Coaching Relationships 101

Evan Crosby

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Are you thinking about hiring a coach to help you reach your personal and/or professional goals? If so, then you want to make sure that you find the right coaching relationship that will satisfy your needs. Just like with all relationships, you will get out of a coaching relationship what you are willing to put into it.

While no two coaching relationships are the same, here are some tips on how to make it a highly satisfying experience for yourself.

1. Start by doing your homework

People seek out coaching relationships for many reasons.

For example, you might want someone to help you get a higher paying job, better manage your work-life balance, or improve a romantic relationship. You can find coaches with a wide variety of skill sets:

  • Business
  • Career
  • Health and wellness
  • Life planning
  • Relationship
  • Spiritual

Therefore, you need to start by educating yourself about the coaching process and what you can expect from a coaching partnership. Online research is probably the best way for you to learn more about coaching. However, if you know someone who has hired a coach in the past, then you will probably want to talk to them about their experience.

2. Figure out what you want to gain from coaching

If you want your coaching relationship to be rewarding, then you need to really think about why you are considering a coach in the first place. Therefore, consider your biggest goals that you want help with.

For instance, do you have your heart set on starting your own business? Would you like to become a better communicator to make you a more effective leader at work? While a good coaching partnership can help you achieve your goals, it's really up to you to decide where you would like to go. That means you must set realistic expectations, as well as understand that you are responsible for your own learning, growth, and progress required for achieving your goals. Your coach is there to offer strong support and accountability.

3. Think about your personal preferences

Whether you hire a certified or credentialed coach, they are trained to listen, observe, and customize their coaching approach based on their client's individual needs, regardless of their background. However, there are likely other qualities that will make you feel more comfortable working with certain coaches more so than others.

For example, some people might prefer face-to-face meetings, while others prefer virtual meetings. Therefore, you want to keep your desired coaching method in mind whenever you start considering different coaches.

4. Shop around before deciding on a coach

Don't just hire a coach because they have a fancy website or a huge social media following. Instead, you want to shop around for a bit to find your best coaching relationship. A good rule of thumb is to interview at least three coaches before you decide to hire one. Make sure you ask if they follow a code of ethics, as well as for a couple of references. Also, find out if they belong to a professional coaching association. If you know someone who has hired a coach, ask them for their recommendations.

5. See if there is a connection

Since coaching is such an important relationship, there should be a solid connection between you and your coach that just feels "right" to you.

For example, you want to feel comfortable discussing important goals with this person. Luckily, many coaches will offer new clients a free complimentary first-time coaching session before you have to sign a long-term contract. That gives you both a good chance to figure out whether the two of you will have a good connection with each other.

6. Make sure your agreement is in writing

Just as you would with any business arrangement, when you decide on a coaching relationship, make sure that you put your agreement in writing. That way both you and your coach will have a written record of what is expected, which should diminish the potential for any misunderstandings.

In short, if you want a rewarding coaching relationship, then you need to know what to expect going in. Make sure you do your homework so that you can make a well-informed decision. Consider why you want a coach, as well as your personal preferences for a successful partnership. Meet with and interview a few coaches before deciding on one. Ensure that the two of you have a solid connection. Also, get your agreement in writing to avoid any misunderstandings.

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