Choosing a Coach

Many people struggle through the process of selecting and engaging a coach. There seems to be confusion on what coaching really is and the difference between coaching and consulting. Here are some differences and some questions for you to consider:


Many coaches offer a short consultation so you can get a "feel" for one another. They're also looking to discover the issue that they’re struggling with, so they can make sure that they the right coach to help them and to recommend a plan specifically to work through them.

In a corporation, similar considerations are at hand: they are looking for expertise to create and develop the best plan for implementing a culture change for their organization. A consultant will gather information to offer step-by-step guidance on how best to roll out change within their company. There may be discussion on options, a timeline, resources and something customized just for them. 

An initial consultation in either event is exactly that — consulting.


Coaching, on the other hand, is actually something quite different. Coaching is reserved for getting through, around or over something specific and short term. Perhaps you’re in a transition and are looking to figure out your next steps. Maybe you’re miserable in your job and it’s time to make a career change. Perhaps you’re struggling in a relationship and you’re trying to discern your options.

Instead of telling, there’s asking. There may be shared stories and experiences. There is learning, too, about new processes or perspectives. Coaching should be highly individualized and focused on you on a personal level.


And there’s also accountability. If a coach is worth anything at all, they will create actionable steps for you to do between sessions. Most important, though, what is your goal for coaching? What are you wanting to accomplish? What's your next step?

Choosing a coach should also include questions such as: What are your credentials? What is your experience? How do we measure outcomes? What is your coaching process?  What is the investment?


One thing that should not be considered is whether or not you like your coach.

In order for a coach to be effective, they probably shouldn’t be your friend. Friends usually can’t be objective because they are personally involved. A coach should be a respected member of your team, not your buddy. There has to be room for transparency, authenticity and sometimes, hard conversations.


Choosing a coach is personal and it shouldn’t be considered a one-time event. Hopefully, you will have many coaches over your lifetime — each one for a season or a special issue. They should be co-creators with you in solving problems and finding solutions and then it’s time to move on. Be weary of coaches who want to lock you in a long-term contract.

Looking for your next coach? Be sure to check out Soar's platform of extraordinary coaches who available for just the right issue at just the right time. 

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