How to Find the Right Coach for You

Selecting the right person for the right job is the largest part of coaching.

-Phil Crosby

One of the questions we’re 0ften asked is how someone goes about finding the right coach for them. There’s no shortage of people in the coaching business these days, so it can be overwhelming and confusing. And slick marketing doesn’t necessarily mean there’s value in the product.


Let’s look at six key points to keep in mind if you’re considering a coach:


1. WHY

Setting aside the area of life coaching, let’s assume that what we’re talking about here is business coaching. In general, business coaching is focused on the goals of the business as a whole and its success. Within the realm of business coaching, there are several special areas of focus that will be options for you to consider:

  • Entrepreneurship Coaches- focus on starting a business- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  • Leadership Coaches- focus on improving the effectiveness of anyone in a leadership position.

  • Executive Coaches- are a subset of leadership coaching, and focus on CEO’s, senior leadership team members, and high potential employees.

  • Performance Coaches- focus on challenging excellence and peak performance in a certain area (sales, presentations, customer service, etc.).

  • Team Coaches- focus on driving a team towards a particular goal or completing a project.

It’s important to understand and be clear on ‘why’ you are looking for a coach for yourself or a colleague(s) because that will determine the type of coach that may best fit your needs. One size does not fit all!


2. TRUST

Trusting yourself or a colleague to a coach is a big step. Our first piece of advice is to follow your instincts on this one but also do your homework. The role of the coach is to expose blind spots and challenge their client, so there needs to be a level of trust present to do that effectively.


A referral from a peer is a great way to find a coach because you’ll get an insight into what they’re like to work with from someone you trust. You want to know about their reputation, professionalism, and the non-negotiable of maintaining confidentiality throughout and after the engagement is over.

We’ve had several coaching engagements that from the outside, may have looked like an unlikely fit, but when asked, the Sponsor confirmed it’s ‘because we trust Compass completely with our people’.


3. BUSINESS & ORGANIZATIONAL ACUMEN

Coaching is often about charting a new path forward, closing gaps, and problem-solving. It’s important to understand if your coach candidate has a track record of being a practical problem-solver- so that’s an important question to ask.


Another important factor is whether they have a range of professional experiences that they will bring to each coaching conversation since that diverse perspective is indispensable.


4. VARIED ORGANIZATIONAL EXPERIENCES

The ability of a coach to think systems-wide is important because nothing in the workplace happens in isolation. It‘s a rare coaching engagement that goes exactly the way you envision. They often end up connecting to areas that you might’ve thought irrelevant, so having a range of organizational experience both as a coach and a professional is valuable.

5. LIFE EXPERIENCE

Having ‘been there and done that’ can and often is critical to a successful coaching engagement. The agenda set by a client at the outset might appear to be predictable, but it can often move in professional and personal directions that require a high degree of insight, discretion, empathy, and professionalism from the coach. Those qualities are refined with practice, so having some years of experience behind them only strengthens a coach’s toolbox. Be careful not to confuse certifications with savviness, capability, and results.


6. CHEMISTRY & FIT

Chemistry and fit cannot be overlooked, so take the time to have a conversation or two and ensure that it feels right. You want to find a coach who has a personal pedigree and track record of earning a living coaching, but equally as important has a personality you can connect and feel comfortable with.


"A coach is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear, who has you see what you don't want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be."

-Tom Landry