Finding the right coach for you

Coaching provides you with confidential space in which you can explore your thinking, become clearer on the outcomes you wish to achieve, identify the things that might getting in your way and discuss the practicalities of ‘how to’ move forward.
Coaching can be described as:
“the activity whereby one person helps another to articulate and achieve their goals, through conversation” (Hardingham, The Coach’s Coach, 2006) and “Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance” (Whitmore, Coaching For Performance, 2002)
At The Leadership School we believe that this type of coaching happens when you feel safe enough to be able to explore your thinking. This means finding a coach that is right for you; so that together you can build a relationship based on trust, mutual respect and honesty. 
So – where to start?!
This handy guide of 'five steps to follow' seeks to help you through the process; so that you can select the coach you feel most comfortable to work with at this time.
1. Think about what you might want to use your coaching sessions for
You may want to commission a coach to help you :
 On a personal level. For example to develop your leadership style, gain confidence, build better relationships, lead a team or achieve specific goals
 On a business level. For example to develop a marketing plan, create a business strategy or write a financial business case.
Being clear about this from the start will help you with your choice of coach.

2. Do some homework
Unfortunately the world of coaching is largely unregulated and so it is important to complete some research before you commission a coach to work with you. Have a think about whether it is important to you that your coach has:
 A recognised coaching qualification - such as from a Business School, University or a professional coaching body like the International Coaching Federation (ICF) or the Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS). All qualified coaches are bound by professional integrity rules that include confidentiality and a commitment to supervision and continuous professional development (see below).
 Membership of a professional body - such as those mentioned above and/or the British Psychological Society (BPS), The Association for Coaching. Professional bodies provide codes of conduct that they expect their members to follow.
 A Continuous Professional Development (CPD) plan that they complete on an ongoing basis and which continues to stretch and develop them as a coach and ensure that the quality of their coaching continues to progress.
 Particular industry specific knowledge or experience. Some coaches have vast experience in a particular industry and it may be important to you that they can understand the industry that you are working within.
 Been personally recommended to you by someone you trust. This is always a useful approach although it may not necessarily be the case that a coach that is right for someone else will automatically be right for you. 
3. Begin to look for the right coach for you
With your notes and thoughts in hand – start talking to colleagues in other organisations, check out coaches in your own local area and use your network to find out who other people are using and who they might recommend.
Once you have a few names; take a look at their websites and online profiles (such as LinkedIn) so that you can get a feel for who they are, how they work and what they offer.
All of this information should be available on a coach’s website. If not – ask them!

4. Request an informal, no-commitment chemistry meeting
Before you commission your coach it is important to meet up with them and see if you feel that you are a good ‘fit’ for each other. Book a meeting together (either in person, by telephone or skype/video call) so that you can get to know each other a little.
During this meeting you can ask them to talk you through their fees and ask them to describe how they typically work with their coachees to build mutual trust. Notice how well you feel they are truly listening to you and how interested they are in genuinely understanding your need.
You will quickly get a sense of whether or not you feel that this is the right coach for you!
5. Consider where you might want to hold your coaching sessions
It is important that you feel safe and comfortable within the coaching sessions and so it may be beneficial for the sessions to be held away from your normal working environment in an appropriate meeting room or venue. Options for this can be discussed with your coach and could include;
• Using off-site offices of the organisation that you work for
• Using offices of a partner organisation (eg: accountant, marketing agency, legal firm)
• Outdoors (eg: in a park or woodland)
• In a hired venue (eg: meeting rooms)
• Telephone coaching
• Skype/facetime/webex coaching
At The Leadership School we don’t recommend that coaching sessions take place in public venues (such as cafes)
We hope that you have found these suggested steps useful. If you would like to chat any of the steps through, or if you would like to see profiles of The Leadership School coaches, please drop us an email or give us a call;
Phone: 0117 251 0155
Our website:
Twitter: space4thinking