3 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Life or Business Coach

Hiring a life or business coach shouldn’t be done without careful consideration. It’s an emotional and financial commitment. Questions to Hire a CoachBefore jumping into this relationship, you’ll want to find the right coach. Someone with professional training, a proven background, and skills that fit your goals.

The Process

Before you hire a coach, you should interview a few different coaches. Finding the professional coach that best fits your needs is key to a successful coaching relationship. Most coaches offer a complimentary consultation so you can learn more about them and their process before making a commitment.

In addition to the questions below, consider the chemistry you feel with each coach.  The effectiveness of coaching is in large part based on the relationship you have with your coach.  Your coach will motivate you and hold you accountable; it’s hard to do that with someone you don’t like or respect.

Questions to Ask a Prospective Coach

1.      What are your credentials?

Most people aren’t aware that professional coaching is an unregulated industry.  This means that anyone–yes, anyone–can claim they are a coach, making the industry susceptible to a wide range of challenges.  There is only one governing entity for coaches: The International Coach Federation (ICF). The ICF accredits institutions that teach coaching skills and certifies practitioners based on training and experience.

When the prospective coach shares their credentials, ask if their training came from an ICF-accredited institution. Credentialing shows that an individual has been certified as a professional coach.  According to the Harvard Business Review (January 2009), another factor to consider when engaging a coach is their psychological training; the connection between formal training as a psychologist and business insight is the most important factor in successful coaching.

2.      What are your talents and strengths?

Ask each coach about their talents and strengths. Great coaches are self-aware and understand how to leverage their own strengths to benefit their clients. You’ll want to know whether the potential coach has ever owned a business (more importantly, a successful business) other than their coaching business. Does a life coach practice what they preach when it comes to offering solutions for work-life balance?  It is important that coaches know how to manage their own lives and business before offering recommendations on behavioral changes for others.

You should also inquire as to what areas they specialize in. There are many specialties a coach may list including:

  • Executive Coach
  • Business Coach
  • Teen Coach
  • Life Coach
  • Leadership Development
  • Stress Management
  • Time Management

If you hire a coach who doesn’t feel comfortable with your needs, you’re wasting valuable time and money.

3.      Is there a long-term contract?

It takes time to identify goals, determine options, and implement plans. However, you should be able to tell if progress is being made within the first couple of months.  Being locked into a long-term contract for six or twelve months may indicate that the coach feels the need to lock their clients in. You should have the freedom to shift gears and reconsider your commitment without feeling stuck.

A Few Final Thoughts

Steer clear of coaches who make promises that seem too good to be true or promise results. Also, be wary of those who claim to be a business coach just because they helped someone else with their business or operated a business in the past.  Achievement of success is a key element in looking to hire a coach.  But more than that, a coach must know how to coach.  Just because a person achieved their own results doesn’t mean they can coach you on how to do the same.  Doing and coaching are two different matters.

Working with a coach is challenging. It’s a partnership and you must put time and effort in beyond the time spent with your coach. Coaches can’t guarantee outcomes since they can’t guarantee your commitment and effort. Be aware though, that it is tempting to get frustrated when things get hard. If you’re ready to work with a professional coach with actual coaching credentials and experience, click here to schedule your appointment. I’d love to help you start your journey forward.

About the author

Robin Lavitch, MA, CPC, is the founder of Surpass Your Goals, a coaching practice for entrepreneurs, executives, tweens, school administrators, and more. Her capacity to connect with audiences, elicit thought-provoking ideas and clarify personal ambitions prepares people to apply that knowledge instantaneously to accelerate their own results in leadership, sales, and time management.

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