In my last post we talked about the many choices of coaching approaches, areas of expertise, personality and coaching style. It is now time to analyze a potential coach from the perspective of how their areas of expertise align with your needs and your “gut feeling” of their overall fit for your coaching journey. The same analysis applies if you are choosing a coach for yourself or for someone else.
You may remember in my last post that I provided some examples of different types of coaches:
It may appear easy to look at this list and determine if the coaches you are considering fit into the area of expertise that is most beneficial to your coaching journey. I challenge you to look deeper into the background of each coach and verify that it aligns with your needs. Coaching is an expanding industry and you want to ensure that the coach you choose has a solid background in the area that aligns with your coaching needs. For example, I specialize in leadership, performance improvement and overall business coaching primarily within organizations. My website, background and resume reflect experience that aligns within these areas of expertise. This helps the coaching participant and myself make a determination about whether their coaching goals are aligned with my areas of expertise. If someone asks for coaching in an area that is not my focus I have a responsibility as a coach to let them know they should research other coaches. Be cautious about a coach who accepts coaching engagements outside of their area of expertise unless there is a very good explanation for why they feel they can help you. A successful, credible coach will readily refer you elsewhere if they are not a fit for your needs. If you feel the coach is interviewing you as much as you are them, that can be a hint that you have a coach that understands that your needs must align with their coaching approach.
Engaging a coach for yourself or someone else has a subjective element to it and you should trust your “gut feeling” when you decide who to work with as a coach. Until the coaching actually begins you simply will not know how well your needs are aligned with their approach and background. It can take some time to identify whether the partnership is going to help you achieve your goals. Make sure that you understand the parameters of your coaching agreement or contract. This is another area that you should understand thoroughly and also provides insight into the coach’s philosophy. My focus after 15 years of coaching is to ensure that my collaboration with the coaching participant will help them achieve their goals. On the very rare occasion I have felt their needs do not align with my area of expertise, I have recommended that we look at other coaches. Be careful of coaches who are not willing to recognize the “fit” or lack thereof and simply want the work.
Good luck in choosing your coach!
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