Hire a professional coach, not a hobbyist

This is a companion post to https://unearthyourworth.com/questions-to-ask-before-you-hire-a-resume-writer/.  Here is the conversation I had when meeting a new contact for coffee on Friday.  He had printed out pages from my website (my other website www.CoachforaBetterLife.com) and was looking at it when he asked, “So is this what you do?  Or what you’re doing to fill in your time between jobs?”

At first I was offended, thinking, “Did you look at my site?  Do you see my services?” but then I realized, this is probably the smartest question a person can ask when considering hiring a coach.  “Is this your primary business?”  (Of course, my response was, I am a coach.  This is what I do, this is what I love.  I have had my business since 2007 – but have been coaching people for many years.) 

There are many people today who have lost their jobs, and view coaching as something they can do on the side until they get their next job.  That’s a hobby, not a profession.  One problem I have with that is this – do you really want help with your career, your job search, from someone who is currently unemployed?  Now I have no issue with you consulting with trusted peers and mentors, people you have a relationship with, people who have already earned your trust.  But odds are, they aren’t going to charge you for their help.  So again I ask you – do you want to hire someone who is between jobs themselves?  If they’re not getting work, how can you trust their expertise?

Clearly, I think that’s a fabulous question to ask a coach: “Is this what you do?”
Here’s a short list of other questions worth asking.

  • How long have you been doing this?
  • What results have you helped your clients achieve?
  • What is your specialty?
  • What is your typical client like?
  • How long do you typically work with a client?
  • What is your process, or approach to coaching?
  • What other products and services do you offer?
  • Do you have a website?
  • And, of course, how much do you charge?

This is not an exhaustive list. And it assumes that you know what you want from a coach, and from a coaching experience.  I just want you to be aware that there are “hobbyists” and “professionals” out there.  And to be able to filter out the “hobbyists” from the “professionals”.  

I’d love to hear from you – what questions would you ask.

2 comments to Hire a professional coach, not a hobbyist

  • Glenn Turner

    I agree. However, I think this type of question will normally come from a person with little or poor knowledge of what coaching really offers. Business executives and professionals are now generally aware of the benefits of coaching.

    I do agree that as far as looking for and ultimately selecting a coach these questions you propose are very relevant. Many people are claiming to be coaches when they are really offering expert consulting services. In addition to asking about the process utilized I think asking about training is a great question.

  • Thanks, Glenn, for your comments. I agree that more people are aware of the benefits of coaching. I also think it is important to interview any coach you are considering hiring – to find out about their specific experience and expertise.

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I hired Lori because I was feeling stuck in my job and needed to find a career that was more rewarding, more challenging, and more suited to me.  In the arts, it's difficult to find a job you enjoy that also pays enough to live on, but Lori helped me do just that! 

As we worked together, Lori always helped give me that extra nudge when I was having trouble taking the next step toward success and acknowledged and applauded me when I accomplished something that I'd been struggling with. 

Thanks to Lori, I got out of my 8-year rut at the same job and discovered a new career I love that brings me all of the things I want in a job--creativity, variety, challenge, learning, flexibility, teamwork, and cake.  With no professional experience but a desire to learn, Lori helped me find ways to become a cake decorator--first on my own and then, eventually, at a reputable cake shop.  Now, something I used to do just for fun has become something I make my living doing, and each workday flies by!

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