What You Should Look for When Choosing a Coach

What You Should Look for When Choosing a Coach
June 24, 2014 Linda Murray

Athena Coaching, Linda MurrayNow that you have determined you are in need of a coach, what should you look for? Thinking about what benefits a coach will provide to you and your business (greater insight, clearer direction, stronger accountability), you must ensure that their skill base covers this and more.

Personal business experience

Does your coach have the necessary business experience to do the job? A qualified coach must have a good understanding of a variety of industries and be seen as successful in their own personal career. Having a lucrative business or career is a solid basis from which they can approach their coaching methodology. They can then draw from their own personal experience and be results-focussed, a must have skill for this type of career choice. Allow them to share their skills with your business to help accelerate your own career success.

Relevant academic qualifications

“Coach” is a word which is thrown about with unnecessary abandon so it pays to err on the side of caution and find out exactly what kind of qualifications your coach has. What did they major in at university? Are they an accredited coach? Are they certified in another relevant or specialised field? Continuous learning and education is important for all so if your coach is not qualified or practicing what they preach then it might be time to look for someone who is.

Higher emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is all about being able to express and control one’s emotions as well as to interpret, understand and respond to emotions being demonstrated by others. Emotional intelligence is important on many levels and covers self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. It enables a coach to see how they fit into an organisation and gives them the ability to understand what is happening both within and around them. Coaching can be a stressful position for someone who does not have the emotional integrity to handle the position.


Coaching without clear direction can be very vague. Ask that they are very clear about the whole coaching process and provide further information on how they can help you. Ideally you need to know how far your dollar will stretch and what is expected of you. There should be no murky or grey areas when it comes to the strategies and types of coaching being offered. If there are, ask questions immediately and do not stop until you are satisfied with the approach and the answers given.


A coach is a position of trust and therefore you must make sure that whatever you say to your coach and any feedback which is given is kept and maintained with a high degree of confidentiality. A coach sees and hears many things which others both inside and outside the particular business may not be privy to. The discussions between you and your coach must only be used for the benefit of your coaching and reaching your goals. If no guarantee is given then proceed with caution.

Ability to offer new perspectives

Can they help you see things from a new perspective? If they are not able to open you up to new thought processes, plans, goals and other ways of viewing the situation, then how can you continue to grow and learn? We are the sum of our experiences and it is easy to become locked into the same thought processes and situations time and time again. A coach will do more than ask you what your thoughts are on a specific process, they should be able to provide valuable advice to ensure you can move your career to the next level.

Free initial consultation

All coaches will ultimately have their own style, methodology and core values. A free consultation will help you decide whether a particular coach is the right fit for your business. Understanding your needs and goals and explaining how they are going to help you meet these needs and goals should be number one on their agenda. The initial consultation will allow you to have a greater understanding of the coaching process and how it can ultimately assist you.

Solid testimonials

Any coach worth their weight in gold should be able to have a clear and demonstrated track record by way of testimonials and feedback on their website. Failing that, they should at the very least, be able to provide you individuals to contact who can provide you with such information. Saying that they can coach is one thing; having the ability to be able to prove this with solid examples and positive feedback is another.

A coach is definitely a great investment for you and your business and is not an opportunity to be wasted. Working with a successful professional coach can be a great step forward for you, both personally and professionally, to ensure that you maximise all positive outcomes afforded to you.

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