Three Important Things to Consider When Hiring a Coach
Increasing your understanding of what to expect when hiring a coach can help you find the right coach and increase coaching benefits.
The number of coaches is growing. According to the 2016 Global Coaching Study by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), there are now over 17,000 practicing coaches in the United States, and over 53,000 practicing coaches worldwide. You might know someone who is a practicing coach, or someone who has benefitted from working with a Life Coach or Executive Coach. Chances are good that you could benefit from hiring a coach as well. Here are a few important things you should know before hiring a coach.
1. Coaching is NOT Therapy
A fairly common belief is that hiring a coach is similar to hiring an unlicensed therapist. This belief may prevent people from hiring a coach and benefitting from the clarity and direction coaching can provide. While it’s true that the process for obtaining a coaching credential is different than obtaining a license to practice psychiatry or social work, it’s because they are actually drastically different fields.
Coaches Focus on Creation
Therapists often work with clients who are trying to reconcile past challenges in order to shift their focus to the present moment. In these situations, therapists help clients to heal and improve their mental health. Coaches work with clients who already possess an acceptable baseline of mental health. Conversations with a coach will shift your perspective toward the future and what you want to create. Not sure what you want to create? That’s okay! A coach will work with you as you define your goals and start to move towards them.
Coaches Will Not Diagnose or Prescribe Medication
While some mental health professionals have the appropriate education and licensure to provide a formal diagnosis and prescribe medication to their clients, this is not something to expect when hiring a coach. In fact, the ICF provides guidelines to coaches regarding when it may be appropriate to refer a client to therapy.
2. Coaches Have a Wide Variety of Training and Experience
When hiring a coach, you’ll want to consider their training and experience. It is possible for anyone to call themselves a Life Coach after reading a book or watching a few videos. Many of the most effective professional coaches have invested in substantial coach specific training, and have worked at length with mentor coaches to hone their practice and provide greater benefit to their clients.
Coach Training Varies Greatly
Coaching is not a regulated industry and there are not a set number of courses, credits or hours a coach must complete prior to working with clients. Some coaches begin building a client base after just a few hours of training, while others have had hundreds of hours of coach specific training, mentor coaching and client experience.
Coaching Does Not Require Licensure
Licensure is not required for coaches, though many coaches choose to pursue ICF credentialing. ICF credentialing requires coaches to have met a minimum threshold of coach specific education and client experience before completing the Coach Knowledge Assessment. When hiring a coach it is important to keep in mind ICF credentialing is not required, and an excellent coach may not hold an ICF credential.
3. A Coach Cannot Do The Work For You
Consider the relationship between an elite athlete and their coach. Athletes have the support of their coaching staff while they push themselves to their ultimate physical limits. While coaches can work with athletes to uncover their potential, the athletes must commit to and put effort into their training and practice. An athlete unwilling to push themselves will not find success simply by hiring a skilled coach.
Being Coached Is Not Easy
A skilled coach will not simply tell you what to do or make decisions for you. Instead, a coach will ask powerful questions that require you to dig into your belief systems and may require you to shift your established thought patterns. They will listen intently and may repeat or rephrase questions in order to encourage deeper levels of self-actualization. Much like an athlete who reaches a new level of achievement, clients may leave a coaching session feeling empowered, inspired, and also fatigued.
Coaching Requires Investment of Both Time and Money
Many coaches will require a minimum number of sessions with a new client. You will get the most benefit from hiring a coach if you dedicate uninterrupted time and focus to these sessions. Coaching will not be as effective if you experience distractions or interruptions during your sessions. There can also be a significant monetary investment associated with hiring a coach. Although it is possible to find a Life Coach with rates below $100 per hour, it is common for Executive Coaches to charge $150-$500 per hour or more depending on training and experience.
My Experience Hiring A Coach
Before becoming a coach, I hired a coach to help me find the clarity and direction I needed around my own next steps. My coach had a background as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and did not hold an ICF credential. When hiring a coach, I did make the most of my consultation call and knew I felt comfortable moving forward with this particular coach, and paying a rate of $200 per hour for coaching.
A Well-Defined Process
My coach used a process which included an abbreviated series of live, virtual, one-on-one meetings to help clients who were considering a shift in career path. Although my past education and career experiences were considered during our sessions, there was a clear focus on moving toward the future. There was a substantial amount of homework recommended between sessions and we did not cover other aspects of leadership, management or non-career goals.
Results Over Time
Results for me were not instant. Although my coach did ask me for a review immediately after completing the program, I did not provide one at that time. I
Needed time to let our conversations sink in and to see I was free and empowered to move toward my goals. It wasn’t until nearly a year later that I could provide a review or feedback regarding the actual benefits I received from coaching. For me, benefits included a new role
Most people can benefit from coaching in order to achieve the clarity and direction they need to achieve more in their careers and personal lives. So, ask yourself, how can hiring a coach help you achieve more this year?