Coaching can help you unlock your potential so what do you need to know before you engage a coach?
There are a few things for you to think about before you start googling for coaches. You will get much more bang for your buck if you understand a few basic things about coaching.
What Can You Expect from a Coach?
Coaching is an unregulated profession that is supported by professional associations. It is important that you understand what you can expect from a coach. In Australia, there is a handbook called Coaching in Orgnisations which is endorsed by Standards Australia. The handbook provides a lot of useful information for buyers of coaching services, trainers and educators of coaches and for coaching professional bodies. A coach can be called any number of things such as Leadership Coach, Executive Coach, Business Coach, Career Coach and Life Coach.
You can expect a professional coach will:
- safeguard your confidentiality
- Help you identify and spell out your goals using goal setting techniques
- Re-confirm your goals as sessions progress
- Use structured questioning to evoke awareness in you to help you realise you goals
Coaches are typically not psychologists. The purpose of coaching is to help you realise your professional potential and unlock any limiting beliefs. This is achieved by structured questioning. It is important to understand that as a client you are 100% in control of the session. A reasonable coach will support you in ending a coaching relationship that is not working for you.
Whilst coaches are not regulated in the same way as financial planners psychologists there are professional bodies that stipulate Codes of Ethics as well as professional competencies.
What Type of Coaching Am I Looking For?
Coaches work in many domain practices. This can be confusing so it helps if you have a general idea about what you want to achieve before you talk to a coach. A coach can help you refine your thinking into a series of goals, steps or actions depending on what works for you. The different areas of coaching include:
- Career Coaching: You want to think about your next career step or your longer term career. A career coach helps you put the pieces together for a career including how your current skills and interests fit together.
- Leadership Coaching: You may be running a business and the number of people you employ is growing. You know want to lift your personal leadership so that your team is productive. A leadership coach coupled with some training can help you make that transition from solo operator to leading people in your business
- Business Coaching: You have started your business in an area you know well. You need help developing your business plan and working out the business trajectory. A business coach can help you take you business aspiration and break it down into actionable steps to deliver a business plan.
There is a myriad of coaching domains and this focuses on the few that I get asked about the most. You don’t need to know the specifics of what you want to achieve as the coach will help you. You do need to have a general idea so you can make the first conversation with a coach a meaningful one.
What Will Happen in Coaching Sessions?
The coaching session will typically start with a ‘chemistry session’ where you decide if you can work with the coach and vice versa. It is important at this early stage that you can see some foundation for a solid rapport. The coach will then work with you to help you clarify your goals. The coach will not typically offer too much advice as the work is for you to develop your own goals that you are committed to rather than simply doing what the coaches tells you to do. You will be challenged, improve your self-awareness and thinking skills. The point of coaching is enable you to build your skills rather than simply create a dependency on the coach. The coach’s job is to help you realise your full potential rather than act as an advisor telling you precisely what to do. This creates independence.
There is a simple video which is worth watching to give you an overview of the coaching process and some coaching terms
Finding and Checking Out a Coach
Like many services we engage, coaches are often found through word of mouth. You can also go to professional bodies like the International Coach Federation “find a coach” page. Remember that coaches as a profession are not specifically regulated by law in Australia. Anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a coach. Check that your coach has:
- a coaching qualification of some sort from a recognised institution. Spend some time and google the institution to check its bona fides
- Work experience as a coach – either internally or externally
- Specific qualifications you might see as valuable e.g. Bachelors’ degree, MBA etc
- Accreditation with a professional organisation e.g. ICF, AHRI, IECL are a few in Australia
- Their own recent development and how they have kept themselves current
- Check their social media profile and presence e.g. their website, LinkedIn profile etc
Okay – so how much should I pay?
Coaches will typically pitch their rate depending on the experience of the client. A more experienced client (say a senior executive in a large multinational) will require a higher level of competency and experience to coach than a first time manager. The basic principles remain the same, however, the skill level brought to bear on the issues are different and, typically, less complex. A very broad price range you can expect to pay is in the order of $200 to $800 an hour. The handbook of organisational coaching offers this guidance in addition to hourly rates:
- Set of sessions: $5,000 to $13,000 per set of 10 sessions.
- Per Program: a program of coaching is provided over a defined period of time. An average six month program is $11,000 and an average 12 month program costs $17,000
These rates are nearly 10 years old so you may need to add some inflationary impact.
There are options for corporate clients to pay a percentage of the coachee’s salary as the fee.
Want to Know More?
I will write up future blogs on the benefits of coaching and other coaching related topics.
In the meantime, go to our website to set up a free initial consultation.