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Hiring a coach

It pays to be discerning when hiring a coach. To get the most out of a coaching relationship, you will be required to be totally upfront and honest. You want someone you can trust.

Let the buyer beware. The coaching industry, although growing at a phenomenal rate, is still young in comparison to more established sectors such as counselling and management consulting. A new and growing industry attracts many players – many of questionable motivation, ethics and relevant training. High-calibre coaches are distinguished by a specific coaching mindset and methodology – accept nothing less.

That said, there are many high quality coaches, and each will have a unique approach and style. By finding a coach that matches your specific needs, you will ensure a greater synergy in achieving your goals.

Taking the time to find the right coach is made easier by following these simple steps:

Know what you want to achieve from coaching.

If you are clear about what you want to use coaching for, you can quickly narrow down your options. Coaches tend to specialise in certain areas, for example business start-ups, leadership development, life skills and career change. Whether it be setting up a new business or developing your capacity to manage a team, it helps to have a general idea of the goals you want to achieve and the role that you want the coach to play.

Learn from others’ experiences

You can streamline the process of selecting a coach by speaking with other people or organisations that have used coaching. Learning what worked for them (and what didn’t) with a particular coach can help you determine the quality of the coach’s work and whether they are suitable for you.

Contact several different coaches

Once you are clear on the outcomes you want and have gathered information from others who have used coaching, contact at least 3 coaches before making a decision. Most coaches will welcome your inquiry and should be able to provide answers on:

* Their coaching experience relevant to your particular situation;

* Their training and qualifications as a coach – as opposed to other training as a consultant or therapist – although these may also be relevant;

* Their motivation to work as a coach – the best coaches have a passion for their profession and are driven by a real interest to help their clients succeed;

* Membership of a relevant industry body and the code of ethics that they are bound to;

* Their commitment to ongoing professional development;

* Names and contact details of past clients who will act as referees;

* Their fee structure.

The coach should demonstrate a flexibility and availability that will work for you, and a strong sense of self-awareness and confidence. You should also be able to determine whether the coach has the ability to both support and challenge you during the coaching process – a crucial skill.

To find a coach, try any of these sources:

The International Coach Federation (ICF) – the industry’s governing body. The ICF maintains a database of member coaches – the Perth contact is Donald Clarke

9430 8849, or www.coachfederation.org

Coach U – Australia and the world’s largest coach training body maintains a Coach Referral Service - www.coachreferral.com

* Digby Scott is a professional coach with over 12 years business experience.

Contact him on 9284 6434 or digby@thecatalystgroup.com.au

Next week: Mr Scott starts a 13 part series on how to build a career.

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