Where are you at in life? Do you want to reach a new level of success, but don’t know how to proceed? Maybe you know you need a significant change but are stuck with indecision and muddy thinking. Finding a life coach can and does help. With them by your side, you stay focused and accountable to the goals you set. Plus, get proven strategies that turn your dreams into reality and help you move forward with clarity of thought and confidence.

The best life coaches help you through life’s challenges and day-to-day stress and strengthen your mindset so you can achieve what you set your mind to. So here are 9 tips to help you choose your life coach wisely.

9 tips to help you find a life coach that you’ll love

1. Check their credentials

Life coaching is currently an unregulated industry which means anyone can refer to themselves as a life coach. Find a life coach with credentials (e.g. International Coach Federation) that adhere to stringent standards of professional coach-specific training, performance evaluation and relevant experience. Professional life coaches adhere to a strict code of ethics where confidentiality is key. 

2. Do your needs fall into their speciality?

There are coaches out there who are ‘super-strong generalists.’ They really know how to dig in and help their clients excavate what is most important to them. More specialist areas include coaching through a divorce, career coaching, leadership or team coaching and even maternity coaching or coaching for young people making a transition. The best advice is to ask your potential coach if your needs fall into their speciality.

3. Try before you buy

Find a life coach you feel comfortable with, and you are halfway there. A good coach will offer a complimentary “chemistry” session so you can be confident that this is the right partnership for you. Here are a few things to look for in your ‘chemistry’ session:

  • Your coach should discuss the coaching relationship and his/her style of coaching with you. 
  • Discuss adherence to client privacy and confidentiality with you and set any expectations for note-taking and availability of notes for you to look at. 
  • Crucially, your life coach should explain that it is ok to say you’d rather not proceed and not push you for the reason why. Sometimes it can simply come down to the ‘chemistry’ and that works both ways. 

4. Personality counts

Relationships rule the world, and whilst your coach certainly should not act like your best friend, you do need to feel a connection with them. A coaching relationship is based on trust, honesty and nurturing. That said, effective life coaching involves a healthy dose of a challenge too so as your relationship develops you need to feel comfortable about sharing what drives you, what makes you feel great and also what scares you!

5. Commitment

When finding a life coach, be wary of any coach attempting to lock you into an endless contract, but do understand that change takes time and effort. For example, a typical resilience coaching programme with us ranges between 3 and 9 months of commitment. Frequency of sessions often involve either weekly or monthly meet-ups but should be flexible to your needs and scheduled around any potential timelines for achievement.

6. Define what ‘success’ looks like

What are you trying to achieve? How do you want to feel? How can a coach assist you in getting there? Coaching sessions are all about you and your chosen focus. Coaching is based on helping you unlock YOUR potential and helping you find solutions to move forward with confidence and focus. Be wary of any coach who tries to engineer what success looks like for you. A good coach provides a safe and confidential environment in which you can explore and challenge your thinking and find the best way forward for you.  

7. Good life coaching takes the guess work out of purpose and performance

Potentially, the main intent for engaging a coach is around managing weakness. Perhaps concerns around not been ‘good enough’ or confident enough to move forward with our chosen goal. A good coach avoids opinion and works with you to use specialised assessment tools designed to help you understand and unleash your signature strengths, whilst navigating any weaknesses. Ask your coach how they will discover hidden perspectives and use frameworks and robust assessments. What assessments do they use, and is it included in their fee? Why do they use the assessments they’ve chosen and, what training have they had to administer and interpret the results? 

8. Ask for success stories

Ask for a success story or two. When they share, it will tell you how they define success so you can see if it aligns with how you define success.  

9. Consider going it alone

Now I know that might sound strange and as a professional coach, I’d always advocate working with one. That said, to help as many people as possible, we launched a suite of online offers earlier this year. 

Our online resilience and coaching courses give you the skills you need to coach yourself through life, and if you need a helping hand, our team of coaches are there for you. With options ranging from a FREE “reset your mind” seven-day email course to a full transform your life in an eight-week programme, there is something there for you. Whoever, and where ever you are right now.

The Bottom line

The journey to find a life coach who challenges and empowers you takes attention and care, but it’s worth the investment. Whatever your goal, a life coach can help you get where you are going and even exceed your biggest dreams. Whenever you find a potential life coach, make sure to ask as many follow up questions as you need to feel comfortable.  If you still feel uneasy, find a different coach to work with.

Any coach worth their professional salt will understand your decision and should never ask you to explain your decision.