Top Things to Consider in a Sea of Coaches
I was recently walking to meet a couple of colleagues for dinner one sunny, ocean-fresh evening in Victoria, BC. In front of me walking the sidewalk were two people talking about career options.
One says, “with your background why not go back to school to become an executive coach?”.
The other responds, “why the hell would I do that? There are thousands of coaches out there.”
She’s right, there are thousands of coach practitioners around the world, counted at 53,300 in a 2016 report issued by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Price Waterhouse Cooper. That doesn’t include other coaches from alternative institutions. The same can be said for practitioners in other kinds of disciplines too.
How do you swim through those thousands of coaches to choose one to partner with?
As an ICF-accredited leadership coach who has partnered many talented and effective coaches I can say we’re not all created equal. We don’t all practice in the same areas or the same lived experiences to bring to our practices. Many of us declare different philosophies and specialized areas. We each have varied ways we might respond to the ROI question with clients based on our contributions. We’re diverse, and that’s a good thing because all of you out there are too and pairing well is foundational to a successful coaching partnership.
Determining if coaching is right for you is half the equation.
If you’re interested in coaching, here are some admittedly overly simplified distinctions between coaching, mentoring and therapy.
- Coaching is about empowering you to move from where you are today to achieving your desired future state.
- Mentoring is directive and advice-driven.
- Therapy is about deep healing from past traumas and pain-points.
Depending on where you’re at and needing to go, any combination of these can be of high value. I have immersed in all three at various points in my personal and professional paths and continue to. It is also my ethical duty to be grounded and whole to offer my best self on behalf of my coaching clients.
The other half of the equation comes down to asking the right questions to find the right partner for you.
If you decide to look into a coaching partnership, here are five things to consider to help guide your choice:
1. Get referrals. Ask members of your personal and professional communities about coaches they’ve worked with who they might recommend and for what reasons.
2. Identify what kind of coach you’re looking for. To find ICF-accredited coaches there is a service on the ICF website to help you find a coach from around the globe. There are filters to customize your search and plenty of options to suit individual needs.
You can also search for coaching categories more broadly online such as business coaching, executive and leadership coaching, team coaching, life coaching, career coaching, whatever niche it is you’re keen to explore. Check out their websites, and ask to talk to the ones that light your fire!
3. If you’re feeling unsure about proceeding with a coach, meet with one or two more. Committing to coaching is an investment of time, energy and money, with a desire for shifts and changes at the end of it. It’s important to feel a sense of “fit” with who you partner.
Many coaches will commit to a first conversation at no charge so you can learn about one another (and yes, Fervor is one of those).
4. Get curious to inform your choice. Ask your potential coaching partner questions to help determine if they’re right for you. Here are a few thought-starters:
- Are they accredited by a credible institution with strong ratings and operating under or a clear, visible Code of Ethics?
- What experience do they have in the area(s) you’re wanting to be coached in?
- How might they characterize their unique style, approach and abilities (and do those align for you?)?
- What do their clients have to say about working with them?
- What cost arrangement do they offer and does it meet with your needs? Coaching isn’t inexpensive, however there are ranges out there based on qualifications and experience which enable us to meet with varying needs.
5. During and after conversation with a coach, check-in with yourself. How do you feel in your head, heart and gut, and what are those messages telling you that can inform your choice?
Practicing what I preach means you can ask me about a no charge, no expectation discovery call to see if coaching with Fervor is right for you. I also have an incredible, trusted network of coaches specializing in a diverse range of practice areas in my community around the globe. I’m thrilled to refer them too once I understand more about what you need.
Over to you, and may you live and lead with Fervor out there!