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What Should You Know Before Hiring a Life Coach?

What Should You Know Before Hiring a Life Coach?

Nowadays, coaching is rapidly-growing industry. As stated in a recent Forbes article from October 2017:

“According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), the largest professional coaching organization in the U.S., the number of worldwide coaches has grown from 47,500 in 2012 to 53,300 in 2016 with the addition of approximately 1,500 coaches per year for the last four years.”

With this as a data point, it becomes apparent just how many coaches there are on the market. Seemingly every day, I notice more and more faces emerging in the industry.

There are leadership coaches, finance coaches, business coaches, executive coaches, relationship coaches, fitness coaches, and, of course, life coaches. If you can name an aspect of life, you can bet there is a coach for that niche.

It can feel overwhelming to try and find the right area of focus for your life, let alone the right coach for you. To support you on your quest for a life coach, here a few quick tips to consider before hiring your coach.

Your coach should have a coach.

Coaches who are working with their clients are also working on themselves. You want your coach to be invested in their own personal growth so they are more readily available and accessible to you as a client.

For all their expertise, coaches are still human beings, and will thus get stuck just like the rest of us. A coach who is serious about their practice will constantly be involved in their work, and should ensure they get the support they need in order to be able to better support you as their client.

Your coach should be able to connect with you.

As coaches, we can’t coach everybody, and part of what makes the relationship work with our clients is the connection and rapport we are able to establish. You can sense a connection within a 30-minute discovery call.

The connection should be grounded in both respect and confidentiality for the client. The outcome should always be a relationship, connection, and support for the client in what they are seeking to accomplish in their life. If, during your coaching conversation, these elements are present and palpable for you, then you may have found your “one.”

During a conversation with a client, coaches seek to share what they notice, support the client in reflecting on their current life, and point out the circumstances that might be standing in their way. The coach may also share and co-create new behaviors and practices that will support the client moving forward. The coach is always seeking to add value to the client (note: this value may not always be what is most comfortable for the client to hear and experience).

If you sense during your sample session that a real connection has been established, leaving you with the feeling that this coach "gets" you, understands your plight, and ultimately made a difference for you, then that coach is a keeper. That type of connection is gold and worth your investment.

Your coach’s training background is important.

Coaching is a growing industry, and anyone can claim to be a coach in today's market. Thus, learning more about your coach’s training background is crucial to ensuring you find the right coach.

Have they graduated from a reputable ICF-approved coaching training program? Are they certified and/or experienced in coaching? Are they insured? What types of outcomes have they achieved with their clients? How do they explain coaching? How do they structure their calls? Be sure to take all of these factors into consideration before making a final decision.

Coaching is amazing work, and it’s also SOUL WORK. The business of supporting others in the transformation of any area of their life is not fly-by-night work, so make sure your prospective coach checks all of these boxes for you before you sign that dotted line.

[Related: Choosing Mentors for an Inspired Career Journey]


Wendy Perdomo is the Executive Director for Professional Development and Training with NewLeaders.Org. She has experience in executive and leadership coaching, professional development, educational research and diagnostic tool design, needs assessment, training and management in the nonprofit sector, and public education and administration.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.