How to Find Your Ideal Coach

Deconstructing the Elusive World of Coaching

Coaching Find your coach


Jasleen Sidhu

Is There a Coach for That?

It seems like almost anyone can call themselves a coach. I'll be honest, coaching is a term that is widely used and unregulated. But, that is quickly changing as the world of coaching becomes more competitive and job seekers, employees, and employers alike are educating themselves on what constitutes a legitimate coach.

Who is a Coach to Tell Me What to Do?

Spoiler alert! Coaches aren't supposed to tell you what to do! Or another way to put it: a good coach tells you what to do; a great coach brings in a custom approach, tools and structure to navigate uncertain, complex issues. Great coaches elicit your unique strengths, values, beliefs, mindset and goals. They observe, rather than judge, and help you create the alignment you want.

The ICF (International Coaching Federation) defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole."

If you're unfamiliar with coaching- the best way to explain it is to compare it to other roles like counseling and mentoring. This diagram illustrates this relationship in terms of the approach (asking questions, co-creating solutions).

Of course, keep in mind that overlap of roles will exist. For example, sometimes counseling involves a solutions-focused approach, and some consultants initially coach before giving advice.

In this regard, depending on a coach’s area of expertise, they may also wear different “hats,” so to speak. For example, as a coach I have extensive experience in Human Resources and Talent Development. I want to ensure the client is getting the most value from my services, so I am flexible in my approach.

A great coach will also do their research to bring in tools to enhance your coaching experience. Common areas coaches specialize in or draw from are:

  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)
  • Business Building Research
  • Leadership Development
  • Social Justice
  • Psychometrics
  • The list goes on and on....

How to Choose a Coach

  1. Credentials & Client Results Over Industry Experience - If you are looking for someone who has achieved a very specific goal within a specific industry, chances are you are looking for a mentor. Coaching and mentorship work well in tandem. Coaches often do have relevant experience, but it's important for coaches to remain unbiased and help you find your most authentic path, recognizing who you are on a deeper level and the multiple approaches that are proven to work.

  2. Be Clear on Your Values - It's important to find a coach who has similar values because their credentials, tools, approach, and programs will align to these values. As a customer, you are not one-dimensional. You may need career support for example, but are also a parent with aging parents who need your support. A coach who values family will have approaches that are inclusive to you.

  3. Meet with Multiple Coaches - set up short meet and greets to get a sense on whether or not you "click" and feel safe with sharing personal information. This also gives you an opportunity to ask questions about credentials, values, and style.

  4. Price & Availability - Make sure you're clear on your budget, how many hours you're willing to invest (I recommend 1-2 hours/ month for a minimum of 3 months to start; eventually tapering to 30 mins- an hour depending on how your goals shift). And of course you need to know they will have availability in their calendar during the timeslots you can commit to coaching.

  5. Style - think about what style you need. Do you need someone who is more holistic and flexible in their approach? Or, do you prefer someone who is direct, and focused. Ask the coach an open-ended question: "how would you describe your style?" Take notes and think about how this aligns to your style. Pro tip: Don't choose a style that is the same as yours, rather what will complement yours and align to your goals. A good question that helps you get clear on this is, "what style has worked for me in the past to accomplish a daunting goal?"

  6. Niche - Ask the coach what their niche is. Who have they helped the most? To achieve what goals? Again, its all about alignment with your goals. See below for a list of niches.

Examples of Career Coaching Niches:

  • Job Search- including resumés, mock interviews and salary negotiation
  • Career Advancement - navigating corporate politics and soft skill development
  • Leadership - motivating and influencing others and building strategic and business competence whether you aspire to c-suite, or simply managing teams effectively now or in the future
  • Confidence- overcoming imposter syndrome
  • Overcoming Systemic Discrimination- understanding on a deeper, systemic level the issues you face based on your unique (often underrepresented) identity; ex. gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, etc. Understnafing of labour law and HR/ management practices
  • Career Transition (managing uncertainty and change around career pivots, new industry/ niche, retirement, career breaks, etc)
  • Career Mapping - determining what your ideal career aspirations are and identifying the types of roles and development that will get you there
  • Business Coaching- Developing competency as a CEO or Founder, including practicing solid pitches, gaining funding, building resiliency, resourcefulness, and leadership capability
  • Executive Coaching- Similar to Leadership Coaching, on a higher, more strategic level when the stakes are high

Now Go Find That Coach

Hopefully, this post helped create a frame of what coaching can be, and how to make sure you select the right coach best suited for YOU. Hireclub has one of the most diverse groups of coaches out there. We believe we have a coach for everyone.

We even offer a FREE coach matching session to make sure we find you the best fit. If you see a niche that you need represented - we want to know! Email and we hope to continue building our community for all the niches you need within the realm of Career.

Comment below and let me know if you learned something new or if you still have questions...




Robert Hislop Insightful and interesting article


Jasleen Sidhu Thanks Robert!

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