For whatever reason, you decide to use the support of a coach. It doesn’t matter if it’s for achieving more assertiveness in the office, avoiding toxic relationships, or becoming more productive, efficient and growing your business.
Whether you’re looking for a life coach or an executive coach, the first rule is time. Give yourself the time to understand your needs and explore your possibilities. Don’t rush it: because finding both a good coach and finding the right coach, like many other things in life, will most likely take a little bit of time. When I look at the occasions I’ve searched for meaningful support I’d say it's typically taken me 3 or 4 attempts to get it right. But believe you me, it's been worth it.
Many people ask me what’s the biggest secret they should learn when searching for a coach? it’s not just about the “feeling”. Of course, the perfect coach must meet your needs and navigate that path for you to make change happen.
But I’d say there are 10 indispensable and imperative factors to consider in order maximise the value of your coaching relationship
One of the main benefits you’ll gain from your coaching journey is raising your self-awareness. So, make sure your coach is both promoting it and living by it. After a couple of meetings, ask yourself if you’re genuinely discovering things about yourself that you’d never imagined. And if the answer is ‘yes’, then you’re on the right path!!
#2 Support & Challenge
By its very nature coaching needs to be both challenging and demanding, but also supportive and nurturing. It's not always easy to strike the balance, so make sure your coach is able to do both. Ask what your boundaries are that you’d like to have pushed and what exactly you need when being encouraged and pulled. And when you discuss this with your prospective coach also listen to your body too, as this is the best way to gauge your unconscious choice!
#3 Strengths, Values and Purpose
Your ideal coach should help you clarify what are your core values, your key strengths and your higher purpose. But don’t be shy to ask the same of them. A relationship where these essential elements are aligned will always run more smoothly, especially when the road gets bumpy. Which, if there’s challenge and accountability, it ought to from time to time.
A quality, professional coach will provide a structured development process that enables the establishment of objectives, their examination and their achievement in a clear, transparent, replicable way. This means you’ll truly learn from the process itself. And with time, will be able to grow and thrive without needing ongoing support.
Broadening and expanding your own perspectives is crucial to promoting personal and professional change. Is this coach someone who has the ability to really shift your point of view, really expand your horizons and really shake up your outlook?
Otherwise it's the same mind set solving the same problems which pretty much always ends up with the same tiring results which got us here in the first place.
#6 Intellectual Prowess
Theory alone isn’t enough, especially when being coached. An effective coach should share with you the best knowledge out there, but I’d say what's more important still is whether they will truly support you bringing that knowledge, that cleverness into your daily life. To my mind that’s where the genius really starts!
Transparency, honesty and of course confidentiality are vital elements of your coach-client relationship. Trust is a key component of successful coaching and its power can only be fully harnessed when it's present. It’s a great litmus test to ask yourself how you might feel sharing your darkest moments or inner thoughts with this person? If you’re afraid to be vulnerable or holding back it's probably not going to work.
#8 Reflective Glass
There’s a great saying in coaching circles that successful coaching serves you like a “magic mirror or a reflective glass”. With the right person, coaching will provide a new image of you, both to yourself and the people around you. Your family, friends, colleagues and community. If you’re coach is worth his or her weight – the after a few sessions, you simply won’t recognise yourself!! And I mean that in a good way
Few people like blind dates - while the non-disclosure and waiting may be exciting, most of us prefer a degree of certainty. Similarly, when it comes to coaching, we need to be reassured our money is well-spent. So, in your research to find your perfect coach, don’t overlook this key step. Verify they have a proven record of success. Ask for testimonials, feedback reports or even the contact details of previous clients. Just as you would if you were buying a car!! Oftentimes a good coach will offer a complimentary test drive so you can feel how it might work.
Accountability & responsibility are fundamental to every coaching relationship. You must require them of your coach. If you coach isn’t there to kick your lazy ass on the days you just don’t feel like it, who else will? If you’re coach isn’t there to celebrate your successes, who else will?!…. If you want real results, it's pretty simple - you have to get responsible & get accountable.
When all these 10 major traits, major factors are in order, only then does that je ne sais quoi - the chemistry - become relevant. So, my advice is to get religious on your process of choice. And ultimately make sure your coach shares that same vision of how you want to approach your coaching relationship, what you truly want out of that relationship, and most importantly of all, how to make that change happen.
Yes, by my nature I’m an optimist, but I believe that each of us can find exactly the right quality coach, perfectly tailored to meet our needs. We just need to get out there and start looking!
Best of luck with your quest for personal transformation!