How to Choose Best Coach for You (or Best Coaching for Organization)


It seems everyone is marketing themselves as a coach these days. So how in the world are you supposed to know what to look for in a coach when you’re ready to make the most of your life or perhaps help a family member or friend do so in their own life? We’ll talk about it right here in less than 10 seconds!

Are you confused by all the people and organizations claiming to provide coaching? I’m Dr. Bradford Cooper of the Catalyst Coaching Institute and today we’re going to discuss the key elements to look for in a coach, whether you’re an individual looking to improve your life or perhaps work for an organization and want to make certain the coaching that’s part of your employee wellness program is meaningful and best in class.

If you were looking for the best possible physician, accountant or skilled mechanic, how would you go about it? Most likely you’d focus on 2 primary things: Credentials and Recommendations. In this video, I’ll cover how you can utilize these same 2 aspects when choosing a coach or an organization to provide coaching for your employees. I’ll also throw in a bonus item at the end that is worth considering as well.

1 – Credentials – There are a lot of unsubstantiated claims in the world of wellness – and that includes coaching. There are plenty of people on the internet telling you how amazing they are – but what do you know about them beyond their social media photos and posts?

Ultimately, just as you’d choose a physician who is licensed or an accountant who is a CPA, the gold standard for a coach is someone who is a Nationally Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach through the NBHWC. This is an immediate indicator they’ve put in the time, training and practice to be a great coach – based on national standards – not simply their own claims. It is important to note the national board exam began in 2017, so there may be many coaches who were practicing for years or even decades before that standard came into existence. With that said, it’s worth asking whether the coach is in the process of pursuing the national board certification. While they may not yet be board certified, such steps indicate they are dedicated to demonstrating their commitment to the profession.

A couple of potential coaching red flags to bring to your attention: the supplement “coach” and the social media modeling “coach.” Both may be very well-meaning individuals, and truly want to make a difference in the lives of those around them. And – it is very possible that they started out in this route because they weren’t aware a national board certification standard even existed and are now in the process of pursuing that route. So the best thing for you to do is simply ask the question: “Are you in the process of becoming nationally board certified?” If the question results in a defensive answer or claims that it’s just a bunch of red tape, you have your answer about whether this person would be a solid coach for you (“No” ). If, on the other hand, they respond with something along the lines of “great question – I actually just learned about the national board exam and am in the process of the training right now!” – then maybe they could be a good fit if #2 is in place. One other note if the person does include supplements in the process. If they are receiving any sort of commission, it’s important that is clearly communicated to you and the coaching should not be influenced by whether or not you choose to purchase products.

A side note for those of you involved in your organization’s employee wellness program. While individuals may be in process of pursuing the national board, organizations that provide coaching as your partner don’t have an excuse. If their coaches are not nationally board certified, find a better alternative. You have plenty of legitimate options. Wellness companies who simply hire nice people, place them in a call center and give them a script to read isn’t coaching, even if they might label it as such. You and your team deserve better.

2 – Recommendations – what do their clients say? The individual may be a good coach with strong credentials, but are they a good coach for YOU? As an individual, ask the potential coach to connect you with a couple of their clients who are similar to you in background, life circumstances, goals, etc. You are unique! The coach who may be exceptional with one type of client may not do as well with others. You’re not asking for an exact match of prior clients to you, but is there a general match?

As an organization, are survey results available to indicate how well coaches have connected with employees in other organizations. Are you able to try out a sample session to see if the style of coaching will be a good fit for your employee team members? These are important questions.

Bonus consideration – Credentials and Recommendations are a great place to start. However, here’s a bonus you might also want to consider: Connection. Does this person “get” you? Does the conversation flow somewhat easily for the two of you? After a few sessions, does it begin to feel like the coach/client relationship is truly that – a relationship? Behavior change is difficult and feeling a connection to your coach can help provide fuel to the fire of that change. If the connection just isn’t there, it might make sense to try another options. And for those of you coordinating your organization’s employee wellness program, this connection between coach and client is just as important. Does your partner emphasize the relationship piece? Or is the coaching more sterile in nature? If the connection isn’t there, can the employee easily switch over to a different coach? If not, maybe it’s time for your organization to make a switch

Thanks for joining us here on the YouTube Coaching Channel. If you’re not yet a subscriber, please consider clicking the subscribe button below to provide easy access to our library. Speaking of library, if you’re a podcast fan, you might also enjoy the Catalyst Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching podcast, available via any podcast outlet. We recently released our 100th episode, so you’ll find plenty of great guests and topics over there as well.

This is Dr. Bradford Cooper of the Catalyst Coaching Institute signing out. Thanks for joining us and I’ll look forward to speaking with you soon on another feature here on the YouTube Coaching Channel or over at the Catalyst Health, Wellness & Performance coaching podcast.

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