Tips for choosing the right coach for you

By Christina Bachini


So you want to work with a coach? Once you have decided that a coach would be beneficial to guide and help you on your journey there are a number of things to take into consideration even before you start to look for someone to work with.


What is the area you need coaching in? Do you want a life coach, health and fitness coach, image or life style coach, a career coach, an executive or business coach? The coach you need will be experienced and have an understanding of the issue you want to resolve.


Training and experience: Coaching is not currently a regulated industry and I have heard it said that 6000 new coaches are joining the profession each year in the U.K. alone and it is important that you pay attention to what your coach is able to work with, so you need to be very clear in what you are looking for. Do you want someone who is trained but who is just gaining experience, or do you want someone who is very experienced and has a track record but may not have any formal coach training .


How long have they been in practice? It is important to ask questions about length of time they have been a coach and if they work full time or do they work part time. This will give you some indication about their level of longevity in the industry. Someone starting off may well be enthusiastic and promise you the world, but do they have some substance behind what they are offering. If they work part time do they have enough experience.


If the coach you are talking to has a specific coach training, how long was it, what did it entail, was it a telephone coaching course only, a long distance correspondence course, was it face to face with supervised practice, some life coaches are qualified after two weekends of training so it is important that you gain understanding of their training level and how long ago they trained, this will give you some indication whether they will work with you to focus your attention and move you towards your results or whether they will have skills to help with deeper issues that need specific change techniques to help you overcome them.


Experience is an invaluable learning tool. Many people who are currently working as coaches have been doing so for many years and may not have had any formal training, they understand the principles of how to get someone to perform in life better and are really good at what they do, but check out their credentials of experience, before you agree to work with them.


Remember that this is your life and you are the person paying for the service, so it is important that you feel comfortable to ask questions of your potential coach so that you can be certain in your mind that they are right for you. After all if someone will not answer your questions or is in any way evasive then it is time to say “thank you” and good “bye”.


You are interviewing someone do do a job, so it is important that they have the qualities and abilities to do the job you require them to do.
Make sure that you are able to talk through any of your concerns and that you get all your questions answered, some coaches will offer a complementary session so that you can meet face to face before any contract is undertaken.


How do they work? Will you visit them in an office somewhere, or will all your work be over the telephone, which would work best for you? Telephone coaching is becoming very popular as it means that both coach and client can be in a place of their choosing and it can work very well.
Some coaches only work over the telephone, some only work face to face and some will work with both, do you need to sit with someone or are you comfortable on the phone and do you feel that will be totally satisfactory.


What change techniques do they use? Has your coach been trained in change techniques like Neuro Linguistic Programming (N.L.P.) or Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling, Cognitive or Behavioural Techniques, although the approach they use may not be something familiar to you once you have spoken to them and found out their methodology, you can then go onto the internet or into your local bookshop and gain some understanding on what they do and how they might do it.


Does your coach have a coach they work with? A good coach will use a coach to help them deal with their life issues, they will feel comfortable about being a client as well as a coach, they will have undertaken lengthy periods of personal development with the help of a coach, being a client helps with understanding what coaching is all about and how it can help.


Is the coach you are talking to in SuperVision? Professional coaches and those who adhere to a code of ethics and practice will know that supervision is important. Client details are kept confidential but it is an opportunity for the coach to discuss any concerns they have or gain understanding on how to move a client forward. It is my prediction that all coaches will be working within the framework of supervision within the next 3 - 5 years if coaching is to become a regulated and valued profession.


Does your coach have a written contract? The contract will state clearly what the coach expects from you and what you will be required to give to them and should cover the following.

  • Number of sessions per month.

  • Duration of each session

  • Number of months/session commitment

  • Agreed dates

  • Cancellation

  • Cost

  • How payment will be made

  • Ending the contract

They should be straightforward with no surprises arising which have not been discussed during the initial consultation.


Connecting to a coach is the most important thing. Do you feel comfortable in their presence, do they listen to you and allow you to take all the time you need to express yourself?

Do you have an indication that whatever issue you have to raise, they will be non-judgmental and accepting of who you are and the issue you are working with.

Do they show they understand you and your needs in the way they reflect back to you what their understanding of the issue is?

Are they willing to discuss with you how they continue their professional development?

Do they have any issues that they do not work with...or feel unqualified to work with?

Do they have a structure for each session as well as an overarching structure of how to move you to your desired results?


At the end of the day… you will probably ignore most of these suggestions and work it out for yourself, however if you are really serious then it is worthwhile looking through these tips and deciding on a few that you are interested in finding out the answer too.


After all the most important thing to keep in mind is the relationship that you are able to build with any coach that you are working with, the relationship and how you relate to each other will be the defining factor. We make decisions on the people we are drawn to by a gut instinct and how you feel within, when talking to or meeting with your coach on the first instance. I chose to work with a woman I saw presenting at a conference after she completed her first sentence, I just knew she was right to take me through the next steps of my journey and that has continued to be the case. I knew nothing about her expertise or her training; I just had a gut feeling.

If you have any questions, or anything that you would like to discuss with me further then please feel free to contact me and I will do what I can to answer your questions.


For further information or to talk with Christina please call 0118 979 0677 and she will be available to talk with you.


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Christina Bachini is a Consultant and Executive Development Coach and can be reached at

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