Wondering how to choose the right coach for you?
As our world becomes more fast-paced and competitive, more and more people are hiring coaches to help them get where they want to be. As written here, high-quality coaching provides tremendous value. A great coach can help you gain clarity and perspective, be more confident, have greater accountability and consistency, and ultimately get better results faster.
However, all coaches are not created equal. Unfortunately, anyone can claim to be a coach. Some coaches are much better than others. In this article, you will learn how to choose the right coach for you.
Two Questions to Help You Choose the Right Coach
Here are two important questions to ask yourself before you hire someone as a coach:
1. Has this person helped other people like you achieve your desired outcome?
Someone’s firsthand accomplishments do not guarantee that he/she will be a great coach. For example, Wayne Gretzky is considered by many people to be the greatest NHL hockey player of all-time. Nicknamed “The Great One,” Gretzky held 61 NHL records at the time of his retirement. 1
After his playing career, Gretzky coached in the NHL for four seasons. During his coaching career, his teams lost more games than they won, and his team never made the playoffs.
Consider it a bonus (not a requirement) if a coach has personally achieved what you want to achieve. Some peak performers are not actually that great as coaches. What’s most important is that a coach has helped other people like you get where you want to be.
For example, NFL Head Coach Bill Belichick never made it to the NFL as a player. The highest level of football that he played was at Wesleyan University, a small Division III program.
However, Belichick still became one of the greatest NFL football coaches of all-time. He won six Super Bowls as the Head Coach for the New England Patriots, after winning two more as Defensive Coordinator for the New York Giants. 2 Belichick also coached NFL QB Tom Brady for 20 years.
If you were a quarterback who wanted to succeed in the NFL, would you be interested in having Belichick coach you? Of course you would. It would not matter to you that Belichick never played in the NFL and that he never played quarterback.
A coach does not need to have personally achieved the results that you want to achieve. He needs to have helped other people like you get where you want to be.
2. Do you trust this person and respect how he/she operates?
I once had an opportunity to hire a coach with a very relevant and impressive resume. He had built a successful business in my field. He also had a track record of helping other people in my field build successful businesses. Initially, he seemed like the perfect coach to help me grow my business.
However, after doing some research on this coach, I quickly decided not to hire him. I did not trust him or like his style and approach.
No matter what kind of coach you want (i.e. executive coach, career coach, peak performance coach, health and fitness coach, relationship coach, etc.), the person guiding/advising you should have rock-solid character. You need to feel comfortable being vulnerable and honest with this person.
Don’t just choose a coach with impressive credentials or a track record of helping other people get relevant results. That’s not sufficient. Choose a coach that you trust and respect as well.
Your coach should represent excellence and be someone that you see as a role model, even if he/she has not achieved what you want to achieve. Work with someone who does things the right way and who has their act together. If you have any questions, find another coach.
What About Degrees and Certifications?
Many organizations that certify coaches are quick to say that degrees and certifications are essential for being a great coach. In reality, they are overrated. Even if someone gets certified or studies a topic for years, that does not mean he/she will actually be a great coach.
For example, there are many medical doctors, licensed nutritionists, certified personal trainers, and other health and fitness “experts” who are dangerously out of shape. You don’t need to have a six-pack to help other people be healthier. However, there are many highly credentialed health and fitness “experts” who unfortunately have no idea how to achieve optimal health and fitness.
Be skeptical of any coach who uses degrees and/or certifications as their primary source of credibility. What’s more important is someone’s character and the actual results that someone has helped their clients achieve.
Summary and Final Thoughts
High-quality coaching provides tremendous value. However, all coaches are not created equal. Some coaches are much better than others, and you cannot base your decision on degrees or certifications. Before you hire someone as a coach, ask yourself the following two questions:
- Has this person helped other people like you achieve your desired outcome?
- Do you trust this person and respect how he/she operates?
If the answer to either of those questions is “no,” then find another coach.
You could also consider some advice from Derek Sivers. He is a writer and entrepreneur who is best known for being the Founder and former President of CD Baby, an online CD store for independent musicians. As Sivers says, “If you’re not saying ‘HELL YEAH!’ about something, say ‘no.” 3
There are thousands of coaches to choose from these days. Choosing a coach is a big decision that will require a significant investment of time, money, and effort on your part. You can and should be selective if you want to choose the right coach.
Not sure if a coach is right for you? Then, say “no” and find someone else who makes you say “HELL YEAH!”
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About the author: Pete Leibman is the Creator of StrongerHabits.com. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, executive recruiter, athlete, and peak performance coach. His work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and CNNMoney.com, and over 500,000 people across the world have read his articles.