How to find the right-fit coach for your needs

Coaching is all about the relationship. When you get it right, your coach helps you to tap into your talents and trust yourself to take positive steps forward. It’s incredibly important to find an aligned coach who brings the skills, qualifications and experience worthy of the role.

But as growing numbers of people describe themselves as coaches, searching for the right person can be daunting. If you’re confused about the difference between a qualified coach and a certified coach or simply want help navigating the maze, this guide will help you narrow down your search and find the right fit for you. 

What do you mean by a coach?

What is an accredited coach?

Certified coaches vs qualified coaches

What are the benefits of working with an accredited coach?

Tips on finding the right coach for you

What do you mean by a coach?

Coaches are everywhere. You’ll find people offering to help you with everything from your leadership skills to your sporting prowess, plus life coaching to navigate tough transitions. As the industry is unregulated, anyone can call themselves a coach.

You’ve probably seen people promoting their services as a business or a creative coach. While they may have expertise in their specialism, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have trained as a coach. Trained coaches bring skills in active listening and powerful questioning, helping you shine a light on limiting beliefs.

True coaching is more about helping you tune into the answers within than telling you how to do something. Knowing the distinction gives you clarity about what to expect from the outset.

What is an accredited coach?

When you see a coach is accredited, it means they have been through an intensive process to provide evidence of their skills and practice standards set by an professional membership organisation. (And believe me— it’s definitely rigorous!)

I chose to become accredited to offer the best service to clients and feel confident that I’m operating at the highest levels. It wasn’t simply another goal or something to tick off the ‘to-do list’ – it allowed me to reflect on the skills I’ve honed over the past seven years and take my practice to the next level.

The accreditation process involves evidencing hundreds of hours of coaching experience and continuing professional development. The coach has to provide case studies, testimonials and client references to demonstrate competence against the criteria set by the awarding body. In my case, this was the Association For Coaching. The International Coach Federation and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council also offer respected professional coach accreditation programmes and qualifications.

Certified coaches vs qualified coaches — what’s the difference?

Curious about the difference between accredited coaches, certified coaches and qualified coaches? Not all coaches are created equal. Accreditation is recognised as the gold standard. Accredited coaches have proven a high level of professional practice and meet the criteria set by an external agency.

A certified coach indicates the person has completed acoaching certification that may (or may not) be recognised as a formal professional qualification. This depends on whether the coach training course is accredited, as well as whether the awarding body is a reputable education institution or training organisation.

Qualified coaches have completed a certificate, award or diploma in coaching awarded by a coach training company or educational institution. Level 5 coach qualifications are usually sufficient for coaching middle managers, while level 7 (postgraduate) qualifications are often expected for coaching executives and senior-level leaders.

What are the benefits of working with an accredited coach?

When you opt for an accredited coach, you get the reassurance that their practice meets the highest quality and ethical standards. In a world where anyone can call themselves a coach, accreditation helps to separate professional coaches. It gives you assurance that your coach is committed to professional development and offering the best experience.

Accredited coaches have proven their ongoing commitment to their own development. Engaging with coaching supervision is an essential requirement. You get the peace of mind that accredited coaches practise what they preach and they are actively engaged in self-development.

With so many coaches out there, it can be hard to find the right person for you. Here are a few considerations to help you narrow your search and feel confident making your decision.

  • Type: What is it you’re looking for help with? For example, a career coach can help with a change of direction at work, but a life coach would be better suited to navigating lifestyle or relationship goals.
  • Qualifications: If you’re looking for a coach, their training is one factor to consider. Check whether they’re accredited, certified, or qualified. Do they have regular supervision and continuing professional development? Are they a member of a recognised coaching association?
  • Experience: Delve into the coach’s website, testimonials, and social media posts to see their results. What has changed for the people they’ve worked with?
  • Approach: Every coach will have their own unique approach. I’m all about starting with strengths and helping people tap into their talents. Choosing a coach whose approach and beliefs resonate with you makes such a difference.
  • Ethics: I’m a big believer in ethical coaching. Check whether the coach upholds ethical codes. For example, I coach in line with the European Coaching and Mentoring Council code and the Association for Coaching best practice.
  • Connection: Your relationship with your coach is crucial. It’s essential to find someone you connect with. I offer a pre-coaching call to help prospective clients decide whether we’re a good fit.
  • Budget: Of course, your budget will be a factor in the decision. Coaches set their own rates, and you’ll need to determine whether the rate reflects the coach’s experience, qualification and level of professional accreditation.

Ready to uncover your strengths?

Looking for a coach to help you navigate a career change point or boiling point? Looking to level up your leadership? I’d love to help you unlock your passion, purpose and potential.

Explore my coaching services to find out more or contact me here

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