1. Be clear on your objective:
Most coaches have an area of expertise such as: career, entrepreneurs, life, executives, financial, or branding. Match your goal with the coach’s expertise. Ask the coach about their limitations –do they coach clients with your needs?
2. What are the coach’s qualifications?
Is the coach certified and by what training organization?
3. Background and Experience:
Find out what life/work experience the coach has had. Have they been in situations similar to yours? How many clients have they coached, in what industries and with what results?
The fees for coaching vary widely. Be sure to ask about the terms – do you prepay? Is the fee schedule set up by the session, month or program? What is the length of each session? How often will you meet? What if you prepay and decide to discontinue? If the coach uses assessments will there be extra charges? What about travel costs if the coach does not live near you?
5. Test Drive:
Most coaches will offer an initial complimentary session. It is wise to interview at least 3 coaches to help with your selection. Be sure to assess whether their personality aligns with yours.
6. Interview the Coach’s Clients:
Even though coaching is confidential, most coaches have clients that will talk to prospects and share their experience. What were their successes? What did they like and what could have been better? What advice do they have for you?
7. Success Rates:
Find out your expected return on investment. How does the coach measure success? What are some of the coach’s success stories?
8. Finding a Coach:
Word of mouth, online referral services, coaching schools, local chapters of coaching associations and HR departments are ways to find reputable coaches.
9. Face to Face or Virtual:
Decide weather you prefer to coach in person or virtually. Many coaches will do both and offer a combination. Virtual coaching usually consists of phone, email or technology such as Skype.
10. What does the coach do to stay on top of their profession?
How do they stay apprised of industry changes, specialty skills and professional development? How do they apply this to their coaching?
What other tips can you add?
For more resources, see the Library topic Personal and Professional Coaching.