When hiring a coach, one of the considerations is whether the coach has appropriate experience. An excellent coach will ask about your interest in coaching and if they do not have experience that serves you well, they will refer you to a different coach. Unfortunately, some coaches accept all clients regardless of their experience to provide desired perspective or to even understand the circumstances. When hiring a coach, the savvy client asks about their experience.
Three different types of experience have an impact on coaching excellence: work, life, and training. Start with work experience.
Coaches are often hired as a sounding board, in transition, or to further develop high potential employees. Experience in a similar position or industry ensures the coach understands the circumstances of the client. When a client describes a challenge, a coach with limited work experience struggles to understand and to identify nuances of the situation. Sometimes a coach with extensive experience is jaded and hears with bias. An excellent coach understands the client, recognizes various factors, and effectively serves as a partner to explore possibilities.
When a client is stuck, the experience of the coach ensures the opportunity to provide perspective. Coaches tap their own experience to share examples, similar scenarios, and discuss various approaches.
While it is unnecessary and perhaps extremely difficult to find a coach with exactly the same level and type of experience, the balance is a coach with enough experience with enough similarity to understand the client and open up the thought process through effective questions and perspective. An excellent coach has a level of experience that serves the client effectively.