3 things you need to know BEFORE you start working with a coach

If you are interested in working with a coach, I’d like to share 3 things for you to consider. I’ve been a career development coach for close to 20 years and a business coach for 10 years. Working with a qualified coach means you are going to make a financial investment in preparing for your future. It means the coach you work with has to be a person whose vision and passion aligns with yours. 

Here are 3 things to consider.

What are their qualifications and how long have they been coaching people?

When I began coaching people in 2001 there were only a few of us outside the academic arena who were coaches. I received my coaching certification so I could offer it as an option to clients who used my human resource consulting business.

After I’d been in business for ten years, people started asking me what I did to create and maintain my successful business. They were people looking to leave the corporate world and start their own business.  

A few years later, I closed my human resource consulting practice and began career and business coaching full time. 

I still love helping companies with their training and development needs and public speaking is one of my favorite things to do. I am a blogger and have a YouTube channel. I never met a camera I didn’t like. My main focus is helping folks make their dreams come true, just like I did with mine. In other words I have been there and I have done that

There are some online programs that will certify you as a “coach” in as little as 5 hours of classroom training. That means you get a sheet of paper signed by your instructor and it tells the world you are a coach. The only requirement is that you have “a passion” for what you’re doing and score seventy percent or higher on a test that covers the material you learned. 

What is their process? How do they work with you?

It’s important you come prepared with a list of questions. 

The purpose of working with a coach, regardless of the discipline, is for you to reach a goal or implement a plan.  It’s that simple. What’s not simple is the “how.”

Every coach has a different way of helping their clients. I help you find out where some of the bottle necks and road blocks are and then guide you in creating strategies to overcome them. I am straight forward and honest with my clients. I ask my clients to take two behavioral assessments before we start working together. This helps me get an idea of how to communicate with them. I rarely take notes. I may write on a chart or white board if something they say strikes a chord with me. Mostly, I am a story teller and most of my examples come from things that happened to me during the course of my life and career. 

My coaching sessions are long conversations punctuated with questions and answers. The highest compliment anyone ever paid me was a client who said the best thing I did for him was to cause him to look at himself and his actions. When we began working together he was a high school graduate and in a low level job for over 17 years. Today, he is the vice president of mid-sized company and has a master degree in business administration. When he looked at himself he saw what he needed to do to reach his goals. As the saying goes, “It was simple, it just wasn’t easy.” That realization came through a process of self exploration and creating strategies.

Read the fine print. 

Every coach has their own set of do’s and don’ts. It’s important that you understand and agree to them BEFORE you begin the coaching relationship and what is required of both you and your coach. 

Do they have a cancellation policy? 

What are the ground rules about contacting your coach between session. 

What is their fee and how do they expect you to pay them? In a lump sum, or in installments?

These are all questions you should receive answers to so you understand what’s expected of you and your coach and by no means are they all the questions you should be asking. 

The most important thing for you as a client to consider is your personal level of comfort with the coach and their style. When you create a a productive relationship, amazing things can occur, for you and your coach. A good coach should support you, guide you, and teach you. 

Hope this helps and Happy Holidays to all of you. 

If you’d like more information or have a question about coaching you can contact me through my web site

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