How to Choose a Coach, How to Choose a Mentor

How to choose a coach? Read Leadership Connections' free, expert advice on how to choose a coach and learn about different types of coaching supplier, where to look for coaches and the golden rule of choosing a coach.

Finding and choosing a coach

We believe that sustainability is central to coaching and would advocate, wherever possible, that organisations build and use their own coaching capability internally.

We understand that this isn’t always possible and when looking for external coaches there are a number of places you can look and things to consider.

Scroll down or click here to read more.


If you feel we could help you in any way, please Contact Us.

Supporting leaders to overcome their obstacles and develop themselves - through coaching and mentoring

Increasing the effectiveness of management teams through leadership team development

Identifying and improving leadership across the organisation through talent management and leadership development

Mobilising large groups for change through creating inspiring conferences and motivational speaking

Increasing the effectiveness of the Human Resources function through HR strategy and skills development

 

Coaching Guide - How to choose and use coaching

Finding a coach

We believe that sustainability is central to coaching and would advocate, wherever possible, that organisations build and use their own coaching capability internally.

We understand that this isn’t always possible and when looking for external coaches there are a number of places you can look and things to consider.

Places to look

Coaches you have used.

If you have successfully used a coach before then you should certainly consider using them again. You will probably be able to make more progress more quickly with a coach you already know and who knows you and the organisation.

Coaches you know / know of.

Because there are so many coaches of differing quality out there (see below) the personal recommendation of someone you know is worth a lot. Don’t forget to ask your HR department who may well know of good coaches.

The internet.

There are many coaching organisations and individuals represented on the web. In most cases you can glean very little about the quality of a coach from their website but it’s a good way to find candidates to meet.

Types of coaching supplier

There are broadly three types of coaching supplier – all of which have advantages and disadvantages.

Independent coaches.

Most coaches operate this model and there are a huge number of them. They typically operate with very low overheads so you get good value for your money but you get less choice and, if you want several coaches, managing them presents significant challenges.

Coaching Companies.

These offer the convenience of a ‘one stop shop’ and often have their own proprietary models and processes. The principal disadvantage is that the quality of coaches can be variable and the cost / quality ratio is lower than other types of supplier because you are paying for overheads as well as the time of the coaches.

Coaching networks.

There are a few organisations like Leadership Connections who operate a model which brings together a network of associates – who usually work independently as well. This brings many of the advantages of the ‘one stop shop’ and allows the choice from a wide pool of coaches with different attributes. This model also benefits from lower overheads and thus better value for money. You need to satisfy yourself, however, that such an organisation is a coherent and well managed group of associates rather than simply being ‘names in an address book’, so that their approach is aligned and consistent.

Things to consider when choosing a coach

Successful coaching is far more about relationships than it is about qualifications. We have encountered lots of coaches who look great on paper but whose practice we would not trust and, conversely, we know many excellent coaches who have no formal qualifications at all.

Personal knowledge and recommendations

If you know a coach, or have a recommendation from someone who has worked with them then this is a very useful indicator. It won’t tell you whether you will work well with them but will tell you something about the quality of their work. Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to some of their clients – be suspicious if they refuse this or seem overly selective about who they offer.

Qualifications.

What really matters is not what a coach knows but how he or she uses it. There are many accreditations available of greatly varying quality. Do consider qualifications or the membership of professional bodies – but do so alongside the other criteria on this page. The only exception would be where coaches have a Masters degree – in which case you at least know that the qualification has met an objective academic standard. Even here, however, the qualification doesn’t tell you about the application of their coaching knowledge.

Experience.

Whilst experience is of course important, this is another area to treat with care. What exactly does ‘15 years of coaching experience’ mean? Is this 1:1 coaching or team coaching, or a coaching style employed in an organisational role? Make sure that you understand exactly the experience that your coach has and that it is relevant to your needs.

Personal Chemistry

To make progress in a coaching assignment a strong and trusting relationship is necessary. As unscientific and intangible as it sounds, without the right ‘chemistry’ between coach and client, effective coaching cannot take place.

Supervision.

Most good coaches will buy their own product! Having the support of a supervisor (essentially a coach to the coach) to improve their practice and help them learn is a good indicator of quality. Ask your prospective coach whether they have a supervisor and what they do to develop their coaching skills.

Type of coach.

We have seen in this document that there are many types of coaching. Ask your coach; What types of coaching are they most experienced in? What assignments can they point to which are relevant to your application and needs?

The golden rule.

If coaching to be successful, it is vital that the coachee or team chooses their own coach – and that this choice is informed by a face to face conversation.

Whatever other attributes a coach has or doesn’t have, there is no substitute for a personal choice on the part of the person / people to be coached based on first hand personal experience of the coach.

At Leadership Connections we can offer a great range of coaches, of a very high quality, and at rates which would be very difficult to replicate elsewhere. Every coaching assignment begins with a conversation. We don’t believe in a hard sell and would be delighted to talk with you about your coaching needs and to help you source the right solution – whether or not this ends up involving us.

Let's Talk

The easiest way to understand how we can help, and whether you feel that you could work with us, is to begin with a conversation.

We don't believe in a "hard sell" and often find that people get value out of the exploratory discussion - whether or not we go on to work together.

Please Contact Us – we would love to hear from you.

 

How to Choose a Coach, How to Choose a Mentor

How to choose a coach? Read Leadership Connections' free, expert advice on how to choose a coach and learn about different types of coaching supplier, where to look for coaches and the golden rule of choosing a coach.