For many business owners, having made the decision that they’d like some coaching to help them achieve their goals quicker and easier, the next big challenge is to figure out who’s the RIGHT coach for them. Making the decision to work with a coach isn’t one that many clients take lightly, it’s an investment of both money and (perhaps more importantly) time, and you want to feel confident that you’re going to get results.
So here are 7 questions to consider when trying to find the right coach for you:
1. What’s their business and lifestyle like? If you’re going to take advice from someone on how to grow and develop your business, then how they’ve built their own business will give you a key insight into what to expect from working with them. Businesses are as different and individual as their owners, so their model won’t necessarily be what’s right for you, (for example I travel for 12 weeks a year, this wouldn’t be right for many of my clients but the fact I run my own business like that gives them confidence that I can help them comfortably achieve 6 or 8 or 20 weeks a year in their own businesses) You want to respect and admire how they run their business and how they balance their lifestyle. Do they seem clear and confident in their meetings with you? Do you feel they have a work-life balance you might like to emulate? Do they respond to your messages and enquiries promptly? Do they have clear systems and paperwork in place? If so, it stands to reason they can help you get to a similar place.
2. What are their values? This follows on closely from the last point, as their lifestyle will give you the clearest indicator of what their values are, but it’s really important to have a good values-fit with your coach. Your values drive how you interact with the world and how you build your lifestyle, and if there’s a values conflict between you and your coach it will be harder for you to get results. Ascertaining someone’s values is usually an instinctive process rather than an outright question, you can tell a lot from how someone interacts with you, the language they use, the lifestyle they lead and how the run their business, but if you’re unclear then don’t be afraid to ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask them WHY they do what they do, why they became a coach and what drives them. This should give you a good indicator of whether they’ll be a good fit. Not every coach is the right fit for every client. (For the record our values at KayleighAlexandra are: To be open and honest, to act with integrity, to get results, to build relationships, to be passionate about what we do and to believe in and support our clients. If I don’t feel I can uphold ALL of those for a potential client I’ll be the first person to refer them to a different coach who’s better suited for their goals and needs.)
3. How do they work? It’s worth having a think about how that coach likes to work, for many coaches (like us) packages are bespoke to the client and tailored to meet their needs, however some coaches will work in a certain way, with a certain medium and with a set programme. If for example someone only coaches via telephone but you know you’re someone who really gets the most from face to face that’s probably not a great fit. Equally if someone will only work face to face and you’re based an hour’s drive away and your biggest challenge right now is time, then perhaps a coach willing to work via skype/phone would suit you much better. I have clients who excel in a 1:1 environment, and then equally I have clients who get the most benefit from group coaching where they can bounce off the other people in the group too. Have a think about what will work best for you, and then check that the coach is able to accommodate that within their structure. Many coaches will offer a hybrid approach and be able to accommodate your needs.
4. How confident are they about creating results? You always want to be working with a coach who’s confident in their abilities and who feels confident they can create results for you. Do they offer a guarantee? Are they flexible on their contracts? Or are they looking to lock you in for 12 months regardless of whether you feel like you’re getting value from each session as you go? Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying contracts are bad per-se, coaching isn’t an overnight solution it’s a process and takes time, and we as coaches have businesses to run too, I won’t work with anyone who’s not looking to commit to the coaching process for less than 6 months because that in itself shows me they’re serious about getting results, however I always offer a value guarantee; I’m so confident that I deliver massive value and results that if at any time a client didn’t feel that they were getting value from our sessions I’d release them from that contract no questions asked. Equally, if I don’t feel a client’s putting in the work or committing to the coaching process, I reserve the right to terminate that contract early – I have no interest in working with half-hearted clients!
5. How invested do they seem in this relationship? Are they willing to give you some time up front to experience what it’s like to work with them, or is it a quick enquiry call and then straight into a paid contract? Do you feel like they’re taking the time to really get to know you and qualify your goals and challenges to see if they want to work with you and can deliver results, or do you feel like they’re just looking for their next client, any client, to get signed up? If they’re currently working with 50 different clients then they’re probably going to offer a less personal relationship than if they’re only working with say 10 select clients, but equally these two options will probably vary greatly in price, so it comes down to what’s the right solution for you right now.
6. How accessible is their track record? Are they able to put you in touch with existing or previous clients to have a chat about what it’s REALLY like to work with them? Or can they offer case studies and testimonials to show the results they’ve been able to create with other clients facing similar challenges to you? Do you know anyone who’s maybe worked with them in the past you could call for an honest chat about the results they had? I’ve often put prospective clients in touch with existing and previous clients so they can have an honest chat about my style and the results they’ve achieved, this is a great way for someone to find out honestly what it’s like to work with me.
7. Do they have a coach? To be a great coach, you have to believe in the power of coaching and the amazing results it creates. Once you’ve seen and experienced that for yourself, having a coach is a no-brainer, you realise that it just makes you better, it helps you to be a better, stronger version of yourself. If a coach doesn’t invest in a coach themselves, for me that would be a red flag to steer clear.
So those are my key questions for finding the right coach for you. I believe it’s always worth meeting with a couple of different coaches to get a feel for how they each work and differ in their offering. Coaching is a very personal relationship and each coach will approach it differently and bring something unique to the table, so it’s worth meeting with 2 or 3 to see who feels like the right fit for you.
Having said that, once you’ve done that, it’s also important not to get caught in “analysis paralysis” and suddenly find that you’ve lost weeks or even months meeting with hundreds of different coaches, that you could’ve spent moving towards your goals if you’d already made a decision. Coaching is not an exact science and the results you get largely depend on what you, the client, bring to the table. Are you willing to show up fully committed, ready to share and bring your challenges and fears to the table, and prepared to go away from each session taking the learnings and doing the work, if so then you’ll get great results.
The irony with coaching is that the thing that we most want coaching for is often the very thing that makes it difficult for us to make that commitment in the first place. If you’re looking to earn more money, it’ll be a challenge for you to find the money for a coach initially. If you’re looking to have more time and be less “busy,” it’ll be a challenge for you to find the time in your schedule for coaching sessions. If you’re looking for more confidence as a business owner and to be a stronger leader, you may find it difficult to make a decision and trust that you’re making the right one. These are often the excuses that stand in our way but the good news is that if you can recognise this, and take action anyway, you’ll be setting a clear intention to yourself that you’re ready to change these old, limiting beliefs and you’ll be well on your way to creating a change even before you get to your first session!
Coaching is a powerful tool, (obviously I’m highly biased!) but I believe that everybody should have a coach, I’ve seen it create such powerful results for my clients, and equally in my own life. So, get out there, meet with some coaches, ask yourself those 7 questions, and then make your decision. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start living your dreams.
And if you are in the market for some coaching and you’d like to schedule a free 45min coaching call with me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to have a chat.