How do you find a coach?

I’ve blogged previously about the differences between mentors, coaches and sponsors, and also about why we all need coaches at different stages of our lives. This blog post is about how to go about finding a coach. I am breaking the process into 5 steps to keep it concise.

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You need to know what you want from being coached

I will sometimes get messages from friends, curious about getting coached. When I ask them, ‘why do you want a coach?’, they are always quiet. Coaches help you achieve very specific targets. The more specific you get, the more probable you achieving that goal will become.

For example, with my first coach, Dr. Cathy Hung, my goal was to get help in publishing Persevering. I had never published a book before and knew nothing about the process. Dr. Hung broke down the process for me, helped me come up with a title for the book and gave advice on marketing the product. She continues to give me advice to this day on do’s and don’t with a book launch and I am so grateful to have retained her as a mentor in my life.

There are different kinds of coaching programs

There are weight loss coaches, career coaches, speech coaches, burnout and perfectionism coaches, writing coaches and more! The list is endless. The best way to go about finding someone in the industry you are interested in, is doing a simple google search or a search on Instagram. Many coaches maintain detailed profiles on Instagram- you might even see a video or two of them speaking on a webinar and that might help you decide if they are a good fit.

Another option is asking within your network. Getting a recommendation from someone is always better. Once you have narrowed down who you may want to work with, check out their references.

It’s okay to stop at any time if you think it is not a good fit

There was one coaching experience that I stopped even before we could get through half the sessions. It was not a good fit and I was not comfortable in that space. You don’t have to feel obligated to continue an association that you find to be unhelpful, or worse, draining. Not everyone will be a good fit for you. Professionals on the other side understand that too and will even be happy to refund your money completely.

Be prepared for the monetary investment

Coaches put in a lot of time and effort into associating with you. They do their homework prior to each session, are available to you when there are questions, and many continue to mentor you even after the sessions are completed. My current coach, Paulette Perhach, and my previous coach, Dr. Hung, both came to every meeting with a ton of resources on hand. They gave me a lot of advice and homework after every session.

This is why the monetary investment in such relationships is higher. If you spend $$$$ on coaching one month, don’t sweat if you can’t save what you thought you would that same month. Money that isn’t getting saved is going into your professional development, just the way you spend $$$$ on CE. It is money well spent.

Take a break between coaches

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Coaching can be a very strenuous experience. I had a session with Paulette this Tuesday, and I have homework that is two sticky notes long. There are a lot of things on my plate apart from just doing the homework, so I know I will be working through the weekend, before our next session. This could happen to you too.

Many of you reading this have kids, hobbies and a demanding day job that require your undivided attention. Devoting time to coaching is like having a second job. While the time and effort are very rewarding, make sure to take a break between two coaches. When I finished my sessions with my first coach, I took a break of about 1 month before I began working with my next. In hindsight, I should have taken a longer break. I would have liked to relish the sweet success of my book launch and publication. I know better now, and will take a break of at least 3 months next time.

Questions? Make sure to comment below. Best of luck!

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