Finding a Coach

Finding a Coach

Human Resources

How do you find a coach who is just right for you?

Even as little as five years ago, coaching was seen more as a luxury afforded only by senior managers in large corporations. Increasingly, people across the board are seeking professional coaching for all manner of issues. So how do you find a coach who is just right for you?

First of all make sure that coaching is the correct option – not all problems are coach appropriate. Depression, anxiety, deep-seated family issues – these are the realm of psychotherapists. A reputable coach will tell you to seek other options if your needs fall out of the scope of their training.

Ask around. Almost half of clients find their coach through word of mouth, according to the International Coaching Federation. If a coach has worked with and helped somebody you trust, that’s a good place to start.

Look for a certified coach. While South Africa does not yet require certification for a coach most good coaches will belong to a recognised body, either local or international. COMENSA – the Association of Coaches and Mentors South Africa – is a good start.

Be specific about your objectives. Since time is money, be clear on why you’re there. Most coaches have some areas of specialty, either as life coaches, small business coaches, career planning etc. Find one who meets your needs.

Ask how they’ll work with you. Many organisational consultants are expected to provide you with answers without necessarily involving you in the solution. That’s not coaching. A skilled coach will engage you in dialogue, give you a new look at an issue, and ultimately let you decide what’s best.

Look for chemistry. Once you have found a coach you like on paper, have an introductory session. Do you feel comfortable? Coaching is essentially a relationship and you need to feel relaxed enough to have honest conversations about both your strengths and weaknesses.

And in the end, trust your instincts when deciding whether or not the coach truly understands who you are and what you need.