A coach is a professional offering a service and like professionals in many fields, coaches vary widely in their skills, expertise, and service. Choosing the right coach becomes easier with forethought. After a blog post in June, I was asked for more depth on choosing the right coach, hence this series.
Three primary considerations are your reasons for hiring a coach, the background of the coach, and the relationship with the coach.
Before seeking out a coach, consider your own reasons for hiring a coach. What is it you want? Because coaching is often misunderstood, knowing what you want is an indicator of the professional to seek. Are you aware of the differences between a coach, a consultant, a counselor, and a mentor? In short, a consultant analyzes the situation, then develops and presents a plan. A counselor works to understand and resolve issues or problems. A mentor is a voice of experience sharing what they know. A coach is a strategic partner that elicits goals, options, and action steps from you based on the understanding that you are your own best expert.
The first level of what you want determines if a coach is the type of professional that makes sense. The second level of knowing what you want gives direction in finding a coach.
Coaches are broadly sorted in three categories: life, business, and executive. A life coach works with you in all areas of your life with a focus on personal goals. A business coach typically focuses on small and mid-sized businesses. An executive coach serves professionals within larger corporations and emerging leaders. Of course there is cross-over amongst these three areas. In the next blog post you will have the opportunity to dig deeper into types of coaches with coaching niches.