A question I am often asked is “How do I find the best coach for me?”. For any of you who have searched for a life coach or a therapist, it can be very hard to make a decision. There are many qualified people who offer coaching, and there are just as many who are not qualified. This is especially challenging now because life coaching has become very ‘trendy’ in recent years and there are numerous Coach training programs available for would-be coaches. But popularity does not always equate to quality, so how do you know? Here are some tips to help guide you in the process…

  1. Learn more about the training your coach has received. Coaches should let their potential clients know the program or institution where they are trained and certified. Look at your coach’s website, or ask your coach for a link to the websites of the coaching program. A good website will provide an in-depth description of the approach, the requirements for certification, the qualifications of the instructors, resources and testimonials. As a consumer, you can evaluate the rigorous level of the coach training AND, as equally important, whether the approach and philosophy is right for you.
  2. Make sure your coach’s training program has received the highest level of certification given by the industry’s governing body, the International Coach Federation (www.coachfederation.org). This is the best way to ensure the program sets high standards for the graduates.
  3.  Learn more about your coach’s experience, focus and approach. In addition to getting through a program, make sure your coach received certification. Also ensure his/her expertise fits with your needs. Executive coaches may be very skilled at workplace interactions but less so in looking at family dynamics. Conversely, some coaches may understand very little about the corporate world if they have not had experience in that setting.
  4. Ask your coach how he/she continues to develop. This may be receiving coaching themselves, engaging in further training, continued reading, or other activities.
  5. Get some personal recommendations. Word of mouth is often the best strategy for finding good people but not just anybody’s word. Talk to a trusted source (someone you know well) AND do your homework. How well does your coach listen? Is he/she supportive? Empathetic? Is the relationship developmental (guided by mutual conversation and planning) or prescriptive (coach leads, client follows)?

To learn more about my certification experience go to www.newventurewest.com.