In my opinion, there are several factors to consider when hiring a coach: cost, availability, coaching modality, coaching qualifications, additional knowledge/expertise, and most importantly, fit.
Coaching is generally not covered by insurance and, therefore, is an out-of-pocket expense. Services can range from $50 – $1000 per hour. Most personal/life coaching sessions average $100-$300 per hour while executive coaching can average $500 per hour.
Find a coach who is accepting new clients and determine whether or not that coach offers sessions during the times you are available including, for example, evenings, before work, or on weekends.
Coaching sessions can be conducted in person, on the phone, or via an internet interface like Skype or WebEx. There are many arguments supporting each modality. Find the modality which best fits your personality, schedule, and learning style. I typically coach by phone because it offers so many benefits for the client: convenience, eliminated travel time, more scheduling flexibility, fewer cancellations, and more opportunity to focus on the work at hand.
Look for a coach who has earned a coaching certification and received training from a reputable source. There are few regulations about who can call themselves a coach. As a result, anyone can set up a website or business with the word “coach” in the title. Coaching skills such as active listening, powerful questioning, and supportive guidance need to be studied and practiced; therefore, training is required. In the past few decades, national organizations have emerged to help standardize training, protect the clients, and establish a set of ethics and best-practices. For personal and executive coaching, some well-known accreditation groups are the Center for Credentialing and Education, the International Coaching Federation, and the International Association of Coaches. Graduates from these programs typically identify themselves as “Board Certified” coaches.
Knowledge and Expertise
Coaching is a relatively new professional field, having emerged from psychology, organizational development, and business. As a result, many professional coaches have worked, studied, and developed expertise in other areas before establishing themselves as coaches. For example, many coaches have spent time working in human resources, have earned MBA degrees, or are licensed counselors. That expertise can help inform their coaching practice and sometimes can better their understanding of your situation. However, if specific expertise in an area other than coaching is important to you, consider whether you are truly seeking a coach or whether you would be better served by hiring a business consultant or a mental-health counselor.
A coach can have availability, an amazing degree, and good coaching skills, but still not be the right fit for you. Take advantage of a free initial session and see if you mesh. If you aren’t comfortable with the coach, you won’t be open and honest – and probably won’t get the results you want. Many coaches offer a free consultation which allows both of you to test the working relationship. Feel free to “interview” two or three coaches before you make your choice.
Don’t wait. So many clients say they wish they had called sooner. Take the first step and try it out.