Coaches are brilliant at making it seem like anything is possible and challenging your way of thinking, this makes them both highly skilled at helping you but also highly skilled at making promises they may not be able to keep.
Despite that coaching is still one of the most effective and powerful ways to make a change in your life.
Here’s a short guide to choosing a coach:
1) Ignore their website – It’s not that their website doesn’t matter, it’s just that it doesn’t always correlate to reality. Some of the best coaches I know have sort of ok websites. Most of the most over hyped coaches I know have AMAZING websites. A good website will soften you up for your conversation with a coach, and even sell you on the person you may become if you work with them.
Sometimes a website is a reflection of the coaches brilliance, sometimes it’s a beautiful artifice for them to hide behind. Look at it, but don’t decide because of it.
2) Pay attention to how they make you feel about yourself – Spend some time talking to a coach so you can tell what working with them will be like. But be careful not to get caught up in their bright, shiny, charm. You need to pay attention to how you feel around them. Just be careful about putting them on a pedestal. If you notice yourself doing this take them down, if you find you can’t it might be a red flag. If you feel a bit like a fan-boy/girl/being that may be a red flag.
We all project greatness onto people we admire, but if you feel like you’re dying for their attention and approval, that’s an indication that you may not be grounded in your choice.
Instead, look for someone who makes you feel inspired, powerful, and connected to your deepest desires. You should admire them, but you shouldn’t be obsessed with them.
3) What are they all about? – Great coaches are about you, your life, and your desires.. They might have a system or process laid out for you to use, but they will design their coaching to what YOU want and need.
Some coaches are very much about themselves, same as any industry. It can be hard to grow with a coach who’s attention isn’t on you, so look for someone who puts their attention on you, your needs, wants, and desires.
4) Do you actually like them? – You should enjoy talking to them. I mean that’s what you’re going to be doing. If you clash, if they feel pushy, if you don’t enjoy them, don’t hire them. They don’t have to be your best friend, but you should generally enjoy who they are and enjoy spending time with them.
5) A little intimidation is good – The best coaches are the ones that you feel a bit nervous around. If you’re nervous they’ll call you out or that you’re not advanced enough to work with them, that’s a good sign. You want to like your coach but you also want to have a healthy respect for their work.
6) Will they push you? – You can find people to agree with you. Those people are called friends. That’s not what a coach does. A coach should challenge your thinking and how you show up in the world. If they don’t push you, you won’t grow.
7) Seeing your blindspots is key – We tend to surround ourselves with people that think like us, and many people hire coaches who think like them. One value of a coach is their different perspective. There should be JUST enough overlap so you can communicate, but also just enough difference that they notice things you miss and provide a different perspective.
8) Ask your gut and ask your friends – My gut often knows who I need to hire even when I have doubts. My friends can help me break the spell of an alluring coach or give me new ways to think about the choice I’m making. Refer to these two data points often.
9) Are you a little scared to invest? – The last thing to consider with a coach is the investment. Some coaches convince you that investing a large sum of money is the ticket to success. It isn’t. But great coaches also charge a healthy fee for what they do.
There are some bargains out there to be found, but most great coaches know their worth. I usually hire coaches who ask me to stretch financially. But stretch isn’t break. The price should challenge you, maybe even a lot, but you shouldn’t have to give them a credit card on the call just to save you from yourself.
Choosing a coach is a personal process. And while I’ve never made a BIG mistake choosing a coach (except for maybe the first one I hired) if you’re thoughtful and willing to listen to your gut you’ll likely make a good choice. It is really about being grounded and taking a risk. Any good coach will be a risk, but because a great coach can have such a profound impact on your life, that risk is usually worth it.