Over the past twenty years, coaching has become more widely accepted among individuals, corporations and non-profits. I have several colleagues that are certified professional coaches in just about every segment of work and life. I thought it would be interesting to hear their perspective on what we should really know about the coaching profession and how to pick a coach that is right for us.
Gary Loper is a Business, Life and Social Media Coach and the Founder of Crystal Pathways, Inc. Gary says that people usually contact him because they are looking for help to achieve their dreams and realize they can’t get there by themselves. Gary wants you to make sure you engage a coach that has helped people with similar challenges in the past. Ask for a consultation first so you can “test drive” the relationship just to be sure it is a good connection for you; if not it’s okay to walk away. Decide what is vital to you in establishing a deep relationship with this person. You are potentially going to delve deep into some limiting thoughts, patterns and excuses. You want a coach that can help you build confidence and by building the relationship with them will allow them to guide you.
Finally, Gary notes that coaches can only help those to the level that they are willing to work out their “own stuff”. A coach with a deep pool of resources, such as friends, associates and mentors will be more valuable to you as a client because it is a larger group to gain insights from if needed to help with your challenges. Lastly, make sure the coach you are engaging has the expertise you seek. Don’t try to hire a relationship coach to help you with your finance.
Allen McNeil is a Vice President with Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. Allen says that people usually engage him for help with career development or leadership skills. He wants you to remember you are hiring a coach, not a friend. You need someone with expertise and that will hold you accountable for working on the coaching engagement. When considering a coach, Allen recommends looking for a coach with broad and deep experience in business. Because you need someone that has a depth of business knowledge that can help you address real time career challenges.
Scottie O’Toole is a Senior Manager, Human Resource Development & Certified Professional Co-active Coach. Scottie shares that she is typically engaged when something in someone’s work or personal life isn’t working or they have a dream or goal they are not sure how to attain. Some examples include life balance, starting their own business or improved health and fitness. In a corporate setting, they generally need to develop better leadership, communication or time management skills.
Before you work with a coach, Scottie says to clearly state your goals and understand how the coach works. There is usually a coaching agreement that covers the number of sessions, length of each and duration of the coaching relationship. It’s important to understand how the relationship will work and what you can and cannot expect from the coach. You and the coach will come to an agreement on what those might be.
Finally, Scottie recommends you hire a coach that has been through coaching training and is certified. You want a professional, not someone who is an advice giver. Coaching is about holding the client’s agenda and providing an opportunity for the client to become more self-aware, thus better able to make good choices and decisions.
Executive and Team Coaching:
Diane Bogino is the President of Performance Strategies. Diane is sometimes hired because government regulations require an industry to have their executive team analyzed. Banking is a good example of this. She generally administers assessments to each member of the executive team and conducts one on one debriefing sessions and then provides the coaching as the bank requests. Other times, CEO’s contact her directly as a last ditch effort to save a valued executive’s job.
Diane states a good coaching session typically lasts six months to a year. If you plan to engage a coach, understand that it is a journey. She establishes that the work she and the client do are strictly confidential. The CEO that hires her needs to understand that the coachee is not going to open up if they think after every session she is going to be running to the CEO to share what happened. It’s up to the manager of the coachee to follow up with their employee to see how they are progressing and it’s up to the coachee to report to their manager how the sessions are going. Otherwise, the coaching will not be successful.
Chris Young is the Founder and Thought Leader at The Rainmaker Group, Inc. Chris and his team are usually contacted from a “like minded” executive who uses their services. Usually the client is seeking to improve their effectiveness in terms of how they accept themselves, work with others and lead more effectively.
Before you engage a coach, begin with the end in mind. What are you really looking to get out of the coaching relationship? What do you envision success to look like in six to twelve months? Make sure you hire a coach that can deliver. Ask for references; have they helped others with a similar background? What is their approach/philosophy and so you see it meshing with yours? Finally make sure you are committed to the process and have the potential to believe in the coach. Then set aside the necessary time to engage the coach and do “the work.”
Transformational Life Coaching:
Angelia Hunt is a Transformational Life Coach at AAtHeart. Angela has been trained as a Transformational Life coach which means she assists in a person’s overall growth within specific desire areas. Her specialties are parenting, self-love and life issues that hinder a person from accomplishing a particular goal.
Angela says that anyone who engages a coach should be aware of the two big factors: trust and compatibility. Both the client and coach must trust each other and the process in order to accomplish the agreed-upon coaching plan that will lead to the desired change. The personalities of the client and the coach must work well together, as in any relationship, their communication style, beliefs and agenda must be in alignment.
Regardless of what type of help you are seeking, take the advice from the coaches and do your homework before making your final decision. Coaches want you to be comfortable with your choice. They know when you are comfortable; you will do the necessary work to make the changes you sought them out for in the first place.