Ways to Choose a Good Coach

If you are convinced that a coach would be the right “intervention” professional for yourself or your organization, how do you go about choosing the right one? Here are some ways you can do so.

1 Coaching Qualifications

Ask them where they get their coaching training from, and for how long. By international coaching standards, they should have logged at least 100 coaching hours before they are competent to coach others. Be careful of those who are “jack of all trade” where they are consultant, trainer, coach etc. Can they make a good coach? A tip here: ask them what is coaching and what they as a coach would do for you. Use your gut feelings to help you decide if you are satisfied with their answers.

2 Coaching Experiences

Ask them to narrate their coaching work and experiences that they do for individuals and/or organizations. Find out the kind of individuals and/or organizations they are representing. It will tell you a lot about them.

3 Coaching References

Although coaching clients may be reluctant to talk to you, you may be able to find some who are willing to share about their coach’s abilities and whether they are satisfied with the services they provide. Find out the coaching techniques that they use.

4 Coaching Terms & Conditions

This is a must in order to determine the type of coaching relationship you want. All these areas need to be discussed and agreed: duration, frequency, logistics, replacements dates and coaching fees.

5 Coaching Trial Session

It is common to ask for a free trial session where you can experience coaching with a coach. Liken it to the small cup of free coffee offered to you by the promoter at the supermarket. It gives you the opportunity to see and feel whether you are “triggered” by the coaching proceedings, the rapport building, the questions asked and the new ways

you are beginning to think! And, it will reveal to you what will happen if you were to engage a coach.

6 Coaching-Personality

Since it is certain that you will meet the coach face to face, you will have first-hand experience to find out more about him/her such as self-projection, self-credibility, self-confidence, the questions they asked and the answers they provided, and most of all, whether you feel you will be in the good hands of someone you can truly trust and rely upon.

Coaching Workouts

1 What would be some reasons why you should engage a coach? What are you looking for in a good coach? How do you define “good”?

2 What are you prepared to “give up” if you were to engage a coach? What are you not prepared to give up? Why not?

3 Of the 6 areas above, which one would you be prepared to compromise? What would be some consequences of this choice?

Coaching, Distinctively Different!

I want to talk about something different today, that is, what’s the difference between coaching and other helping or intervention professionals such as therapists, mentors, consultants, etc.
 
Let me share a testimonial. A doctor client in a coaching conversation said this to me, “It has been a long time since someone like you are spending every minute of this conversation just talking and listening about me. In my profession, I tell people what they are, what they need, and they have to listen to me.”
 
Very often, I can see the faces of my coaching clients lit up and look so fascinated yet so touched that everything is centered on them!
 
This is what happens when you put people in the center of the coaching relationship. Coaches like other helping professionals such as mentors, consultants and counselors have to learn this and faithfully follow this golden rule that their relationship with their clients must reflect their needs. It is an intentional design which offers value of meaning and usefulness to the persons receiving them.
 
How do we put people as the main focus in a coaching session? There are at least 3 aspects.
 
1) FOCUS. Both the coach and client focuses on the client. This makes the relationship different from a “friendship” type where both parties take turns to share the spotlight. In coaching, the spotlight rests brightly and firmly on the client with the coach acknowledging his/her humanness!
 
2) CONTENT. In coaching, the client sets the agenda, and comes out with the issues or topic they want to work on in the session. This approach differs from many other helping professions where the professionals such as organizational consultants, therapists, human resource professionals set the agenda rather than the client. They offer valuable services but they are not coaching. In coaching, the client has the opportunity to direct the conversation, although the coach manages the coaching process and structure.
 
3) STYLE. Both the coach and client brings their own relating styles to the conversation, ie the way they talk to each other including the pace, tone, gravity etc. Coaches are keen observers and will follow the lead of their clients and match their moods accordingly.
 
And at the end of it all, the client feels that they have been heard and the coach cares about them! And this is one secret ingredient that makes coaching so life-transforming and empowering for many!
 
Coaching Workouts
 
  • Try spending time with a child. Let the child sets the agenda for the time together. After that, think about the experience.
  • Think of a time when someone places all his/her attention on you. What did the person do or not do, and how do you feel?
  • When are the times when you wanted to push forward your agenda? What prompted you to do it? What did you learn from it? What would you do now to put the spotlight on the other person rather than on yourself?

Fighters of a Different Kind


It has been 3 months since I started my blog. What an insightful and pleasant journey it has been as my thoughts and reflections reach out far and wide to my friends, fellow coaches and the cyberworld at large!

Coming back to my last post, I hope you have found it useful to reflect on things I have shared as you go through your daily life. I encourage you to share your thoughts etc with me and others who have been following my blog, by clicking on “Comment”. You can also forward the blog post to your friends who might be needing a “virtual helping hand” in their moments of discouragement or dilemma.

In this post, I want to share something about fighters. It is not a story about Mohammad Ali or Mike Tyson. They may fight for fame and money. Many of us do not have the muscles or the ambitions to be world-beaters in the boxing ring. Instead, we want to be fighters of a different kind, where the battles are everyday affairs. Let me explain a bit more.

In life, many of us have no choice but to fight especially those of us who have ever faced illness or a life-threatening situation. Similarly, a mother will fight in childbirth to delivery her baby safely, and a new jobseeker will fight to secure a job. There are other battles where we fight for love, security, acceptance and a better way of life. And of course, there are those martyrs who are prepared to die in their fight for freedom from oppression.

Nearer home, there are enough for us to fight the good fight in our everyday lives even as we strive to live by our principles of decency, integrity and leading by example.

The problem I have struggled with for a long time is reconciling the concept of “going with the flow of life” and “fighting the good fight”. At first glance, they seem to be incompatible; in reality, they are not. “Going with the flow” does not mean that we passively take in whatever life dishes out, or that life is always smooth and wonderful.
For me, that is what “fighting the good fight” is all about – making a stand and doing your best according to your conscience and what you know is right.

So, I salute you with “fight the good fight” as a clarion call to be warriors of light (to borrow a term from Paulo Coelho) with the intention to leave this world a better place than when we came into it! Come to think of it, it is a fight all on its own where, with each battle, we send out some ripples into the world!