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.

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Client Stories

 I was looking to make large changes in my life, both job and city.  I was a happy midwestern resident for nearly 30 years but wanted to see what life on a coast was like and get a dream job.  This was a tall order and going into it I thought I would have to make large compromises on parts of my dreams to get any of it.  

I went to Lori to help me achieve these dreams.  It was the best decision I made.

She focused on two things right out of the gate:
  1. clarify my goals, both personal and professional
  2. get me to stop selling myself short

These twin achievements allowed me to approach my hunt with confidence, patience and focus.  My original dream job was to try and combine my technical joys with a personal one.  I enjoy large scale data processing with cutting edge tools, music and baseball.  Through the tools Lori taught me and helped me unearth in myself I got that gig that would have fallen into day dream territory before our work together.  

And yeah, there's platinum records on the walls of my lobby and I have tons of data to process.

Pat Christopher, Intelligence Engineer, Seattle, WA