Choosing the right coach to work with can seem daunting – any internet search will bring up literally thousands of coaches all prepared to work with you.

Your selection process can be helped by taking the following things into consideration:

Personal Recommendation: Do you have a friend who has used a coach and has had remarkable results?

Are they more successful, more confident, more … of whatever you want to be?

Then the easiest way to choose a coach is to ask who they used – and use them.

You don’t have to trawl through lots of marketing material promising untold success – you can see their results for yourself.

You can talk to your friend, family member of colleague to find out how they found the process.

What type of questions were they asked?

What was the format of each session?

How effective did they find it?

What results have they got?

By being able to trust them, you are able to get honest, open comments which are going to be much more valuable to you than vague promises made by a leaflet or website.

Via the Internet: If you do not know someone who has already worked with a coach, there are a number of sites that provide directories of coaches that you can look through. These tend to be affiliated to particular organisations and so may not list every coach available.

They will all, however, give you more than enough contacts to make your choice. On such sites, each coaching practice will have a mini-profile, describing the coach as well as their particular area of expertise.

There should also be a link to their own website, which gives much more information about the services they offer.

Rapport: However successful someone else has been with a coach, and however successful a particular coach is, the relationship will not work for either of you without rapport being established.

Rapport, in basic terms, is how comfortable and connected you feel with another person. The easiest way to think of it is how well you click with someone.

As a coach, you learn the importance of this and techniques you can use to enhance the rapport you have with a client – this could be matching body language to matching voice patterns or speed of breathing.

Although these may seem strange things to focus on, these provide subtle messages to you that help you feel at ease and encourages you to trust and open up to the person in front of you.

So, when choosing a coach for you, it is very important to listen to your instincts.

A good coach will try to reach rapport with you through these and other techniques and this demonstrates their desire to connect with you and understand you better.

If their attempts make you feel manipulated, or exposed, then, regardless of their rapport-building skills, you may never be able to feel comfortable enough with that individual to really open up and express yourself to them.

And, without that openness, you may never get the real benefit of coaching, which is the space and support you need to think about your deepest desires, beliefs and fears.

There will always be part of you holding back – maybe through lack of trust or simple reluctance to share such information with this person.

I believe that when you begin your search, expect to talk to a lot of different coaches.

You are not only searching for the most experienced but mainly for the one that makes you feel most at ease.

Trial Session: Many coaches will offer a trial coaching session. This allows you to see what the process is like and so understand whether it is for you or not.

It also allows both of you the chance to see if the relationship will work, with regard to the rapport.

The coach will also take this opportunity to check your goals and aims against your willingness to act, your commitment to making the changes and also your ability to move forward.

In some cases, if the coach feels that you are not in the right frame of mind to move forward with your life, they may suggest other alternatives, such as counselling or therapy.

There are a lot of coaches who will offer this session free of charge.

This can often be a fantastic way of working with a variety of coaches to really make sure you sign up for more sessions with the right person.

But there is a warning attached to taking free sessions and it is one that leads many coaches not to offer them.

How often do you truly appreciate something you get for nothing?

If you are not paying, what value do you attach to the experience?

For coaching to work for you, you have to invest something, whether that is time, money or energy.

If one of those elements is missing (such as money) you have to be aware that the others have to be strong enough to have an impact.

This means that you go into a free session committed to following through on any actions you agree to, regardless of whether or not you intend going back to that individual.

This is where your energy needs to be strong enough.

If your commitment to invest your time is not strong enough, you may find yourself cancelling the session a number of times, or simply not contacting them at the agreed time.

This is especially the case if there is no penalty for cancelled or missed appointments.

This is where your time needs to be invested. In both cases, there is no value via money but you still are bringing something important to the process.

It can leave both you and your coach in a very negative situation if you treat the lack of financial investment as an excuse to not take it seriously.

So if you are going for free sessions, I urge you to make sure you understand what you will still be expected to invest – and make sure you are prepared to give that.

Qualifications: It is no secret that the coaching industry is currently unregulated. This means that anyone can set up business as a coach with no recognised qualification.

It also means that anyone can set up a coaching training organisation with no background or qualification.

So you want to make sure the coach you choose has a particular level of skill by their training with a recognised training organisation, or via a recognised qualification.

There are still many coaches who have no recognised qualifications but have been practising for so long that their experience alone gives them credibility and integrity. In these cases, ask for testimonials from clients or ask if it is possible to speak to previous clients about their experiences.

I should say at this point that there is no risk of harm or injury by going to someone who has had no relevant training – indeed you may find that their approach is the absolute best for unlocking your potential and helping you move forward.

But, it is in your interests to spend your money wisely; there is little point paying for someone who may not get you the results you expect.

At least with some training behind them, you can expect a certain level of quality and use the reputation of the training organisation as the basis for your trust of their performance.

Value For Money: Do not assume that the most expensive coach is the best. There are some great coaches who, due to their target client base, offer great value for money. When you are contacting the various coaches to see which one appeals to you most, remember to ask their charging structure and the average amount of sessions required.

Many will offer blocks of sessions as a package – this is a good option if you have a particular budget that you want to use.

If this is offered, you should be able to expect this number of sessions to provide you with enough to start making significant changes to your life.

Some may then offer review or ‘maintenance’ sessions but these should be ad-hoc and on an as needed basis.Individual sessions should always be available to you, but, as noted above, you should still go into the session committed to completing the actions agreed.

If you do not think you have the motivation to complete the actions without some type of check (in the guise of another coaching session) then it is best to book at least two initially. It is also advisable that these are booked together, rather than booking another session at the end of the first.

The reason for this is simple; it is the coach’s job to make sure you feel empowered and motivated at the end of the session, to go and do the actions agreed.

This may mean that you feel so energised that you don’t feel the need to get any more sessions and so you don’t book.

Then, you go back to your current reality and, as they say, life gets in the way and you forget to do the actions, or they somehow do not seem so achievable any more.

What can also happen is that you are motivated and more than capable of maintaining your own progress but through the session you connect the coach with your ability to perform well.

In this case, you are scared to leave the ‘protection’ of the coaching relationship so you immediately book another session.

This may be fine for the first few sessions, but eventually the coach should be working on getting you to create your own momentum and in this case, your re-booking is a sign that you have not taken on the responsibility yourself – you have given it to the coaching relationship.

The majority of coaches know of this risk and will look out for it but it is something you should be aware of, so you can recognise it in yourself as well.There are a number of coaches who also provide coaching via a monthly retainer – for this payment you receive a certain amount of sessions per month and also contact with your coach on an ongoing basis.

This type of coaching is much more designed around those who see a fairly long, ongoing coaching relationship being required – an example may be someone who recognises the impact coaching could have to a number of areas in their life and so they are aware that the whole process could take a while.

If this idea appeals to you, make sure you understand what the retainer entitles you to and also how any refunds or changes to circumstances would be dealt with.Beginning to work with a coach is a rewarding and exciting experience.

You can make some truly amazing differences to your behaviour and thinking within weeks. It is an empowering relationship that can reap significant rewards and help you begin the next phase of your life’s journey, so take some time initially to choose the right one for you.

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Author: Lee LamArticle


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