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Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Coach

58842033-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-21I’ve been asked recently what are the factors to consider when choosing an executive or business coach. In case you are wondering for yourself or someone in your company, consider my Top 10…

Here is My Top 10 Tips to Finding the Right Coach or Mentor for You:

  1. Read Testimonials and Call on References. People aren’t coerced into giving a good and honest testimonial. Watch video and read written testimonials and stay alert for key phrases that hint at results.
  2. Referrals. You use referrals to buy cars, homes, and hire insurance and financial brokers. You should utilize the knowledge within your community to find good coaches and mentors, too. You may be surprised as to how many of your colleagues, peers, and friends use coaching. They may be able to quickly point you in the right direction.
  3. Talk. Call the prospective coach. See how quickly they return your call. Have a conversation rather than an email exchange. This is not about prying free advice out of them. It’s about determining your ability to communicate effectively. Rapport is important, but results are more important. Discern what you can gain in both categories the old-fashioned way…. by talking!
  4. Ask Questions. Ask about fees, expectations, accessibility, and anything else that is important to you. Candor, trust, and transparency are crucial for a successful engagement.
  5. Fees. Lower is NOT better. You’re not buying bananas at the grocery store. You’re investing in your future. Coaches that charge what you might consider a high fee get big returns on investment. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t still be in business. If they charge by the hour, watch out! Don’t trade time for money in this case. You don’t want to ever be put in a position where you are worried about the meter running. Know your investment up front. The best coaches in the business charge high fees, but on a set and agreed to amount.
  6. Accessibility. You’ve hired a coach or mentor to have access to them. Make sure they are giving it to you. I return all calls and text messages within 90 minutes, and reply to all emails within 24 hours. These are my guidelines given to clients. Any coach you are working with will have some similar guidelines to accessibility. You may need answers fast. Make sure they are there for you.
  7. Been There, Done That. You want to choose someone who has done what you want to do. If you want to have someone coaching you on speaking, then they need to be a professional speaker that gets paid and speaks all over the world (or at least country). If you hire someone to help you publish a book, they need to have commercially published one themselves. If you’re starting a consulting practice, hire someone that has excelled in his or her consulting profession.
  8. Watch & Read. After referrals, speaking and publishing attract the most new clients to me. It would seem logical to believe that you can find good coaches and mentors by watching them speak and reading their work. Attend their speeches, seminars, and workshops. Go with an open mind ready to learn. Read their work in trade journals, publications, and online. I often receive calls from interested parties based on an article or column I wrote for a trade publication. You should feel confident in speaking to experts that make the effort to give value to you though their work.
  9. Search. Google was actually the way I found my first mentor. I performed a search for insurance consultants and viola, Scott Simmond’s name popped up. Scott is in Maine and I am in Washington State. Regardless, I called him, we talked, and I made the decision within about 10 minutes to hire him.
  10. Cyber Stalk. Once you’ve found them and talked to them, do a little research online. Check out their websites for resources and examples of work. Read the testimonials and list of clients. Does their web site look professional or built by the neighborhood kid in their basement? Look at social media platforms, not for ratings, bit for presence. Most specifically, find them in Linked in and Twitter and read what they post.

Don’t leave the very vital task of choosing a coach or mentor to chance. Do some research first and make an educated decision. The good coaches make it easy for you. And remember, just like wine and dress clothes, you most often get what you pay for.

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

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