My top tips for choosing a Coach

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December 27, 2017
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My top tips for choosing a Coach

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Having a coach at any point in your career can be hugely rewarding.  Spending quality time away from your desk, enables you to focus on goals, your leadership development and provides greater clarity of thought.  It can be enlightening to focus on your strengths, examine how you live your values and consider what may be holding you back from achieving your goals.  So, when choosing a coach here are a few points to consider:

Look at their credentials.  Do they have formal training?  Is it in life-coaching, executive coaching, NLP?  Some coaches will have specialisms; Resilience coaching, business growth coaching, returning to work after maternity/paternity leave. So make sure they meet your needs.

Discuss the range of tools and models they can bring to the coaching relationship.  What approaches will they use and how might they help you to achieve your goals.

It is also tempting to look for a coach that understands your business sector however a coach’s role is to explore and empower not to tell you what to do.  So, do look at a coach’s experience and reassure yourself of their credibility but don’t feel they need to know your industry as well as you do.

Can you work with them? To gain the most out of the coaching experience you must be able to talk openly with your coach.  This can be hard and many people will take a while to feel comfortable in sharing their personal experiences, fears and dreams.   It is therefore important that you have a rapport with your coach and trust that they will be non-judgemental.  Most importantly, it’s vital you know that everything you say will be kept confidential.  If your company is paying, you may be concerned about how much will be shared.  However a good coach will come to an agreement with you and, if necessary, the commissioning manager, about what will be shared.  My approach tends to be that the person being coached reports back to the company about what they are gaining from the relationship, not me.  Always ask your coach to explain their agreement on confidentiality.

Good coaches will provide a free ‘compatibility session’ before you commit to a long-term relationship.

Understand the coach’s approach and process.   A good coach will have a process that they follow and can take you through their coaching philosophy. They will be able to take you through their approach to coaching, the variety of techniques they may bring to the conversation and the models they use.  This will provide you with an understanding of the variety of techniques they may use for you to achieve clarity on your goals, greater self-awareness and how this can be transferred to your work.

How will you measure progress?  You and your coach will want to see change and results from your time together.  They may have an assessment tool they use or may be able to work with one provided by your company.  The key to this is to ensure it’s completed at the beginning and end of the programme to show your growth.  I recommend a 360o assessment. This could be gathered using the coach’s own format, an established online assessment or by the coach talking to several colleagues before and after the coaching relationship.  Perception is reality, so it’s good to gain feedback from those around you.

Think relationship not quick fix.  Clear next actions on a topic can be achieved with a 60-minute session.  In my time as a corporate leader I would often do a quick 10-minute informal session to move a team member forward in a task.  However, real change in behaviour cannot be achieved in one or two sessions.  Coaching is a catalyst to achieving long lasting leadership development.  Talk through what your objectives are and agree the time commitment needed to achieve them.

If you are ready to have a no obligation chat, get in contact with Andrea here.

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