I remember the first time I looked for a therapist or coach. I was newly self-employed, frustrated in a relationship, and experiencing a barrage of emotional barriers. I was anxious, low on self-esteem, and incredibly lonely in my transition of working solo.
I scrolled through therapists in my area who took my insurance, called or left messages, decided on a woman who called me back and set up my first sessions. And I began to meet coaches and signed up for their free consultations.
After several calls and sessions with coaches or therapists, I had to be honest with myself. I wasn’t finding what I was looking for. I wanted to build new tools and awareness around specific challenges I was facing, and none of the people I met were the right fit. I felt discouraged, but I began to realize that, just like any other great relationship, it takes time and persistence to find the right people to unpack my biggest vulnerabilities and support my biggest goals.
After a while, I stopped looking. I survived (and in some ways thrived) through my first full year as a soloprenuer and focused on specific goals and people in my life. I self-coached and surrounded myself with resources, people, and the work that evoked deeper self-awareness.
The following year, without actively searching for one, I found a perfect coach for me.
I was introduced to her through some women I had met at a co-working spot I was frequenting, and I immediately loved her energy. I wasn’t looking for a coach initially; I was looking for someone I really resonated with and admired personally and professionally. With that intention, I attended a workshop she hosted, set up time to connect by video, and actively participated in her ventures.
Over the next 6 months, I gained something from every interaction with her including: new business tools, mindset frameworks, emotional and spiritual tools, and powerful networks of people. At the end of the year at an event, we set up time to catch up by video where she curiously asked me if I’ve ever had a coach. I said “no”, she gasped in delight, and shared that it might be something that could help me with the direction I’m hoping to head in. She offered a 90-minute coaching session with her for the following week so I could get a sense of what coaching was like, and I accepted. The 90-minutes had impact beyond any type of conversation I’ve ever had, and I walked away feeling lighter, more equipped, and more clear about myself. And, the rest is history. After a series of in-depth discussions with her on my biggest goals and obstacles, I took a leap of faith and invested 5 figures for a 6-month coaching program with her that transformed my commitment to my business and myself. What started as a professional friendship became a coaching relationship, and she created a space for me to confront my darkest wounds and create new, powerful intentions and actions. I made back my investment in those 6 months, and continued on to make my first 5 figure months. Without finding the right coach for me and taking this leap of faith, this would not have been possible.
I know you may also in a crossroads in your life, and looking for a partner to guide you towards a goal or change that you’ve never done before. Finding the right coach for you can change you and your life.
I’ve noticed that there is not a lot of information about this process from those who have both coached people on towards higher salaries and emotional fulfillment, and also took the time to find and invest in their own coach.
So, I wanted to share 6 mistakes I learned from, and what to do instead to find the right coach for you.
1. Take time to do consultations with several coaches
Every coach is unique. From their personality, scheduling, to their values, each coach brings their unique background, training, mindset, and areas of expertise. Like other relationships, knowing what you don’t want in a coaching relationship is just as valuable as knowing what you do want. It wasn’t until I had several consultations with different coaches that I very much knew what turned me off or wasn’t a fit. And, when I met someone who did resonate effortlessly, I knew I had landed on something special.
As a coach, I am impressed when I speak with a potential client that I know took time to do research and speak with multiple coaches because I can tell that they’re reaching out with intention. And if they choose to work with me, I know it’s coming from an empowered place of action and decision rather than convenience.
2. Focus on finding someone that you resonate with and who creates an aligned space for you
If you tailor your search too much by expertise and credentials, you may find yourself in a pool of coaches that you can’t really differentiate. Testimonials, outcomes, certifications, and sales copy may all start sounding the same, and it can get overwhelming. Instead of focusing only on someone’s background or resume, pay close attention during your interactions (via email, phone, and in person) on how well you resonate with them as a person.
For example, notice how you feel after you speak to them:
What is your mood like?
What are the effects of being in their presence?
How would you describe their style?
Speaking to a coach that resonates with you should give you a noticeable increase of energy, motivation, empowerment, or clarity.
