Why Do You Want a Coach?
This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself. Your reason for seeking a coaching relationship is key to finding a life coach that works for you. The clearer that you are around why you want to receive coaching, the more fruitful your search will be.
Think about the areas of your life that you’d like to change. Are you seeking a new career? Do you want more self-confidence? Better health habits? Or just a general feeling of stuckness?
There are coaches who specialise in everything from career, business, and entrepreneurship, to relationships, health, and wellness, and it is the type of changes you want to make that will help determine which coach you choose.
What is more important to you in a coach?
Okay so you’ve spent some time thinking about why you want coaching, great start! But what about what you’re looking for in a coach? Spending some time asking yourself what qualities, skills, experience or coaching approach you would like from a coach will really help you to sort through the vast options that are available to you, and hone in on the coach that’s right.
Many people prefer one sex over another for various reasons. Some might prefer an older, more experienced person rather than someone that is fresh out of education. Are you looking for someone with particular skills and experience, such as the ability to coach you in French or Italian? Would you prefer to work with your coach in person, or remotely via phone or video call to avoid time spent travelling?
Map the myriad of qualities and practicalities that might suit you best and distil them into a list. A sort of coaching wish list as it were!
Cast your net wide
There really is nothing quite like the recommendation, or valued perspective of those that you know personally. Ask your friends, family, and work colleagues if they have worked with a coach or if they know someone who has, and how their experience was. With the tangible and profound change that coaching can bring about, you will often find those that have had great results will be keen to share.
Although you might not have the same needs or requirements as people you know, this can be a great place to initially start looking for a coach. Coaches also tend to be very altruistic in nature and will often recommend their colleagues, if they’re not the right fit for you themselves.
Consider using directories
Coaching directories can be a brilliant resource for finding a coach. They provide a catalog of coaches for you to peruse, and moreover allow you to define your search based on factors like location, experience or qualifications. You can also read reviews left by coaching clients to really get a feel for the impact that a coach has had with previous coachees.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has a searchable directory with thousands of ICF-qualified coaches worldwide; similarly, the Association for Coaching has an online member directory. Other reputable coaching directory sites include the Life Coach Directory and the Trusted Coach Directory, as well as our very own searchable directory of Animas-trained coaches.
Check a coach’s qualifications
As coaching is an unregulated industry, (though most agree that it is actually self-regulated fairly well) anyone can call themselves a coach without having any coach training. And yet while there are indisputably great coaches who don’t have any formal qualifications; they’re more likely to be the exception rather than the norm. Various training and educational programmes, and licensing organisations aim to regulate and certify coaches and be sure they adhere to certain professional standards of contact.
Ultimately, whilst a coach doesn’t need to ‘qualify’ as a coach, there is something to be said for those that choose to receive coach training, both in regard to their mindset of wanting to be the best coach they can be, and the valuable skills and tools learned whilst studying. The rigorous assessment required by certain training schools also means that qualified coaches have demonstrated a proven coaching ability.
The ICF is the most widely recognised and reputable accrediting body that upholds standards in the coaching industry – the gold standard of coaching as it were – and accredit both coaching programmes and individual coaches. The Animas coaching course for example, is accredited by both the ICF and the Association of Coaching.
Get to know your coach
Okay, so you have found a coach that feels promising. But are they really the one? The best way to find out is to get to know your coach.
Well, in addition to informational websites or brochures, most coaches offer free consultations, giving you the opportunity to speak with the coach and really get a feel for the dynamic between you. These are usually offered by telephone or video call and can run anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more. Use this time to ask questions to see if they’re a good fit for you before you sign up for a coaching programme.
Some things you might consider: Can you imagine yourself working with this person? Do you have a synergy — that indescribable know-it-when-you-feel-it quality — with them? Do your personalities mesh or clash with one another? Remember that you don’t have to love your coach or have them be your best friend, but you do need to feel comfortable and safe with them, so that you can speak honestly with each other, and they can move you in a direction of growth. Keep in mind that you may need to speak to several coaches before you find someone who is the best fit for you.
understand what’s expected from a coaching relationship
This is an important precursor to your coaching as it will help both you and your coach to establish clarity in how the relationship will work moving forward, and should also help to confirm that you have made the right choice, as you excitedly look towards the journey of growth that lies ahead! A good, competent coach should be able to confidently guide you through setting up details of the working arrangement.
We hope you find this article useful when considering how to find a life coach!