If you are someone who wants to talk to a professional about their problems or challenges or if you'd like to improve some area of your life, health, career or relationship, then speaking to a coach can be a good start. There are a lot of wonderful people out there doing great work who can really help you with your problems or challenges so it’s important to choose the right person for you. So here are some of the things to look out for that will help you with your decision.
Look for someone who:
Understands your problem
It’s essential that they understand you and your problem before going any further. This is one of the most important parts of the sessions as it determines a lot of what will go on in the sessions. The coach should have a wide background knowledge in various subjects such as; depression, anxiety, eating problems, relationship issues, career challenges, interpersonal challenges and family troubles etc. Make sure when you speak to them that they understand exactly what is going on with you and that you feel free to ask them questions to ensure that they are the right person for you.
Can empathise with you
It’s important that your coach can see the challenges that you have and understand why they are difficult for you. Let’s face it, no-one wants to feel like what is difficult for them, is actually very easy for other people and that it’s not really a problem at all. Different people struggle with different issues throughout their lives which is normal, so we need to take that into account. If you feel that they don’t see why your problem is challenging for you, try to help them understand more clearly or look for someone who you feel you can build rapport with from the start. It’s best to continue with the same person you started with so make every effort to get it right from the beginning.
Is a patient listener
Everyone knows that listening is a essential skill in communication. A good coach will be able to listen to what you say and will also hear what you don’t say. Sometimes, the most sensitive issues are difficult to even verbalise so we avoid doing it. The coach should be able to hear both of these types of communication and deal with them individually. So if you want to want to talk to someone, make sure that they want to listen to you. It sounds overly simple, but often we can find ourselves caught trying to speak to people who aren’t interested in what we have to say for various reasons.
Is goal focused and interested in the solution to your problem
Sometimes we need to find practical solutions to our problems and sometimes we know what to do and how to do it but we need someone to give us a push in the right direction. Finding the particular leverage points that help to motivate someone can be a tricky process. It should be something that means enough to the person that they are willing to make a change for it. Your coach should be able to find these leverage points and use them effectively to motivate you to take action.
Is creative and flexible
He/she should be able to adjust the session based on your needs. As situations in your life change, you may need something different from what you originally came to the sessions for. Also, it’s important to realise that different people communicate in different ways, so they should find the way that works best for you. The sessions may need to take place with different people or in different locations depending on the situation, so every good coach should be open to being creative and flexible. Furthermore, working with someone who is willing to pull out all of the stops to get results for you, is a really good sign of their commitment.
Has a strong sense of ethics
This is important in all fields and coaching is no different. This means that you know that what you say to your coach will be held in confidence and that you know the information won’t be shared without your knowledge or consent. Building a trusting relationship at the start is an essential part of the process and should not be underestimated. Make sure that you feel safe in the environment so that you can speak freely about what’s going on with you.
That is easy to understand
It’s all too easy to use complicated language that may sound impressive in the moment. However, it may get lost on the listener if the meaning or the message is unclear. That’s why it is essential for a coach to focus on clear and concise language so that the client can feel reassured that they know what is meant. All the impressive language in the world is no good if people can't understand the meaning of it. Again, this sounds like a simple step, but it’s a very important one if you’re going to have a successful outcome.
Finds your answers rather than only trying to give you theirs
A lot of us love giving advice and it can be extremely easy to fall into this trap especially if we think we know the answer or a good solution for someone else’s problem. However, in coaching, we focus on the client finding the answer for themselves so that it becomes a more powerful message. I truly believe that we all know the answers to many of our problems and challenges, we just need to the time, the energy and the patience to discover them.
Never loses hope in you or your situation
For people who have really tough life situations or problems that seem unsolvable, it is crucial that the coach never loses hope. It’s true that some problems are unsolvable by their very nature, however there is always something that can be done. Having hope in our future is such an important thing for everyone, that we must do everything we can to develop it and to maintain it. It’s not something that is always easy, but it can be done.
Is open minded
Everyone wants to feel accepted by the person they’re speaking to before the share their problems or challenges. We have so much fantastic variety in our world that people come in all shapes and sizes, all colours, all types of sexual orientation and all types of beliefs systems. Regardless of all these differences, everyone wants to be happy. People have different ways of showing it and achieving it, but ultimately that’s what we all want. So it’s vitally important that your coach is open-minded and can understand where you’re coming from or at least be open to learning more about where you’re coming from.
Finally, I hope that you have found some good insights in this post about how to find the coach that’s right for you. Of course, your coach doesn’t have to have all of the qualities that I’ve mentioned above and this choice is very particular to each individual, but make sure to look out for as many of them as you can before making your decision. Ultimately, all of the coaches, therapists or counsellors have your best interests at heart so once you find the one you’d like to work with, enjoy the process and look forward to the new changes in your life.
Thanks for reading.