ll potentially have less insights if you’re working in the private sector. 

This also helps you evaluate and compare the conversations with 2-3 Coaches. 

Take your time

Don’t rush the researching stage. Once you’ve spoken to your shortlist, take a few days to ponder about the conversations and see if your thoughts change, with the benefit of the ‘overnight test.’

Once you’ve decided on your preferred Coach, ask to speak to two of their clients, ideally two who have been through most or all of the process. 

Be honest 

It’s probably your first time working with a Coach. Be honest with them – if you don’t feel like it’s working for you, talk to your Coach and see if you can recalibrate the way you’re working together. Coaching is a two-way working relationship, and will improve with honest feedback.

It will be a constructive, productive and career enhancing experience for you. Good luck!

Find out more about how Kentish and Co can potentially help you with your Coaching needs

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