11 things to ask a coach before you take them on

It’s the like the wild west in the coaching industry, anyone can put up their shingle and claim to be a coach without any training or certification at all.

 

So before you engage with a coach here 11 things to ask:

  1. Biography: Just like a CV this will give you an insight into the coach’s training, experience and style. If nothing in their bio resonates with you they are probably not the right fit.
  2. Training: when was it, and with who. You can check to see if the course is accredited with a recognised body such as Association for Coaching, International Coaching Federation or the European Mentoring and Coaching Association. There are also universities that offer great programmes such as Oxford Brooks, Henley Business School and Hult Ashridge. Remember to also check that the training is relevant to the type of coaching you want them to do, for example not every coach is a team coach.
  3. Accreditation or membership with a professional body: This is important because as a member you agree to abide by the organisations code of ethics and it means you have an avenue to escalate any complaints where the coach is acting unethically.
  4. Coaching experience:  It sounds impressive to see a coach has been coaching for 9 years but if they’ve only done 50 hours over that time they’re not going to be as experienced as someone who has done 100 hours over the course of 1 year. You also want to ask what kind of clients they are working with to check they are at a similar level.
  5. Supervision: The practice of reflecting on your work with a specifically trained supervisor for continued development of the coach and effectiveness of their process. There are different types of supervision and it is useful to ask the coach why they have chosen the method they have. It is also ok to ask to speak to their supervisor.
  6. Coaching philosophy and approach: There are many flavours of coaching out there and most coaches I know tend to use a blend of approaches but we can all explain what we use and why. Again this will help you assess competence and fit.
  7. Continuing professional education: What training have they done most recently and how are they applying it their practice. What training do they have coming up and and why this training now.
  8. Professional liability insurance: To ensure you can be recompensed if you experience loss due to the coaching relationship. The risk of this is fairly low but as my accountant says, the risk is low until it happens, so be safe.
  9. Demonstration: If you are bringing a new coach into your organisation you may want to ask for a demonstration of their coaching ability to get a feel if their style is right.
  10. Chemistry meeting: Coaching is a very personal experience and to get the most from the relationship the fit needs to be right between the coach and client. In a chemistry meeting the client and coach meet, it’s a chance for the client to ask any questions they have and the coach to demonstrate their style.
  11. Testimonials from clients: These will give you more insight into the style of the coach and what it is like to work with them.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this and please feel free to fire any questions over to me, I will reply to every one.

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