First, the pragmatics:
It may seem obvious, and it bears repeating. More important than which Life Coach you should choose is whether Life Coaching or any other form of coaching is sufficient to meet your particular needs and goals. Life Coaching vs. Therapy offers substantial guidance on this question, particularly as it relates to my own practice as a Life Coach.
In looking for a specific Life Coach best suited to you, it’s useful to consider that, obviously, people can and do make successful changes in their lives without any sort of outside help. When they do seek help, most research on what makes therapy effective concludes that the quality of the relationship between the client and the provider is the strongest single indicator of successful outcome.
In addition, it consistently finds that the most important aspects of that relationship from the provider’s side have to do with warmth, empathy, respect, and genuineness. The same logically applies to Life Coaching. However, more recent research adds an important twist to this information.
Suppose one includes things like client expectation and expectation of a positive outcome as part of the “client” side of the equation. In that case, up to 70 percent of what accounts for successful change comes from things about the client–far more than things about the therapist or their particular orientation and technique.*
In short, you, the client, are the most important factor involved in the effectiveness of the coaching you receive. This does not mean that the successful outcome of your Life Coaching experience is “all up to you,” and that what a particular therapist or Life Coach actually do or don’t do doesn’t matter that much.
What matters is that you, as the client, experience your version of what constitute warmth, empathy, respect, and genuineness, and not only what your coach considers them to be. That is, these qualities can look different to different people. It is up to your Life Coach to ensure that his or her version of these qualities matches what you consider them to be. So in my coaching with clients, I always emphasize the importance of letting me know if that match is not happening in their experience at any point in our work together.
Beyond these issues, the best guidelines for choosing a Life Coach are pretty much common sense. Higher levels of education, professional training, and previous experience are obviously preferable. In addition, similar interests and life experience will obviously be to your benefit.
What may not be as obvious–but in my book is actually the most important of all these elements–is whether the needed “magic” is there in the intuitive fit between you and your coach of choice. This is difficult to define and depends more on your gut level assessments and impressions than on fact and logic.
As a result of this, I never have any expectation that a new client will want to work with me, or vice versa, until we have had at least 3 individual sessions together. If at that point we agree to continue, and somewhere down the line you find yourself balking at my suggestions or are less and less responsive to our sessions in any way, I request two things.
First, that you always let me know that this is what you are experiencing when you first realize it is happening. “Compassionate Hardball” means what it says as a description of my practice. At the same time, I will always be ready and willing to directly address anything you find about me or my coaching that is getting in your way.
My second request is that should you find that despite our attempts to address your objections, you still want to discontinue coaching with me because of them, we agree now that we will meet an additional 3 sessions beyond that decision point.–not so that I can “try to convince you” of anything, and only so that you have a chance to live with that choice long enough for it not to be a spur of the moment reaction rather than a conscious, well-considered choice.
Beyond these considerations, I also suggest you check out the following website menu items:
In addition, I have provided several samples of my actual coaching sessions with clients. You can find these under COACHING SAMPLES
And finally, you might want to glance through some of the entries under “SOME USEFUL NOTIONS” to get an idea of my style of teaching specific content and concepts that are essential to your benefiting from what I have to offer.
*Hubble, Duncan & Miller, “The Heart and Soul of Change”