Life Maven

How to Pick a Coach

I love coaching. And I love being coached.

Coaching has supported me to:

  • Fall in love. With myself. With my man.
  • Heal a chronic gut issue.
  • Take sustained action in my business.
  • Develop my message and signature coaching framework.
  • Learn how to self-coach in moments of stress and self doubt.
  • Create a deep sense of self trust.
  • Transformed my relationship with money

And countless other small realisations that have added up to the women I am today.

Coaching has given me so many tools I turn to when navigating tough decisions or big emotions.

Coaching has shown me how to tap into what I want and clear out any false beliefs that say I can’t have it.

Coaching has taught me how to bolster my own confidence.

Coaching has supported me to learn from mistakes, change tack when things aren’t working and generally continue to move forward even when it’s tough.

Every single investment I’ve made in coaching has been time and money well spent. At this point I’ve spent well in excess of five figures and I don’t regret a dime.

After all of those experiences, I’ve learnt a few things about picking a coach. So how do you know if a coach, a one to one coaching series or a group coaching program is the one for you?

Picking a coach can be a big investment in terms of both time and money making it feel overwhelming. Based on my experience of multiple coaches and tens of thousands invested, I'm sharing my reflections on what to consider when choosing a coach to work with.

Understand you are responsible for your results.

This might seem like weird advice for picking a coach but stay with me.

Some of my coaching investments haven’t always paid off immediately and often the real reward from working with a coach in deep shifts in identity that play out in external changes over time. One of my investments was in a group coaching program on building self-trust (more on this soon). That doesn’t lend itself to an obvious outcome like a better job or earning more money. 

But learning self trust is about deepening your relationship with yourself. It’s about being attuned to what you need and giving it to yourself. When you have that relationship, you can ask for what you want, walk away from situations that don’t serve you, own your self worth.

Those things lay a very strong foundation for getting a promotion, asking for a payrise, having a tough conversation with a colleague, choosing to leave a bad job. 

Something I’ve learnt from my experience working with different coaches and taking different courses is sometimes the results are not immediate.

To be honest, a couple of times I’ve committed to something I probably wasn’t quite ready for. 

As I went through the program, I wasn’t all in and didn’t really get great results. Over time, as I revisited the content and principles, did more of the work, the result have come.

This is important when choosing a coach to work with for two reasons:

  1. You can think about how committed you are to the process and if you have concerns you can talk to the potential coach about them before you commit.
  2. You’re wary of any coach that has magical claims of getting results without you having to put in any effort.

You go into the coaching series committed. And you’re owning your role in the outcome, rather than outsourcing your power to the coach. That’s a great place to start.

You can work with a coach at any time.

There’s no set starting point when it comes to deciding to work with a coach.

Sometimes the motivation to work with a coach comes from reaching a moment of exasperation. ‘I cannot live like this anymore.’

You could be in a really good place in life and want to work with a coach to get to a great place. Or recognise that being in that pretty content space puts you in a position to go for a big goal and you want a coach to support that leap.

Or it could be even more of a rock bottom moment. For me, it wasn’t immediately after my rock bottom moment that I chose to work with a coach, it was about three months later when I’d started to emerge on the other side. More on that in a sec but the point is, there is no perfect moment to work with a coach.

Whatever reason you have for working with a coach, makes it the right time to be supported. 

There is no right time. There is no wrong time. Just like there’s no right or wrong reason. It all comes down to you feeling like it’s a good decision. 

The benefits of working with a coach start before the formal coaching does.

One of the things I love about that coach selection process is it’s such a moment of self-trust. Often it feels uncomfortable, slightly scary and nerve wracking, like most new things do. 

To feel those feelings and trust your decision is amazing. And really is the first step in the transformation that coaching provides. 

It’s a moment of declaration, saying “I am worth investing my time, energy and money into.”

For women especially who can spend most of their resources putting everyone else first, this is a big moment. I’m here for it.

The most important factor about whether you’re ready to work with a coach is your capacity to take action. Engaging in the process and following through on the actions agreed is fundamental to achieving any kind of result with a coach.

It’s very much a, ‘you get out what you put in’ kind of deal.

Going back to my rock bottom moment. Immediately afterwards when I was in the thick of grief and focused on getting through each day wasn’t the best time for me to work with a coach. I didn’t have the capacity for it. I needed time to process what had happened (redundancy and breakup in one week leading to moving back to New Zealand from London for those of you who haven’t heard the story).

For some of you, being supported in that process by a coach would be exactly what you need. Only you can know that. 

The trick is being able to recognise what you need. 

For some us, we’ve never learnt how to turn into our own needs. As I’ve said, we can put a lot of energy into putting others first.

That can make working with a coach feel like a scary decision. Not only is it unfamiliar because the coaching relationship is new, the act of choosing to prioritise yourself can bring up all sorts of interesting and wild stories.

Narratives that are rooted in whether your worth prioritising. 

Does it make me selfish? Is this a good use of money?

Narratives about whether it will be worth it. 

Surely I can do this by myself? Is anything actually going to change?

I’ve had the experience of intuitively feeling like I should be apart of a group coaching experience about reconnecting to self and building that self trust.

I remember thinking, what am I going to get out of this? What is the tangible, measurable point of making this commitment?

And then I asked myself, am I going to trust myself and follow the nudge?

Am I going to trust myself that I’ll make sure I get something out of the experience?

It’s a brave moment making that decision. I was choosing myself. And I never regretted it.

Navigating everything that surfaces for you while you’re choosing your coach and backing your decision are the first steps on your coaching journey.

The first step to choosing a coach is a conversation.

What I would say if you’re feeling that nudge to work with a coach is share that with them. 

Have a conversation, either DMs or on a call, and see how the coach supports you in the decision. Get a taste of what working with the coach would be like. Think about it as gathering more information to make your decision.

Good coaches know that making the decision to work with them is a big deal and will be open to that conversation.

Good coaches also know that they’re not for everyone and allowing clients the opportunity to explore whether the relationship is a good fit is beneficial for both sides. 

Sharing that your curious about working with the coach is a way of dipping your toe in.

The other thing you’re doing is your backing yourself to walk away if it doesn’t feel right. You’re saying is all I’m committing to is finding out more and if I don’t like what I learn, then I won’t proceed.

Again, that’s more self trust (sensing a theme here?!) which lays an incredible foundation for starting the coaching series.

And if you don’t work with the coach, you have that evidence that you can back yourself to make the right call for you. Again, the benefits of coaching start before the formal part.

There is no downside.

Coaching is a deeply personal experience. 

What you want to work on. When feels like the time to do it. Which coach you choose to work with. Only YOU can decide those things. 

That’s not to say you’re alone in the decision.

In sharing my experiences, I hope I’ve given you points to consider and that’s feels supportive.

As I’ve mentioned, great coaches will support your decision making process and if they don’t, they’re probably not the coach to work with.

And at the end of it all, to go back to my first point, you have so much control over the success of the coaching relationship. Which to say it another way, you can’t get this wrong!

So if you’re feeling curious about coaching, I encourage you to follow the nudge and chat to the coach. The next chapter in your story awaits!

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My career confidence coaching was created for women exactly like you who are sick of being stuck.

Three years ago I was the one that felt stuck so I understand exactly how frustrated you are and know what it takes to build a career that has you buzzing to get out of bed in the morning.

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