Also, since every individual is different and at a different place in life, knowing the results of other clients are actually not incredibly relevant to you. Instead, prepare good questions to ask them about how they approach difficult situations, challenging coaching topics, accountability style, and their philosophy on the coaching relationship. It’s important to note that you are not investing in the coach, but rather the coaching space they will create for you. What you choose to do or not do with that space will then determine your unique results. Thus, take time to get to know how each coach will approach your unique situation and the type of space they will create for you.
3. Schedule your Free Consultation for times when you can show up 100%.
Showing up 100% means setting aside time to be in a quiet space and focused mindset. I love it when someone comes in prepared and excited, ready to have this conversation in a quiet space. This matters because the purpose of a consultation or connection call is not just to get free coaching or to complain about your work (though you probably will get to do some of both too!). The purpose of a consultation is to establish fit between you and the coach. It’s a chance for you to ask questions, share your priorities, and be open and reflective about who you are and what you need support in.
For the coach, it’s a chance for them to share their coaching style, set agreements, and begin building a safe space for your personal and professional development.
Thus, be 100% present in these calls. Don’t sandwich them in before important work meetings, in a noisy coffee house, while running errands, or while driving home from work (yes, these have all happened before!). Instead, set a time where you can leave work early, during a morning where you have time, or on a weekend where you are less likely to have last minute work commitments. Prepare your questions, and allow yourself to be as honest and transparent as possible. The right coach for you will get to know you and help you decide if they are the right fit.
4. Get specific on your challenges and desired outcomes
Before your call, take time to write down in detail what your goals, challenges, and desired outcomes are. Some coaches will give you a questionnaire to fill out prior to your introduction call to clarify your immediate goals, challenges, and needs. But if they don’t, write them down for yourself.
Some questions to reflect on:
What are your immediate goals?
What big challenges are you experiencing or getting stuck at?
If you were to invest in a coaching relationship, what would you envision that would look like and feel like?
What are your desired outcomes- physically, emotionally, and financially?
Is there anything holding you back from investing in yourself?
Jot these down and be prepared to expand on them. The right coach for you will ask you to elaborate to fully understand you and if their coaching is a strong fit.
5. Hire someone who gracefully guides you to your own decisions
You know yourself better than anyone else in the world.
You are the expert on yourself, and no matter how much experience a coach has, they should never tell you what to do with your life. A coach does not know what’s best for you. A coach does not jump in to save you or to solve your problems.
A coach is someone who believes that you are resourceful, creative, and powerful, and will create space for you to connect with yourself, your intuition, and your knowing. The right coach for you will take the time to hold space for you to reflect, build self-knowledge, offer new tools, and guide the conversation productively so you can make self-honoring decisions now and in the future without them. Be wary of anyone who is too quick to offer advice or state that they can help you achieve anything you want, without inquiring deeply into what you already know about yourself and what you want.
It’s common to receive recommendations, tools, books, or even consulting on specific areas they have in-depth experiences in throughout the coaching engagement, but make sure the coach spends enough time eliciting and supporting the application of your own intuition, resourcefulness, creativity, and power first. A coach that’s right for you is aware of when to softly guide you towards your own knowing, and when to take bolder leadership to pave a path together.
6. Trust your intuition and take a leap
Yes, a leap! If your intuition tells you this is the right coach for you, take a leap towards it. Investing in coaching or any growth-focused offering can trigger doubts or feelings of fear.
It can sound like…What if it doesn’t work? What if I don’t get the return I want? What if I’m just broken? What if I’m not good enough for this to work?
I know these questions intimately. Skepticism and doubt will kick in to make sure you stay comfortable (aka where you are), even if you really want to move forward. I knew was ready to invest when the cost of in-action was a lot scarier than the investment of the coaching program. I imagined my potential future had I not taken bold action. What would be doing? What opportunities would be available o me? How was my health? And my wealth? What kinds of people would be in my life? I realized there was no bigger risk than not investing in myself in this big life transition. Investing in myself felt like a leap towards my best self and believing in myself.
You may be a critical transition in your life or career. Finding the right coach for you should feel a little like an educated leap of faith (at least it was for me). By both preparing for each step and connecting to your intuition, you can find great coaches out there to meet and partner with. After all, a strong coaching relationship will yield benefits long after the engagement ends.
I hope these insights help you explore coaching and help you find a coach that is right for you.
Are you trying to find the right coach for you? Share with me if there’s anything I’m missing on this list!