Article provided by Lucienne Shakir, Master Accredited Coach, Founder and CVO of Lucienne Coaching Ltd
Having a coach is like having a handbag, we know it’s easier if we have one but not all handbags match all outfits and purposes.
Unfortunately – finding the right coach for you is not as easy as shopping for a handbag. And that is problematic.
Week in, week out I have people coming to me having made MASSIVE financial blunders investing in a coach that simply isn’t right for them. And that’s because the same coach is not right for everyone. The purpose of this article is to outline some of the surefire ways to understand if a prospective coach is right for YOU.
Understanding what you need; coaching / mentoring or counselling / therapy
There is a big difference. All coaches have one thing in common – their aim is to take you from where you are now and help you make progress forward. Coaches may delve into your history and past experiences, however most will not dwell on the historic reasons for you sitting in the coaching chair. Counselling and therapy focuses more on the past patterns and behaviour in your life that holds you back. So the first question you need to ask yourself when hiring a coach is; do I have unresolved past issues where I need a mental health professional?
And then there is the difference between coaching and mentoring. Some coaching is ‘pure coaching’ which means the space is yours for the coach to hold up a mirror and allow you to reflect internally – their job is not to pollute your space with their strategy or insight. They are guided by you, and will signpost the language you are using and ask what you notice in what you are saying. This type of coaching is explorative and open. Mentors are those who will give you practical, actionable steps to make progress basing that on their experience and the experience of their clients.
Some coaches are a mixture of a coach and mentor (like me) and will weave the approaches into their coaching sessions. As an example – a lot of start up businesses require a bit of both because they need practical support on how to build their business, but also need to be able to explore their mindset and limiting beliefs.
Where all of the above are aligned is that you need to be working towards a goal. It doesn’t matter if you are unclear about your goal when you start – a good coach will help you gain that clarity.
1:1 coaching is an investment. I do not recommend you putting yourself in financial peril by hiring a coach because you think it will solve all of your problems. Work out what budget you have for your personal development and go from there – you can ask yourself a few questions to help you.
How critical is it for you to solve the issues that you have RIGHT NOW? If it is critical you may wish to invest a little more.
Do you work better 1:1 or do you need a community? Or both?
Once you have the answers to the above questions you have some insight into what you need.
Being aware of how to interview a coach
Once you have established the kind of coach you need, the next step is interviewing them. This may consist of discovery calls or zoom meetings where a coach will ask you questions about what you need. During this time it is wise to be writing down the practical actionable steps that the prospective coach is giving you. Whilst it is imperative that you and your coach have great rapport – we can leave discovery calls feeling high on emotion and buying from that high. Take your time and sleep on your decision. Take a look at the practical guidance you were given. Does it make sense one day later?
If you feel, at any point that you are being persuaded into signing up – take this as a sign not to proceed. The decision needs to be yours, without question. Signing up with a coach when you have had your arm twisted, rarely ends well.
The sign of a great coach will be that they ask you pertinent questions to establish if you are the right client for them – and to give you advice on alternative options if you are unable to afford their services, or if your needs are not within their expertise.
Doing your due diligence on testimonials
Once you know what you need, if you can afford it and have spoken with the prospective coach – now is the time to check out their work with other clients. Google reviews are a great place to start. Then head over to LinkedIn. Look at the recommendations and testimonials.
Reach out to a few of those connections in LinkedIn messages and ask; “Hey I am thinking of hiring Lucienne as my coach – what was your experience of working with her?” Some of those people will be open to having a call with you. Chances are if the coaching supported them in living a life they love, they will want to share that journey.
The other factor to consider is that the coaching industry is not accredited. Therefore – checking that coaches have the experience and or the credentials of supoervised hours is imperative. You can ask to see certification of accreditation, which is advisable too.
Documenting your journey
And when you are good to go – don’t forget to document the journey. The steps you take will help you for the rest of your life – and it is difficult to remember where you were before a successful coaching journey.
You need to be able to clearly see where you were when you started and where you are when you finish so that you can celebrate your achievement. You can do this a number of ways – either recording your sessions or keeping a journal. Perhaps your coach writes up client notes. Any of these kept centrally where you can find them to reflect will be invaluable in years to come.
I have spent tens of thousands on coaches, and have plenty of clients coming to me with negative experiences.
Please let me know if you found this useful, and remember to reach out if you need any more info.
About the author
Lucienne is a female empowerment specialist. A personal and professional high performance coach giving frustrated, female professionals a life to love.
She is passionate about guiding women in leadership roles to live their lives without the pressure and stress associated with performing their executive careers with a veneer of perfection.
She also works with organisations where equality is the gold standard. Her long term vision is to improve our corporate infrastructure to ensure parity of voice, diversity and increased performance.
Having lived through intense pressure as a senior leader, she has used her life experience to support the increasing demand for high-level coaching in executive spheres.
Marriage, divorce, nervous breakdown, identity crisis, becoming a mother, male dominated workforces – you name it, she’s probably been there!
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