With 20,000+ Coaches To Choose From, How Do You Choose The Right One For You?
There are over 20,000 coaches worldwide, and the field is growing fast. Since there are virtually no barriers to entry in the profession, you have an exceptionally rich field to choose from. If you have the money to invest in a coach for yourself, here are some parameters to use to begin your search.
CHOOSE ACCORDING TO ACADEMIC BACKGROUND.
You may value having a coach with graduate or post-graduate education in a human behavioral field such as an MSW, Ph.D. in Psychology, or M.D., Psychiatry. Or you may want a coach with a degree in your personal career field, such as engineering, or business.
CHOOSE ACCORDING TO QUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION.
A time-honored tradition. There are different ways to receive degrees in academic fields - community colleges, bricks-and-mortar college or university, online,"name" school, (Harvard). You're probably familiar with US News & World Report's annual "best colleges" index:
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/cohome.htm. Want a coach from the "best" school for MBA, Management? Wharton (U. of Pennsylvania) they say. Your coach is a graduate of Carleton College and you're wondering? Check it out. Carleton College is ranked #4 for liberal arts colleges in the US.
CHOOSE ACCORDING TO CREDENTIALS IN COACHING, OR AN OCCUPATIONAL FIELD.
There are hundreds of coach training schools offering various credentials - MCC, Master Certified Coach, from ICF ( www.coachfederation.org ), and cEQc, certified EQ Coach, from EQ Alive! ( www.eqcoach.net ), for example. Or you may want a certified life underwriter, financial analyst, or public accountant.
Feel free to check those credentials out here: http://www.vericoach.com/home.htm .
CHOOSE ACCORDING TO SOME VARIABLE THAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU SUCH AS AGE OR SEX.
Other variables might be religion, marital status, sexual orientation, country, region, lifestyle, race or ethnic background, or languages spoken.
CHOOSE ACCORDING TO ACTUAL EXPERIENCE IN COACHING.
You've heard this one I'm sure: "The good news is, your doctor graduated first in his class. The bad news is, it was last year." Coaching hasn't existed that long, so consider relevant experience in such allied fields as counseling, career coaching, management, training, therapy, nutrition, and HR.
CHOOSE ACCORDING TO PROVEN TRACK RECORD WITH A PARTICULAR ISSUE.
Perhaps you want to lose weight with a coach who's won the battle himself, ot an ADHD coach who has it herself, or an entrepreneur coach with proven success as an entrepreneur.
CHOOSE ACCORDING TO "MUST HAVE"/ "CAN'T STAND" MATRIX.
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left, put "must haves" and on the right, put "can't stands."
Do this after you've done some general research and have an idea what the parameters are. Some "must haves" might be - one-hour sessions, female, and able to coach weekends, actual experience in my career field. "Can't stands" might be - lack of college degree, excessive use of jargon, not available on-call 24/7, and unpleasant phone voice.
CHOOSE ACCORDING TO HOW THEY MAKE YOU FEEL.
After you've done the "homework" and narrowed the field, call some coaches and interview them. How they make you feel will be crucial to the success of the relationship. I think one of the benefits of coaching is the phone, because it eliminates some distracting variables.
When you make the phone call, you have two things to "attend" to - what the coach says, and how she's saying it. You will respond consciously or unconsciously to such things as tone, pitch, loudness, energy level, and self-assuredness.
It's helpful to use the same set of general questions for all of them; that's only fair. Test whether the coach is able to take the lead, by being quiet at times. Listen for prejudices, inability to listen, inability to hear, lack of self-assurance and lack of expertise. Your coach should be able to put you at ease and elicit the best from you, because that's the job of coaching.
Be sure and include open-ended questions which require the coach to talk and to explain things to you, as that will also be part of the job of coaching. Such things as "What makes you a good coach?", "What's the difference between coaching and therapy?", and "If I hire you, how will we monitor my progress?" are three good questions.
A tried and true way to find a good professional is to ask other people! Lots of your friends and colleagues may be using coaches and you never knew it!
CHOOSE BY LOCATION
Most coaching is done by telephone, so you can shop worldwide, but even so, you may prefer to avoid LD charges and choose someone local, or you may want in-person sessions.
USE A REPUTABLE COACH REFERRAL SERVICE.
Here are three:
1. International Coach Federation, http://www.coachfederation.org, which offers an extensive online referral. You submit your proposal and the coaches email you.
2. Premier Coach Referral Service™, http://www.webstrategies.cc/coachreferralservice.htm, where 3 coaches are handpicked for you by a coaching expert with a master's in clinical psychology
3. 24-7 Coaching.com, http://www.247coaching.com, online, you can search for a coach by region and by expertise.
CHOOSE BY RANGE OF SERVICES & PRODUCTS OFFERED
You may want a coach who also provides e-courses, Internet courses, an eZine, eBooks, workbooks, teleclasses , learning labs, articles, and other materials relevant to your projects and personal growth.
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