One of the most common questions that I am asked when consulting with business owners in Washington DC is, “How do I find a good coach?” It is a perfectly understandable line of enquiry. It’s just as pertinent as asking, “How do I find a good builder?” I remember asking the same question to myself when I did some work on my house several years ago. I met a lot of so-called builders and roofers during that process. They were the so called charlatans pretending to be what they were not. So here’s how I recommend you start your due diligence when looking to hire a personal leadership coach.
Steps for Hiring a Life or Leadership Coach
- Do a Google search. If you intend to meet your coach face-to-face, make it a local search – within 15 miles
- Create a shortlist of those whose message/website appeals/resonates
- Interview each individual
Questions to Ask a Potential Coach
- What is your background and experience?
- What compelled you to become a coach?
- What is your coaching philosophy?
- What do you consider coaching to be?
- What formal training have you received?
- What current self-improvement initiatives are investing in? (This is vitally important for reasons I’ll explain shortly)
- How long have you been professionally practicing?
- How many clients have you served and how many do you have now?
- How many hours of coaching have you completed?
When qualifying a potential leadership coach, you will want to know what, if any, professional organizations they are associated with. This doesn’t mean they’re the “real deal” by the way. Even though they might be affiliated with an association, some are still charlatans. More importantly, ask for the name of their own coach! Some people may believe that this level of scrutiny is “over the top”, but I can assure you it isn’t.
“Coaching, as well as being one of most misunderstood and misrepresented practices in the world, is the most powerful process of change and improvement known to mankind.” – Helmut Herder
Coaching is an Investment
Coaching is an investment in the most important asset you’ll ever have – YOU. Since YOU are such an important investment, do your due diligence. I mean, it’s only your life after all. It’s only your results, your aspirations, your success, your happiness, your fulfillment, your relationships, your health, your prosperity and wealth we’re talking about.
Seems to me, when the stakes are that high, it pays to know you’re dealing with a professional, the “real deal”. Someone who walks their talk, is constantly working on improving themselves. To raise your “inner game” and own self consciousness, it takes more than dipping into a self-help book every day, it takes a professional. This, far more than any other criteria, is the ultimate quality you should insist upon when looking to invest in someone who can help you grow and live far more successfully.
Before I explain why, I should point out that I’ve invested heavily in hiring my personal coaches. It’s the best investment I’ve ever made. I wouldn’t be who I am, doing what I’m doing, living the successful life I’m living, if it wasn’t for the coaching process and the coaches who brought it to me. There’ll never be a better investment than an investment in yourself, which is incredibly ironic when you consider the vast majority of the human race are willing to invest in anything but themselves. Such is the nature of self-ignorance.
Of all the disciplines I mention in my presentations, coaching, mentoring and training, are significantly different in their execution and impact, by far the closest association is between coaching, counselling and psychotherapy. All 3 share a common objective in raising consciousness – helping an individual “awaken”, to become more self-aware, by bringing light (awareness) to the darkness of ignorance. Yet there are still some fundamental differences and very clear boundaries between them – which I’m about to explain.
The Difference Between Coaching, Counseling and Psychotherapy
Yes, for sure, there’s no getting away from the fact there’s some grey area of common practice between the 3 disciplines and, to the untrained eye, the waters can get a little murky, so here’s the fundamental difference:
Coaching deals with the present with an eye to shaping a much better future. It references the past for context only. The premise of coaching is that the individual is resourceful and “whole” today, doesn’t need “fixing”, and is equipped to shape life accordingly on their own terms.
Counseling and psychotherapy deal mostly, if not almost exclusively, with matters in the past – unresolved, deep-seated emotional issues and trauma that are impacting an individual’s ability to be resourceful in the present. The premise of psychotherapy and counseling is that the individual is, at some level, dysfunctional.
Unless suitably trained in counseling or therapy, a coach isn’t equipped to deal with severe emotional trauma – and can do far more harm than good by attempting to.
ABOUT HELMUT SERVICES
Helmut Services is led by Helmut Herder, a professional leadership coach, business mentor and mastermind facilitator in Leesburg, VA. With over 30 years of corporate management experience, Helmut Herder consults with CEO’s, executives and business owners to help them achieve their goals and needs in life. A certified John Maxwell team member, Helmut Services offers proven methodologies and effective coaching techniques for business leaders throughout the U.S.