9 Things to do When Selecting a Life Coach

By Robert Holmes | coaching

Nov 18

Choosing a coach can be fraught with danger. The industry is full of wild animals: dodgy suppliers and non-accredited coaches roam the wilderness. This is a big investment of time, energy and finances so getting it right is really important. What can you do to carefully select the right provider?

Here are our top nine tips for choosing a great coach.

Transparency. You want to know exactly what you’re getting into. How long is the contract? How do you measure the outcomes? What are the costs? Are you locked in? Can you get a refund if your circumstances change? Make sure the price matches the outcome and your budget.

Authenticity. Is it true that “what you see is what you get”? Do the coach’s claims to ring true. Who wants the hard sell, the desperate upsell or the “over promise-under deliver” service experience?

Fidelity. Does your coach take their own advice? Can you see the fruits of their advice in their own life? What inconsistencies are there? You want your personal trainer to be FIT, your banker to be pound WISE and your teacher to be EDUCATED. Same with your coach.

Testimony. We have to produce two references to land a job right? Coaches are applying to work for you, so ask for 2 referees from your coach! Not just a written rave, but names and numbers of past clients you can talk to.

Reality. You’re after a coach… so make sure you’re not getting a counsellor, consultant, facilitator, mentor or psychologist dressed up as a coach who is trying to expand their share of the work becoming available in this industry.

Education. Anyone can hang a shingle up and call themselves a life coach nowadays. Are they a coach or not? What training have they done? Some schools teach their coaches to use or rely on scripts, but rote learning isn’t really coaching now is it.

Accreditation. Is the coach a member of an industry body like the International Coach Federation (ICF) and are they certified or accredited with anyone? Have you ever heard of it? If not look it up on Google!

Experience. You want specific experience to meet your need. If you’re after coaching for parenting a kid with ADHD that knowledge is pretty important. Along with this we suggest a breadth of knowledge and general experience in life.

Culture. There are a lot of coaching schools out there and at least ten philosophies. What’s the model they’re using? What do they believe about human behaviour, your ability to change and are you a values match with them?


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About the Author

Robert is an expert in the science of human behaviour and performance enhancement with a passion for neurology, leadership and the psychology of potential. He believes it is important to bring hard science to coaching, and that coaching practices be evidence based and research backed. Robert is a founding partner at Frazer, Holmes Coaching and current Director of Brand and Marketing for the International Coach Federation Australasia (ICFA). Robert is a professionally certified coach (PCC) with over 20 years of business experience and an ICF Accredited Mentor Coach. He is an Associate at the National Speaker's Association, a member of the Coaching Psychology interest group at the APS, a certified Action Learning Coach, a Member of the Australian Institute of Management Consultants.