What to Look For in a Coach...
Exploring all the goodness that coaching creates is awesome, but in order to experience it all, you actually need to find a coach. There are so many of us out in the world, it can be a difficult choice. To aid you in your quest, I'll let you in on a few of the things I look for (yes, I have a coach too -- all great coaches have a coach!), as well as some input from others I've spoken to.
Probably one of the most sought-after traits -- in any connection, let alone coaching -- is authenticity. While there isn't some kind of fool-proof way to measure whether someone is being authentic and true, we generally have an intuitive sense about it.
Authenticity allows us to see a person for who they truly are, and that's a beautiful gift to give the world. When you're looking for a coach, finding one who has an authenticity and relatability that speaks to you is key. One of the best ways to assess authenticity for yourself is if your prospective coach uses video to communicate their value. Pictures are wonderful, but nothing beats video for conveying a real sense of who you are. Watch videos, read testimonials, go listen to them speak if you can; all of these can give you a better picture of who that coach is, and if you relate to them well.
This isn't a measure of value created in comparison to others -- as it's said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Rather, it's a measure of how much value you feel a potential coach can help you invite into your own life. If you're a member of a coach's target niche, their voice likely speaks to you strongly and powerfully. This is a good sign that they can help you create value.
The next consideration is what your potential coach offers for services. Do they offer one-on-one sessions, programs, workshops, or books? Do they conduct meetings in-person, or do they limit sessions to online/phone interaction? Assessing all these can be helpful, because if you're adamant about meeting in-person for one-on-one sessions, and one or both of those things aren't offered by a prospective coach, you may find creating and inviting that value more difficult; not impossible, by any means -- just a little more adversity.
You may not be able to find every variable to your exact liking, but the more aligned your wants with the prospective coach's offerings, the better likelihood of creating positive value. Coaches exist to serve, contribute, and create value. Ultimately, the value a coach can help you create, and how aligned their services are with your vision, is decided by you.
Willing to Challenge You
All great coaches know how to challenge their clients. And when I say 'challenge' I don't mean in a confrontational way. Instead, that challenge takes the form of creating awareness (of yourself or a situation), and an acceptance of making changes in order to overcome limitation. Are you someone who needs a gentle nudge, or more of a push to get moving forward? A good coach learns this about you, and creates accountability by employing the best method to help you forge ahead and succeed.
Knowing a coach is capable of doing this actually requires you to work together, yes, but you can get a sense of a coach's willingness to do so in a consultation. If they're unwilling to challenge their clients in a positive way, or employ only a single method of doing so, they may not be the right coach for you.
In my mind, this is the paramount concern when deciding on a coach. It actually encompasses all the above concepts, and so many more. I like to tell others that I can be the 'best' coach, and you can be the 'best' client, but that doesn't mean we're going to have the most success together. 'Fit' is one of those intangible qualities that really only can be discovered by conversation. An initial consultation reveals a lot, and it's why I require it for any potential partnership. You can learn so much about a potential coach's authenticity, relatability, and presence through videos and testimonials, and get an idea of the value they can help you create by how much you align with the services they offer. To understand your 'fit', though, you've got to have a direct conversation. Feel a great connection, and a spark at the idea of what you can do together? Pretty good likelihood you've found the right coach to help you.
These concepts only scratch the surface of what's involved in finding the right coach for you. When a coach speaks to you through their writing, or literally through their video content, do your research. Learn about them ahead of time, and get a feel for how aligned their services and offerings are with your vision. Then, take them up on a free consultation -- if they offer it -- to have a direct conversation and opportunity for connection. Great coaches for all of us exist out there, and there's a good bet if you look -- even a little -- an amazing coach is already looking for you.