9 Tips to Pick the Right Coach

Picking any professional to work with is a tough job. The wrong fit wastes your time and money, and trying to make the selection seems so complex, doesn’t it? Let’s start with three ideas--as simple as possible.

  1. Does the person energize you? Energy is the best and fastest indicator of fit. Read their stuff, call and have a conversation. Note your energy level. If it went up while reading their stuff, that’s a good sign. If they made sense on the phone, that’s pretty clear isn’t it? That energy goes both ways too.

  2. Can you joyfully pay their fees? Credentialed, experienced coaches charge $250 to $1,000 per hour.

  3. What return on investment can you expect? I’ve found that my clients receive a 3x-5x return from time spent with me. A few brief resources offer more education on expected returns and benefits of hiring a good coach…

  4. What are their credentials? Credentialed coaches have received specific competency training, testing, and someone observed their coaching. Do not take their word for it—check on credentials. I am a Board Certified Coach registered with The Center for Credentialing and Education www.cce-global.org/bcc). Additionally, I earned a PhD, which means someone observed me in a teaching role (and I’ve taught college since 2003).

  5. Do they provide a written agreement? I would not spend one minute with someone who does not clarify expectations of all parties in writing. Moreover, only work with someone whose agreement is written in plain language. The most important part of the agreement maintains your confidentiality—without that in writing, run. 

  6. How many other clients do they have? More than 20, and I doubt you will get proper attention. If they carry more than 30 clients, they don’t have time for you—just do the math. A good coach spends about an hour and a half doing administrative work for every hour they’re with you. Twenty clients means they’re working about 50 hours per week. Any more than that and you will have trouble getting an appointment that fits your schedule much less rescheduling. I work with no more than 10 clients at any given time.

  7. Do they have a clear process, and does it meet your needs? You’d be shocked how many “coaches” have no process to help you get what you need. Everything is on you. But you hired this person to coach you. By any common definition, coaching means they’re teaching you something at which they’re an expert and you do not already know. My program is scientifically proven with hundreds of clients—I wrote the book on Mindset for Success.

  8. How many clients have they worked with? Compare that with how long they’ve been coaching. Someone who averages less than 20 clients in a year may coach as a hobby not as a profession. I’ve coached over 800 people since I began seeing clients in 1991.

  9. How long do they tend to work with people? Some coaches employ a therapy model—there’s no end to the meetings. Something’s always broken and they lead you to believe they’re the only one who can help. I say that’s BS. I prefer to teach you how to get yourself unstuck. A typical client notices improvement in about two weeks, and a measurable difference in life satisfaction scores in 3 months. After that, they usually feel confident enough to work on their own, though many come back for a tune up two or three times per year. The usual exception is with someone starting a new business and then it’s about 18 months (until the business is generating enough income that it’s sustainable). Mine is not an unending process. I am not a paid fired (there’s another name for that besides “coach” isn’t there?)

I hope this helps you make a decision that enhances your success. Now is the time to take action.