22 Key Factors to find a Coach who can challenge you toward greater results

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC

If you want a better life you must have a better coach because if you pick the wrong one you will not experience the results you want.
In fact if you have a bad coach you may have to fire them. Don’t worry – A non-performing coach knows you will fire them since coaching is about results for the client, nothing more, nothing less.  
So how can you find a better coach? Here are the action steps to help you, and those you care about , find a coach who can challenge you to climb higher, dream bigger and accomplish more than you could have ever done alone. Start with the basics in your own life and ask the following -
1. Are you “coachable,” that is, do you seek out coaching and respond to critique?
2. Is your life emotionally and relationally stable?
3. Are you ready for a coach?
4. Do you have the time to take on new projects?
5. Are you eager to move past the roadblocks toward experiencing your potential?
If you answered ‘Yes” to at least 4 of these 5 questions then move forward to the next section in seeking out a great coach. However, if you answered “No” to more than half of these questions coaching may not be right for you at this time.
Once an experienced coach discovers you aren’t really ready to change they will likely fire you for wasting their time.   So who is an ideal coach for you? Look for someone who:

• Shares your values
• Who has extensive experience
• Who is a good fit in personality
• Can relate to your life journey
• That you can feel connected to
• Who offers one-on-one coaching specific to your needs
• Who is taking new client’s
• Has a level of success in their niche of the coaching industry
• Who offers a free consult, (it is wise to avoid people who are more motivated about getting your money than listening to your challenges to see if they are a good fit to help)  


You have to ask the right questions to find an Experienced Coach and choosing an experienced coach is essential if you want to experience positive results to rapidly reach your goals. Here is an extensive checklist of key issues to ask before you select a coach.
Asking the right question can save you a TON of problems, a lot of money and more importantly protect your time in reaching your goals.  
___ Is the potential coach’s belief system and moral values similar to yours?
___ Research the coach’s education, credentials, knowledge and experience in dealing with your specific type of coaching challenge
___Ask how many years the coach been in professional practice, and how long in this region of the country? (This usually shows they are highly skilled and well-connected in your region in case you need local referrals for other services).
___Ask about the coach’s professional reputation in the community; Are they viewed as a leader within their industry, or a novice just beginning their career? (Remember, experience counts when you are trying to rapidly solve problems)
___Does the coach possess additional training, certifications, and credentials that match your specific challenge?
___Is the coach quoted by the media or recognized as a published author on the issues you are facing? This is important because it shows that the coach is a trusted resource by the professional community.
___ Can you find them on the Internet via Google or other search engines as an established author or professional known for their areas of expertise who is highly trusted and recommended by other leaders?
___Was the coach referred by a physician, lawyer, clergy member or other member of the professional community that you trust?
___Was the coach referred by a prior coaching client? This adds significant credibility to the coach’s work because you can ask your friends or family what their experiences were like. Did they like their coach and was their time useful to achieve results?
___Does the coach believe in a team approach to find other professional to address challenges they are not skilled in, and are they open to referring you on to the best professional in case they can’t best meet your needs?  

Critique, not Criticism
Remember, a coach’s role is to challenge you. It won’t be “warm & fuzzy” and no one will be singing “Kum-ba-Ya” at the end of the call. Coaching is about results. If your coach’s values are too different, the questions and techniques they offer may not make a lot of sense to you and you won’t achieve your goals. 
Ruthlessly press past the fear of hurting feelings to make sure you have the right professional by your side.
Effective Coaching is an adversarial process so you shouldn’t start looking for a new coach just because your current coach pushes and actively challenges you. Getting in your face about issues is their job. As long as they are offering valid critique you likely have the right coach.  
However, CRITIQUE is different that CRITICISM. One is about challenging you, the other is about attacking you.   Finally, consider these factors after the first meeting with your coach to insure they are a good fit to achieve the greatest results.  
___Did the coach listen to you, and most importantly respect you?
___Did you feel valued as a person?
___Did you feel confident the coach had the skills and experience to move forward?
___Did you feel comfortable honestly describing your roadblocks to your coach, or were you embarrassed to spell it out?
___Is the coach easy to get in touch with if you have a question, either via telephone, web or email?
___Does the coach appear to be organized, or do they have administrative support staff to assist with tasks to keep their office running efficiently and smoothly?
___Does the coach run on schedule to respect your time?
___Does the coach’s approach and style feel like a good fit?
___Do you feel that the coach is genuinely interested in you and seeing you accomplish your goals?
___Does the coach offer additional guidance through printed resources, articles, assessments, tests, books or direction toward web links to give you greater insight?
___Does the coach remember important details from meeting to meeting?
___Does the coach inspire you to accept life challenges and push you toward creating positive change?  
If you can honestly say that your coach is a good fit after mapping out these factors, then buckle up, because you are about to launch on a rocket-ride toward the life you were designed to live. Finding and living out God’s potential is one of the most important goals of life. Finding and listening to the right Coach will get you there.  


About the author-  Dwight Bain guides leaders to re-write their story through creative change. He is an author, Certified Leadership Coach and Nationally Certified Counselor based in Orlando, Follow him across all social platforms @dwightbain   

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