Choosing a Coach
There's no absolutes when it comes to choosing a coach to work with. And there's no universal accreditation body or standards that can be relied upon. In fact, at the time of writing at least, there's no legislation anywhere in the world that requires someone to have any specific training or certification to call themselves a coach. It's very much a case of “buyer beware” and up to you to do the research.
Here are some general guidelines to help you choose:
- It is useful for them to have a degree in business, psychology or organisational behaviour. A graduate degree may be preferable.
- Specialised training can supplement an educational background. Coaches should have specific training (and certification) for the psychological instruments they use.
- Some experience as managers or executives. The best experience is a lot of practice in coaching various individuals in diverse organisations.
- Accreditation by any coaching body (ICF, AOEC, COC and many others) is no guarantee of quality coaching.
In addition, ask yourself if your coach needs technical experience in my industry? Most managers believe their industry or business is unique. That you organisational culture is different. This is rarely the case. A skilled coach can figure out the norms, language and values fairly quickly. Technical experience or knowledge is only suitable if this is the area in which you need to develop skills and knowledge.
- Should personality match or mismatch influence the selection of a coach?
- Sometimes, differences help. Sometimes, similarities help (it increases the chance of empathy)
- Male or female?
- Would the coach's gender make a difference in your comfort level? If so, it matters. If not, it doesn't.
- If any of your coaching issues have to do with how you relate to men or women, then coaching could be a useful laboratory.