It’s a big decision and investment when deciding to engage a coach. Here are 10 questions that you should ask any coach who you are considering working with.
1: What is your background and work experience?
Understanding their skills and work experience can help you see if there is alignment between your needs and their background. More importantly, knowing how long the coach has spent working in business will enable you to understand the experiences they can leverage.
2: Why did you become a coach?
You want the coach to share their driver and purpose to become a coach. By understanding, this and the problems they solve can help you see how they can support you and solve for the needs that you have.
3: What is your coaching experience?
Too often in this day and age, the role of a coach is used by people with little experience or qualifications. It is even quite often confused with training by some individuals. You want to know more about the specific coaching engagements a coach has had and how long they have supplemented their business experience with specific coaching roles.
4: What areas do you specialise in?
Coaching titles can be pretty broad and that’s partly due to qualifications such as life coach, leadership coach or executive coach. But what are the specific areas of focus for the coach and how do they add the most value to you?
For example, many of the conversations I have with my clients are around using their time more effectively and creating systems and processes to have better business and customer outcomes for themselves and their teams.
5: What is your coaching philosophy?
All coaches should have a clearly documented coaching philosophy that they can share with you. A coaching philosophy clarifies many aspects of how the coach will operate, how they will interact with you and how they will go about getting the best outcomes for you. My coaching philosophy also shares my personal values as values have been a core part of my leadership approach and understanding others’ values has been key to the way I lead.
6: What types of coaching methodology do you use?
A coach should be able to articulate their coaching methodology and any framework that they use. As part of any training program, they will have used methodologies and frameworks in all parts of the coaching process from the initial meeting, ongoing coaching conversations, and action planning.
7: What training and certifications have you achieved?
As I mentioned earlier many people use the label of a coach without the necessary experience or qualifications. Be sure to check their qualifications but also consider the balance of certifications with business experience. Some of the best coaches I have experienced have been in the workplace with no formal qualifications.
8: What are your biggest coaching successes?
You have engaged a coach as there is a specific outcome you would like to achieve – so ask your coach for examples of previous successes that they have had to be sure that they are going to be able to help you achieve success.
9: What examples do you have of coaching failures?
Failure is something we have all experienced in our careers. What examples can they provide you with of failings in their coaching interactions but more importantly what have they learnt from this – I like to call it ‘flearning’.
An example for me in the past has been taking on a client I was unsure of our alignment and then failing to call out this early enough in the engagement. My learning, now whenever I’m in doubt I do not proceed with the coaching relationship.
10: How do you measure progress and success against my objectives?
What measurements does the coach look to put in place and can they describe the methodology that they use for this. Can the coach describe to you how they create accountability and measure your progress against any actions as well as ensuring clarity around measures and tracking of outcomes you have jointly agreed on.
By asking these 10 questions you will gain a clear understanding of the coach, their approach and most importantly the value they are going to add to you throughout your coaching relationship to ensure you can achieve your objectives and build future success.
Chris Ellis is a qualified Executive Coach who works with executives and senior leaders in fast-growing & scaling SMEs to help them identify the systems, frameworks, and processes they need to put in place to scale for success.
With over 20 year’s senior executive experience in both the UK, Australia & USA, within financial services and fast-growing technology businesses.
www.ellivateconsulting.comfocuses on helping businesses in the field of sales operations and sales enablement and can support with training, consulting or coaching for leaders and teams.
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