Guidelines for Choosing a Coach or a Coaching Programme

The developers of Meta-Coaching wrote some guidelines to assist when looking to hire a coach.

  • If you are ready to get a Coach, what qualities do you look for in a great Coach?
  • What should you be looking for in a Coaching program?
  • How will you know you have found the best Coach and Coaching program for you? 

Meta-Coaching’s Guidelines for Choosing a Coach or a Coaching Programme

Written by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.& Michelle Duval, Master Coach

In 1999 Coaching became the second fastest growing industry in the world. The probability is that you are already inspired by the many benefits of having your very own Professional Coach who will accelerate, support, and challenge you in unleashing your personal best in performance and development. No longer is Coaching reserved just for top athletes or Fortune 500 CEOs. Ordinary men and women are now achieving exceptional growth, achievements, and success from Personal and Executive Coaching.

The following offer some critical guidelines and tips to help you in your selection of your coach and coaching programme.

1. Is the Coaching Process Grounded in Self-Actualising Psychology?

Because Coaching is for healthy people wanting to realise their full potential, being Coached from models, and methodologies designed for healthy people accelerates the change processes and empowers individuals long after the coaching has ceased. It also keeps it separate from therapy.

  • What kind of psychology is the coaching based upon?
  • Is it grounded in Self-Actualising Psychology for unleashing the potentials of healthy men and women?
  • Or is it grounded in the Psychology of Pathology as therapeutic healing for mentally and emotionally unwell people?
  • Can the coach distinguish between the different psychologies and their role, or not, in Coaching? 

2. Does the Coach Utilise a Psychologically Validated Coaching Methodology?

While Coaching is a collaborative and creative partnership, it is also a systemic process facilitated by the Coach. Having a psychologically validated model for understanding human consciousness and development is essential in the Coaching being ecological, efficient and effective.

  • Does the Coach use a psychologically tested and validated Coaching methodology?
  • If so, what is the basis of this methodology? In what psychology?
  • Is the methodology based in a cognitive or behavioural science for healthy people or does it come from a grab bag of new age tricks?

3. Does the Coach facilitate Change by using a Self-Actualising Change Model?

Coaching is about facilitating the process of change and in any change process there are stages and levels. A Coach therefore needs to know what level of change is required and how to facilitate the different levels of change. This distinguishes the Coaching skill and expertise between Performance Coaching (enhancing skills and behaviours), Developmental Coaching (evolutionary change to beliefs, values and identity) and Transformational Coaching (revolutionary change in purpose, direction and meaning).

  • What kinds of change does the Coach know how to facilitate and have skills for?
  • What model of change does the Coach use in facilitating change?
  • Does the Coach have the skills for coaching you through your level of change?

4. Does the Coach operate with Professional and Business Integrity?

Those who have been through accredited Coach Training programs and are committed to the on-going professionalism of the field through industry association and contribution, distinguish themselves between those dabbling and those who are Professional Coaches.

  • How does the Coach support his or her professional integrity and that of the field of Coaching?
  • Is the Coach a member of the International Coach Federation, COMENSA or the Meta-Coach Foundation?
  • Does the Coach run an ethical, reliable, and successful Coaching practice?
  • Can the Coach distinguish the professional modalities and know when and how to refer?

5. Does the Coach Work with the Participant’s own Self Organising processes?

Instead of a coach imposing a program or process on a participant, the effective coach elicits the client’s vision and values and co-creates a new process that facilitates self-fulfilling beliefs and change.

  • Does the Coach truly facilitate processes or slip into teaching and telling?
  • Does the Coach work with the participant holistically, as a full mind-body-emotion system?
  • Will the Coach impose their linear processes or creatively adjust them to fit your unique processing style?

6. Does the Coach Demonstrate Professional Boundaries and Expertise in the art of Facilitation?

There are differences and distinctions between the professional modalities and Coaching. These are often confused with coaching which is actually about Facilitating. The other modalities are Consulting (giving advice), Mentoring (guiding from experience), Training (teaching), and Counselling (problem solving) and these differ from coaching. A highly trained Coach knows these distinctions and how to draw the line between them, knowing when and how to refer.

  • How does the Coach distinguish between Consulting, Mentoring, Training, Counselling and Coaching?
  • What training and level of expertise does the Coach have specifically in Facilitating?
  • How will the Coach handle you when you need something other than Facilitation?

7. Does the Coach Apply Coaching Values and Principles in his or her own life?

Because Coaching is a very personal and experiential discipline, a well-trained Coach will have experienced Coaching and will have a Coach for his or her on-going development. This demonstrates the importance of congruence or “walking the talk” for the professional Coach.

  • How well does the Coach walk his or her talk?
  • What personal successes does the Coach have in achieving outcomes, growth and development in their own life?

8. Does the Coach create the right kind of Relational context?

The magic of Coaching occurs from the dynamic communication within a powerful Coaching partnership. This highlights the importance of the relationship and the Coach’s ability to create trust, safety, vulnerability, and openness from both partners.

  • How safe do you feel in the environment the Coach creates?
  • How truthful is the Coach willing to be with you?
  • How truthful do you feel you can be with the Coach?

9. Does the Coach have the Core Competency and Coaching Skills to be effective?

While on the outside, Coaching looks easy and simple—just talking, there are high-level skills of listening, questioning, giving feedback, and many other Coaching skills involved. A Professional Coach will have taken Coach specific training and been accredited and benchmarked against more than 25 skills.

  • Has the Coach achieved competency in the 7 Core Coaching Skills?
  • Has the Coach achieved competency in the 9 Skills for Facilitating Change?
  • Has the Coach achieved competency in the 9 Advanced Coaching Skills?
  • Does the Coach know how to benchmark an intangible skill to give concrete and specific behaviours to the skill? 

10. Are You ready for what is required from a Coaching Relationship?

Not everybody is ready for the intimacy, commitment, and responsibility of a winning Coaching relationship, not everybody is coachable. Coachability involves being willing to fully participate in the process in being challenged, open, pursue one’s dreams, live up to one’s values, and not sell oneself short. These are the things that will determine the success of the Coaching partnership.

  • Are you willing to take full responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions?
  • Are you willing to do tasking assignments between sessions?
  • Are you ready to be taken outside your comfort zone and do what it takes to get your outcomes?

Contact me to book a Readiness Session, one-on-one with a coach, to find out if Coaching can help you start reaching your goals and potentials, and if Inner Coaching is the right coaching provider for you.

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