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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Client Stories

What did you need at the time you hired Lori?

I wanted to work in my industry and didn't know how to progress any further than I was. I knew I had much experience that could be put in the industry of my choice but not how to parlay that experience. I needed guidance.

What did you and Lori do together?

Many, many things. Overall, to get clear in my mind what I offered and really what I wanted in a work environment. Every week was another epiphany after another. One of my favorites was the "knowing your core values". Having had some experience on this subject I was all ready to dive-in. Core Values is key. Knowing your core values. 

Lori makes it so easy to pinpoint. One time we were speaking about something else and we both realized...OMG...that is a core value for me. I hadn't written it down before, but discovered later that if ever a core value fit me...it was the one I mentioned at that time.  Knowing that piece of information also answered a long standing question in my head.  One of the "why's" as to my constant upset with other places I had worked.

What were the results from working with Lori?

Many things. One is a great looking resume. I thought, wow, I look good and it was all from work I had already done elsewhere but didn't know how to say it or present it. Another is the clarity of knowing where I will feel good when I do work. What I really want and with the kind of people I really want to work with on a daily basis. This entire process is so valuable. The best money I ever spent and I am not kidding or exaggerating. I was only hoping it would be valuable and it really was valuable.< I know stuff and it has value and is marketable. Lori showed me those things and it gives me confidence.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Lori delivers above and beyond. The highest quality of exchange, 'more than you expected.' I told my friends this over and over: 'I wish I had her 10-20-even 30 years ago.' Every one, and I mean EVERYONE, needs a Lori. Her understanding,patience, how she problem solves, putting things in simple terms, was mind blowing. I wish I could that well. I present a problem and she could turn it around and yes...another epiphany.

Lori, is worth every penny. It isn't about a title. It is about enjoying everyday doing work you love with people you like and are like minded. You'll know what you are looking for when you interview.  I never say this, but I will say it here. Lori is a major key into the rest of my life doing what I always wanted to do. That is: Being happy doing what I do, everyday. Something I have been saying for years. Allowing Sherlock...to be Sherlock.  Finding my people. They are out there and now I know what I am looking for in that respect.


Sherlock Ganz, Los Angeles, CA