Finding the Right Coach

“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”  – Zig Ziglar

It is the eve of a new year. As I was taking a break scrolling through my Facebook feed, a friend shared a great post from The Daily Lama Facebook page which read “New Year, absolutely no need for a new you because you’re super.” Last year, a discussion with friends raised the question: “if we could be a different person for a day who you would want to be and why?” My response: “It has taken a lot of work, but I am proud of the woman I have become and wouldn’t want to be anyone else.”  I recognize the role others have played to help shape me into the person I am today. I selected Zig Ziglar’s quote to start this blog because it has been true of my life. In yesterday’s blog, I shared the journey my coach, Rocco Cozza, has guided me. I could not have asked for a better coach than Rocco and I want to share some tips to help you find the right coach.

Ask Yourself a Few Questions

Answering some simple questions can guide your search, but if you are not sure where to start its ok, begin to do some research to identify potential coaches and refine your search.  

  • Why are you seeking a coach? Is it because you feel stuck and need more out of life? Need help with your weight loss goals?  Want a new job?
  • What will success look like for you as a result of coaching?
  • Do you want to meet with a coach in person, by phone or via the internet?
  • How much are you willing to pay to make your why a reality?

For me, I knew I needed career help, but had a perception it would be unaffordable. As I researched, I was able to refine my answers to the above questions before reaching out for a consultation.

Identify Potential Coaches

Corporations often hire coaches for their Executives, but I was clueless about how to find one on my own. Over the past couple of years, I have identified multiple ways of finding a coach:

  • Internet Searches: Common search titles include Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, Career Coaching and Health & Wellness Coaching.  In addition to individual sites, my initial search took me to Thumbtack where I was able to browse a variety of Life Coaches and requested a quote. It was through Thumbtack that I connected with The Cozza Company.
  • Free or Low-Cost Events / Webinars: Many coaches will host events based on their expertise. For example, I attended an event on getting more speaking engagements. Be prepared that these speakers will be “selling from the stage” to share their program or services but will give you a sense of who they are and the value they can bring. At the very least you will benefit from the presentation content.
  • Mastermind Groups: These sessions are conducted in smaller group sessions to discuss a specific topic or theme. The Mastermind may be a single retreat or a recurring meeting series. You will benefit from interactive group discussion while also getting to know the facilitator better and potentially engaging them for one-on-one coaching.
  • Your Network: There is a lot of power in word of mouth. Requests for referrals from individuals you respect can be a great way to receive an introduction to a great coach.

Have a Consultation or Strategy Session with Potential Coach

Most coaches offer 1-2 complimentary sessions with prospective clients. These sessions provide an opportunity for you and your potential coach to meet and determine if there is a fit.

  • Fit for You: During this session you can get to know the coach better and understand their philosophies and process.  Some coaches have a set process that will outline a series of sessions where others apply exercises and guidance based on an individual’s journey.  When I hired my first coach, I looked for authenticity, why they coach, and how they could help me. One of the things I didn’t think to ask but came from the interview was who coaches them and how do they develop themselves. This will be a standard question for any future coach because it is important that my coach “walks the walk” themselves.
  • Fit for the Coach The coach will be interested in learning a little bit more about you, your goals and if you are coachable. A great coach will be honest if they can’t help you and whenever possible refer you to a better fit. This was best summarized for me when I heard Jillian Michaels speak at Mega Success. Jillian is well known for her fitness training but shared that her specialty is weight loss. If you came to her looking for muscle building, she would refer to a different trainer.    
  • Financials: Financial cost can be a big factor. In terms of finance, it is important to understand how the coach packages their sessions. Rarely, coaches will work session by session. This is because it takes time to see results.  Remember this is an investment in yourself. The return on investment is in achieving your goals. The financial investment also helps you put some “skin in the game” to keep focused.
  • Certifications: There are several organizations that offer certified credentials which can be found easily on any web search. For me this was not a relevant factor. I was more interested in the fit characteristics described but recognize it may be factor if it is important to you.  My philosophy on this stems from my prior experience as a certified project manager. I had colleagues who were certified but didn’t execute projects well and other noncertified colleagues that I would trust with any project.

I hope these tips help to identify the right coach for you. Tomorrow, I will share tips on making the most of the time you spend working with a coach.

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