Finding a personal coach, whether you’re looking for a “career” coach, “life” coach, “job” coach or “executive” coach, is similar to finding a new physician. It is a decision you should take seriously.

Consider the following when you begin searching for and deciding on your coach:

Get Referrals

Find a coach who you can trust by asking people who you already trust. Your colleagues and friends have most likely either met or heard of someone worth contacting.

  • Don’t Rush the Decision – Before engaging a coach, take some time to consider:
  • What are your goals for the coaching engagement?
  • What changes do you want to personally make?
  • What other expectations do you have?


Just like choosing a physician, you need to understand the coach’s background, expertise and experience. In addition to credentials and certifications, a prospective coach should be able to share with you key reasons why they are qualified to assist someone in your situation.

Interview your Prospective Coach – Prepare questions to ask in advance of contacting a coach. These questions will depend on what goals and expectations you have set for your coaching engagement. Consider asking questions like:

  • How will I know that this engagement has been successful?
  • What could I learn from this person?

Understand their Coaching Method

Ask your potential coach to explain their coaching method or style. The response should be succinct, direct and make sense to you. If their response tends to wander, uses a lot of buzzwords and leaves you confused, then chances are your coaching experience with them will be similar.

Know the Details

Ask specific questions about fees, the nature of confidentiality, coaching policies as well as the expected duration of the engagement.

Get References

Any qualified coach will gladly share names and contact information of previous clients. Don’t just ask for references, call them. Ask them what impact coaching has had on their careers in the short and long term, if they would do it again and who they would do it with.

Trust Your Gut

Ultimately, a successful and productive coaching engagement is based on intimate communication and trust. Choose someone who you are comfortable with.

Try Before You Buy

If you have a positive feeling about a specific coach, his or her methods and a confidence in attaining your goals, then ask for a free coaching session. Most coaches will offer a free 30 minute session in order for the both of you to test the dynamics of the relationship, but only ask if you are serious about working with him or her.

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