Imagine a time in your life, when you wake up to beautiful blue skies and golden sunshine every day. As you stretch and climb out of bed, you love your life SO much that you jump up and down with joy. You just know today is going to be incredible. You wander down to breakfast – avocado on granary toast with a poached egg on the side and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.
Maybe your perfect dream life is just on TV; but what if it wasn’t? I know from my clients that it is very possible to have a life you love. I love my life, so why can’t you. I’m not saying life every day is perfect however, overall, I live a happy life doing work that I life, making a difference, creating impact AND I’m creating happy memories for my children.
How did I achieve this?
It all started when I worked with a coach back in 2011. I wanted more balance in my life. I wanted to spend more time with my children; not just more time, but more quality time. That’s all I was looking for. However as a result of exploring my work-life balance, my values and the impact I want to have on the world, I quit my job and launched my business. Most definitely not the result I was anticipating at the start. But once I got clear on what I really wanted, I found the confidence to just do it!
Maybe you’ve been wondering about working with a coach. This then sets out to be the Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Coach.
Why work with a coach
The role of a coach is to act as a catalyst or agent for change. Their role is to help you figure out what you really want and then decide on the right solution for you. Some reasons that you might want to work with a coach like me:
- You have more than a niggling feeling that life isn’t all that it could be and you don’t know what to do about it.
- Maybe you want to get back into paid work or start a business after a career break or redundancy.
- You’re stuck in a job that you don’t enjoy but you don’t know how to take the first steps.
- You’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious and scared, maybe trapped by your lack of self-confidence.
- You’ve lost your sense of self or sense of identity.
- You’re going through the motions and don’t know how to break out of the routine.
- Or maybe you lack confidence to go out and get that promotion that you deserve.
- Or actually you feel like you’re doing everything to get that promotion and it’s just not happening, and you don’t understand why.
- Your business is at a plateau and needs an injection of energy and inspiration.
- You wonder whether there is a better way to manage the work-life-family balance.
What can a coach help you do
Some of the individuals I have coached wanted to:
- Get off to a good start in a new role.
- Identify the steps in the transition back to work after a career break or redundancy.
- Rebuild confidence to return to work.
- Launch a new business that fits with family life.
- Better manage an existing business around family.
- Manage the work-life balance more confidently and not feel so overwhelmed.
- Decide what one thing to focus on first.
How does a coach work
A coach can work with individuals or with a group. Whichever option you prefer, you can expect your coach to provide a safe environment where dreams and challenges can be shared without judgement or repercussion. ‘Safe’ in this context is about holding the space so that you feel safe to be honest and open. When you work with a coach, you may find yourself being encouraged beyond your comfort zone.
You can expect your coaching sessions to be positive, proactive, personal and in the present. As the client, you retain control over your goals and their challenges. You may be asked to complete a preliminary questionnaire. Many coaches offer a complimentary clarity session or discovery session.
Currently in the UK, coaching is not a regulated profession which means that somebody can claim the title of coach without a formally recognised training or qualification. I trained and qualified with The Coaching Academy (ICF accredited) and just recently TCA’s Coach-Mentor Training Programme. Check who your coach trained with.
Many coaches use the GROW model in which case a session would follow a format similar to this:
- identify and get clear on your GOAL i.e. what you want to achieve and why
- explore the current REALITY – what resources or experiences you have or need
- brainstorm the OPTIONS and ideas to achieve your goal
- and finally, commit to the WAY FORWARD and the actions that you will take.
A coach does not tell you what to do. Rather, through coaching questions, you will find the answers within you. Maybe you’re wondering how that can possibly work however a coach is very skilled at asking questions, reflecting back and when necessary challenging your answers. Most coaches will use a combination of active listening and practical exercises to help you find the right answers. It’s amazing what knowledge and answers you have within when you are being listened to, properly listened to, by somebody who cares and yet has no hidden agenda for you.
A coach is very much future-focused whereas a counsellor tends to explore what happened in the past, and a consultant will give you advice based on their specialist experience.
Some coaches only work face-to-face. Others work online e.g. Skype. Or a combination of the two. If you are a busy mum, you might want to ask about timing of your sessions – daytime or evenings or maybe weekends. Personally I love to work face-to-face at the start of the relationship and then work over Skype for follow-up sessions. However with international clients too, often all our sessions are done online.
Many coaches only work with individuals. However I am also a big believer in the power of group coaching. When like-minded women gather together, magic happens and the result is always bigger than the sum of the parts.
How to find the right coach
Ask around for recommendations. Although a good coach could coach you in any topic because the expertise is in the questions and the listening skills, most of us feel more comfortable working with a coach who has specific experience in the challenge that you face. Perhaps she has lived that experience herself or she has undertaken additional specialist training, or it simply comes down to years of experience helping others in that same or similar situation.
You can search online or check an online coaching directory. Check out some coaches and their websites. As I mentioned earlier, most coaches will offer a complimentary discovery session. Sometimes referred to as a clarity call or introduction conversation or discovery call. Book a few with different coaches.
Get a feel for the coach and whether you can build trust and rapport with that person.
More than anything, trust in your gut instinct.
How much does a good coach charge?
The cost of a coaching session varies enormously. Like with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Typically the more you pay, the more experienced the coach is, however that’s not always the case. I would suggest you would expect to pay an absolute minimum of £50 per session. At the other end of the scale, I hear of coaches who charge £10,000 for a one day VIP session. The investment is not necessarily a reflection of the coach’s experience.
To get good traction, you will normally be expected to commit to a set number of sessions e.g. 6 or 8 sessions. Depending on your challenge, I know some coaches who offer one-off sessions to deal with a very specific challenge. I have done that for summer – a one-off session to help you minimise the overwhelm of trying to balance career or business with family during the school holidays.
How do I guarantee the results
This is the tough one … a coach cannot guarantee results. Particularly as you are the one doing the work – the coach is the catalyst, your agent for change. There are no magic wands. No matter what you want to achieve, you need to make the right decisions, make the commitment and then most importantly it is down to you to take action. (Though a good coach will call you out if you keep not following through on the actions).
Quite honestly you can get those beautiful blue skies and golden sunshine every day, without working with a coach, if you put your mind to it. However when you want to fast track your way there, working with a coach is an incredibly powerful way of getting there more directly and with less overwhelm.