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  • Writer's pictureFiona Grignard

How to choose the right coach in 4 steps

Choosing a coach who suits us can be a challenge in itself.

There are many coaches out there... so how do you know who to turn to? It is a vulnerable process and you want to be supported by the best person for you possible.

A while ago I probably would have advised you to pay attention to their training or experience. Today I have a slightly different approach.

Here is how I go about choosing who I am going to surround myself with. Yes, as a coach I get coached, too. Because I make personal development my job, I always continue to work on myself as well! And that itself is for me a good tip to start: invest in people who also invest in themselves. We are all work in progress, even our coaches need to continuously invest in their growth. I'll talk more about that down below!

My Yellow Horizon - Coaching Travel & harmony - Voyage - Brussels - Bruxelles Photo by Jamie Templeton on Unsplash

1. I take time to "get to know" the person

Today, I will do it through social media most of the time.

I need to feel a connection with the person before I even start a coaching session with them.

More and more coaches or therapists have blogs, podcast or are present on social networks. This is a great thing as it allows you to get to know them before you even start working with them.

What is their method? How do they work? What are their values, their vision of supporting someone else, how do they consider each session... that kind of thing. Some coaches have a specific protocol, others are more flexible.

I also don't hesitate to ask around former clients' opinions (I even sometimes reach out to strangers on social media to ask for their feedback on the program. It's supper efficient, and I sometimes end up having a new "long-distance friend"). Of course, my experience will not be theirs, but it helps to have some extra points of view.

➼ Ask yourself : How do you feel about their method, their values, the way they show their work? Do you feel connected to the person? Is it someone you appreciate?

2. I evaluate their interest and their expertise

Whether it is relationships, career, or self-confidence, I need to find a coach who is passionate about the topic I want to work on.

Even more so, I not only look for a person who loves my topic but also someone who is truly successful at it. I want to find somebody who can relate to what I'm living because they went through the same stuff.

When it comes to receiving help or advice, I notice several different patterns:

  • Some look up to people who are successful in the field that interests us. For example, you can get some great money management advice from a friend who comes from a wealthy family and never had to worry about earning a living; he will certainly have some good insights.

  • Others turn to people who are less well off. Someone who is in a similar situation, going through the same struggles that you are. It can help to feel less alone, but if you are looking to move forward from that situation, I don't advise relying on these persons. You can talk to them to connect but they probably wouldn't be the best advisor since they are still stuck in the situation themselves.

  • A third option is to be accompanied by someone who has experienced the same kind of situation as you but who isn't stuck in the situation anymore. For example, someone with a similar family background will really understand where you are coming from and will also be able to share their lessons and how they move past it. Or let's say you are starting your first startup but you are struggling right now and you meet with one person that also launched a first business and went bankrupt but then launched a second business that is now very successful. This person will have a lot of tips to share with you and will also understand where you are coming from.

I personally go for the third option. Working with someone who knows what I am struggling with but also successfully moved past it. It makes me feel understood while also inspired. The fact that the person struggled and learned from it will give a different perspective to their work.

I want a coach who incarnates the objectives that I want to achieve.

If you are looking for a fitness coach for example, it seems normal to go for someone fit and in good health. You will feel more inspired by them. For coaching, it's exactly the same. I want someone I can look up to as an example. Because, even if the coach or therapist is supposed to be able to take a step back from your situation, they are still human and their own story will inevitably influence them, at least a tiny bit.

➼ Ask yourself : Does that person seem like they master the topic you want to work on? Do they feel invested in what you want to address? Where are they, themselves, in their own life, on that topic?

3. Personal Work

As I mentioned in the introduction, an essential point I look for is the personal work that the coach is doing for themselves.

I am convinced that one cannot harmoniously accompany and support others without having gone through their own shadow work and introspection. We all have wounds to heal and it is important we spend time understanding our own behavioral mechanisms before trying to help someone else.

Personal development is anything but easy, and it can take years.

As a coach, the problems brought by the client will, in a large majority of cases, echo personal problems. My role is to hold space for my clients and I can only do that if I am centered and not triggered by my own struggles. If I do not manage to distance myself, the risk is high to make judgments as well as wanting to influence the other person's reflection.

Don't look for a coach who considers having solved all their problems. I really think no one can make that claim as we are always a work in progress. It might not always be the same topics but we will always have opportunities to improve ourselves. However, the attitude towards these issues says a lot about the progress of our work on ourselves.

In short, I'm looking for a coach who is far enough on their personal development journey to be constantly working on themselves, serene with many of their past life challenges and accepting that they are still working on some other stuff.

➼ Ask yourself : does that person seem like they have done their own work on themselves and are still improving themselves regularly?

4. Intuition & Inspiration

The last aspect to take into account, and by far the most important to me, is your gut feeling.

Maybe you'll meet a coach that ticks all the boxes, but you don't feel it, you don't feel inspired by them. Or, you may meet a coach who is less convincing on paper but who speaks to you a lot more.

We say that the 5 people who are the closest to us tend to rub off on us. In other words, we become more and more like the people around us. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, bring you confidence, and whom you admire. Your coach will become one of those people. Therefore it is essential to choose a coach that you really feel called to. Someone you look up to and want to have some of their energy on a daily basis.

It is often our intuition that guides us, and it is good to listen to it. If your little voice tells you to run away, it's probably a sign. If, on the contrary, you feel intrigued, excited or confident, then see where it can take you ...

➼ Ask yourself: how do you feel after spending time with him/her? What is your energy level when you talk or listen to them? Are you inspired, intrigued? What does your gut tell you? And if this coach rubbed off a little on you over the course of your sessions, would that be a good thing?

And what about the diplomas and the experience?

You can definitely ask about it and I agree that it feels safer to see a practitioner with lots of experience or training. Let's be honest though: diplomas, certifications, and years of practice don't really mean anything when it comes to the quality of their work, the complementarity with your personality nor the results you will get. Some people have such a beautiful gift without ever having passed any tests. Others have 15 diplomas hanging behind their desks, yet they might lack crucial qualities for you. Also, coaching is currently still not a protected field, meaning that anyyone can technically call themselves a coach.

I personally still very much prefer a coach with a certification, but I also know not to stop there.

Interested in a coaching with me?

Before starting any coaching, I invite you to a 30-minute discovery call. Grab a cup of tea and let's get to know each other. That will help us see if we are a good match for each other. Take this opportunity to ask me anything and see if you feel inspired and if it feels like a good safe space for you to open up. During that call, feel in your body, what energy is coming up for you?

Contact me today to schedule a discovery call.

In the meantime, take care of yourself, of your body, of your heart, and of your soul.

...and remember, luck is an attitude!


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