10. How do I choose a coach that’s right for me?

The coaching space is filled with bad actors and bad practitioners. It is an industry with few professional standards or meaningful credentials. Many coaches are charismatic advice-givers who offer one-size-fits-all solutions for addressing your unique issues. They are often blindly uncritical about their own methods and impact. Cost and value are not always correlated. The customer has every right to be skeptical.

Rather than forego professional development altogether, you can succeed by being selective in who you choose to work with and how you measure the success of your coaching.

Coaching works best when:

  • You set the goals.
  • The goals are measurable, ambitious, and time-delimited.
  • The goals are met.
  • Rapport with your coach is strong—the relationship feels good and builds trust.
  • You feel “comfortably uncomfortable” as you work with difficulties and practice new skills in a supportive environment.
  • You feel in control to end the relationship at any point.
  • The process and boundaries are mutually clear.

Whether you decide to work with me or not, I encourage you to choose a coach based on your overall rapport and their general skills over specific subject matter expertise. Coaching expands our mental maps; advice is filtered by our existing mental maps. Both are useful, but they aren’t the same. If, instead of skill development, you’re looking for actionable advice about a specific topic, you may benefit from a mentor, consultant, or even a book more than a coach.

Posted in: Philosophical