Tips for Choosing a Coach

While career coaches and pageant coaches were almost unheard of twenty years ago, the use of these types of coaches has grown rapidly over the last five to ten years.  Even though paid sports coaches have been around for a very long time, the profession of career coaching and pageant coaching is still a fairly new concept with disagreement on the definition and goals of coaching as well as on the qualifications necessary.  So when it comes to finding and hiring a coach (or business consultant), what should you look for?  Here are tips for choosing the right person:

Look for Extensive Experience

When searching for a career coach, pageant coach, or business consultant, your goal should be to find the most highly qualified person; someone who has “been there, done that.”  Seek to understand their experience and whether it fits your needs.  For example, if you’re looking for a career coach to help you advance into an executive-level position for a multi-national corporation, find career coaches who have done exactly that in their careers.  Looking for a pageant coach to help you win a state pageant and compete at nationals?  Then search for a pageant coach who has competed at the local, state, and national level and understands what it takes to win.  The same applies for hiring a business consultant.  Need help creating and implementing a strategic plan?  Then find a consultant who has strategic planning experience at all levels of an organization and within different sized companies.  Finding someone with the appropriate experience is the most important step in finding the right coach or consultant.

Analyze Their Education

The lack of clearly defined professional qualifications, certification bodies, and industry standards has meant barriers to entry into the career/executive coaching profession have been fairly non-existent.  The same is true in regard to pageant coaching and business consulting.  To ensure you find the best coach or consultant, after researching their experience, analyze their education next.  Do they have undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and other educational training in the areas in which they coach or consult?  If not, then that should raise a red flag and cause you to reconsider hiring them.  If they have college degrees, find out their grade point average, as that will give you a good understanding of their level of discipline and how well they understood the subjects studied.  Need a career coach to help you become the vice president of marketing?  Then find one who has not only held that position, but also has a college degree in marketing.  The same is true for finding a business consultant; analyze their education to see if it aligns to your needs.  For hiring pageant coaches, it is helpful if they are graduates of modeling and acting academies and have first-hand experience in these areas. Pageant coaches with physical fitness backgrounds can be invaluable in helping prepare for the swimsuit/fitness portions of pageants.

Check Certifications

Clearly defined professional qualifications and certification bodies are important to many professions, from accountants and mechanics, to doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, and even process improvement consultants.  Yet the infancy of the career/executive coaching and pageant coaching professions and disagreement on the definition and goals has made it difficult for those in these industries to agree on what professional qualifications are necessary and to create cohesive credentialing processes.  Therefore, after researching the coach or consultant’s experience and analyzing their education, check to see if they hold any certifications, and, if so, which ones.  While holding a certification does not guarantee the quality of the person’s work, it will at least demonstrate which career/executive coaches and business consultants have gone through the time and expense of a certification process.

Put Their Name into Search Engines

Once you have researched their experience, analyzed their education, and checked certifications, the last step is to type their name into several different Internet search engines (and LinkedIn) to see what comes up.  Are they well known in their industry?  Are they a published author with successful or award-winning book(s) in their area of expertise?  Do they have articles published or are quoted in numerous articles as an expert in their field?  Do they have many years of experience as a successful blogger in their field of expertise?  What awards have they won for their work?  What testimonials have been written about their work or books?  Do they have many positive testimonials from others listed on their LinkedIn profile?  The more experienced and successful the career coach, pageant coach, or business consultant, the easier it should be for you to find information about them via Internet search engines.  Not sure about the person?  Ask for a free consultation so you can have all your questions answered.  Still not sure?  Ask for references and their contact information so you can speak directly to past clients.