Thursday, October 11, 2012

How do I find a great coach or mentor?

As a coaching professional I seem to meet a new coach every day - either in the flesh or online. They either tell me they can coach anyone to transform their life or they talk about who they connect with most.  It’s the second group I warm to most, because life experience matters in coaching.

The most excellent skill set that we learn when certifying as a coach is massively valuable, it does help us support people in transforming their lives in small and large ways but, to me, a coach will really help you move onward and upward if they also understand the specific work or life challenges that you are living right now.

Seek out coaches who have had 

formal coach training 
life experiences that matches your situation.  

The most effective lasting change happens when it becomes part of everyday life. When integrated into what  and how you do things on an every day basis, change really sticks.  Change sticks when it fits in, when it helps you make life easier. Someone who understands your every day can more easily help this happen. 

A great coach will help you discover how this can work for you and  because every one is different there is no one right way to do this. Ask your coach how they coach people, then ask how they can meet your individual needs, challenges and help you find your best opportunities for development.

The best way to find a coach is by referral (from HR, from professional association, from colleagues), but what suits your colleague may not always suit you because, you are, well, you. Using an online search can also help. Not all qualified coaches are listed on the professional coaching association’s lists but those on the list are most likely qualified. Mentors used by your professional association may be open to taking on coaching clients. 

The very best thing you can do is try a coach out: email and ask for their coaching resume to check if their training and life expertise matches your needs; if it does, ask for a free laser coaching session - after 15-20 mins on the phone you will have a sense of whether this person gets you and your situation. 

Final thought: if you can’t find a match ask a coach to help you find the right coach for you.

Check point: Formal coach training?
Check point: Has this coach resolved a similar or related issue to yours or worked or lived in a related environment to you?
Check point:  Does this coach have a game plan that is flexible to your needs and perspectives?

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