So, you’d like to have some coaching? A simple Google search for, “How to choose a coach” shows multiple results, pretty websites, and nice pictures of people – all very positive, smiling and happy. How do you choose? Do you look at age? Education? Experience? Are there so many coaches that you can’t choose and so don’t even start the coaching process? All of the above can easily be true. In this blog I will provide a structure which can be helpful in the choosing process. It’s not the only method, but it can be one of the ways.
Age and gender. Do you feel more comfortable with younger or older people? Once you know, do you want comfort in the coaching process or more of a challenge? Same goes for gender. Check for your bias towards men, women and different age categories. Comfort can be the easy way, but it’s not always the most effective one.
Coaching qualification. Personally I advocate for having the proper knowledge. Yes, there are many talented amazing people calling themselves coaches without ever studying coaching, but the body of research grows, the profession develops, and new insights help making coaching process more and more successful.
Examples of coaching qualification(s) can be:
ICF, International Coach Federation - one of the bigger bodies which is certifying coaches. It has good criteria, but it’s pricey to get certified there, meaning an ICF certified coach can potentially be charging more.
Association for Coaching is another body certifying coaches. It has strict requirements to education and amount of practise hours a coach should have
A University degree, or an official study programme on an undergraduate or graduate level is a good option as well. Those programmes usually require certain amount of study and coaching hours.
Be aware, that you can check whether a coach belongs to a federation or association, by asking a coach to provide proof (for example, ICF gives every member a unique number), or a certificate/ degree confirmation.
Sometimes coaches go for shorter courses, which is great for continuous development, but my personal opinion - are not enough.
All official programmes require certain amount of coaching hours, feedback forms, supervision by an experienced coach, compliance to the code of ethics, and a serious amount of study hours.
Years of practice. Do you want a coach with a lot of experience? Or do you want a “fresh” coach? Think about both sides of the coin in each case (is the more experienced coach still as passionate and curious as 20 years ago? Is the younger one knowledgeable and skilled enough?)
Coaching practice. All the different coaches have all the different styles. Some are more structured and challenging, others more co-active and some are spiritual. If you know you’re chaotic, would you choose a structured (challenging model) approach or a more co-active one? The choice is yours, and it depends on your goal. Different questions can be addressed with the help of different coaches. By the way, desire to find your next goal is also a good goal ☺.
Your gut feeling. You know the saying “if it feels wrong, it’s probably wrong”? Same works the other way around. If it feels right, then it’s probably worth exploring. We’re all biased. For example, we’re used to the older generations teaching the younger ones; but what if you as a senior executive feel that cooperation with a young graduate excites you? The answer is – go for it. Same goes for gender and any other characteristics we all have definitely developed (think foreigners, social position, the car one drives). What if you as a young graduate, trying to choose a career path, feel that cooperation with an older, serious coach just works? Regardless of what your friends tell you – go with it.
I will be exploring bias in my further posts, and for now – good coaching everyone!