How Do You Pick a Coach for Results?

Do you want positive results? Pick an experienced Life Coach! Want a better life? Get a better coach because if you pick the wrong one, you will not experience the results you are seeking. In fact, if you have an ineffective coach, you may have to fire them. Don’t worry – a non-performing coach knows you will fire them since coaching is about results for the client, nothing more, nothing less. So how can you find a better coach? Here are the action steps to help you, and those you care about, find a life coach who can challenge you to climb higher, dream bigger, and accomplish more than you could have ever done alone.

Start with the Basics in Your Own Life

  • Are you “coachable?”That is, do you seek out coaching and respond to critique?
  • Is your life emotionally stable?
  • Are you ready for a coach to challenge and hold you accountable?
  • Do you have the time to take on new projects and commit to the process of change and growth?
  • Are you eager to move past the roadblocks you may be experiencing toward fulfilling your potential?

If you answered “Yes” to at least four of these five questions, then move forward to the next section in seeking out a great coach. However, if you answered “No” to more than half of these questions, coaching may not be right for you at this time. Once an experienced coach discovers you aren’t really ready to make any major changes, they will likely refer you for some counseling or supportive training until you are committed to make the jump. It doesn’t benefit anyone to waste time with big ideas if you don’t have the traction or skillset to move forward.

So who is an ideal life coach for you? Look for someone who:

  • Shares your values
  • Has extensive experience
  • Is a good fit with your personality
  • Can relate to your life journey
  • You can feel connected to quickly
  • Offers one-on-one coaching specific to your needs
  • Has the time and energy to take on new clients
  • Has a level of success in their niche of the coaching industry
  • And who offers a free consult to discuss how the two of you might work togetherit is wise to avoid people who are more motivated about getting your money than listening to you to see if they are a good fit in helping you move forward.

You Have to Ask the Right Questions to Find an Experienced Coach

Choosing an experienced life coach is essential if you want positive results and to rapidly reach your goals. Here is an extensive checklist of key issues to ask before you select a coach. Asking the right questions can save you a TON of problems, a lot of money, and more importantly, protect your time in reaching your goals.

Is the potential coach’s belief system and moral values similar to yours?

Research the coach’s education, credentials, knowledge and experience in dealing with your specific type of coaching challenge

  • Ask how many years the coach been in professional practice, and how long in this region of the country – this usually shows they are highly skilled and well connected in your region in case you need local referrals for other services.
  • Ask about the coach’s professional reputation in the community. Are they viewed as a leader within their industry or a novice just beginning their career? Remember, experience counts when you are trying to rapidly solve problems.
  • Does the coach possess additional training, certifications, and credentials that match your specific challenge?
  • Has the coach ever been quoted by the media or recognized as a published author/speaker on the issues you are facing? This is important because it shows that the coach is a trusted resource by others in the professional community.
  • Can you find them on the Internet via Google or other search engines as an established author or professional known for their areas of expertise and who is highly trusted and recommended by other leaders?
  • Was the coach referred by a physician, counselor, attorney, pastor or other member of the professional community in whom you trust?
  • Was the coach referred by a prior coaching client? This adds significant credibility to the coach’s work because you can ask your friends or family what their experiences were like. Did they like their coach and was their time useful/helpful to achieve results?
  • Does the coach believe in a team approach to find other professionals to address challenges they may not be skilled in, and are they open to referring you on to the best professional in case they can’t best meet your needs?

Critique, not Criticism

Remember, a coach’s role is to challenge you in an honest way. It often won’t be “warm and fuzzy.” Coaching is about results. If your coach’s values are vastly different, the questions and techniques they offer may not make a lot of sense to you and may slow or block you from achieving your goals. Ruthlessly press past the fear of hurt feelings to make sure you have the right professional by your side. Effective coaching is somewhat of an adversarial process that will challenge ideas and false assumptions. So you don’t need to look for a new coach just because your current coach pushes or actively challenges you. Respectfully confronting you about tough issues is their job. As long as they are offering valid feedback and critique, you likely have the right coach. However, CRITIQUE is different than CRITICISM. One is about challenging you and the other is about attacking you. Mean people get results through fear and intimidation. That will not last because it is only a temporary change to avoid conflict. Critics don’t last long as coaches because it simply is not helpful to have someone hurting your feelings without providing an actionable path forward.

Finally, consider these factors after the first meeting with your coach to insure they are a good fit to achieve the greatest results.

  • Did the coach listen to you, and more importantly, respect you?
  • Did you feel valued as a person?
  • Did you feel confident the coach had the skills and experience to move forward?
  • Did you feel comfortable honestly describing your roadblocks or were you embarrassed to spell it out?
  • Is the coach easy to get in touch with if you have a question, either via telephone, web or email?
  • Does the coach appear to be organized or do they have administrative support staff to assist with tasks to keep their office running efficiently and smoothly?
  • Does the coach run on schedule and respect your time?
  • Does the coach’s approach and style feel like a good fit?
  • Do you believe the coach is genuinely interested in you and seeing you accomplish your goals?
  • Does the coach offer additional guidance through printed resources, articles, assessments, tests, books or direction toward web links to give you greater insight?
  • Does the coach remember important details from meeting to meeting?
  • Does the coach inspire you to accept life’s challenges and push you toward creating positive change?

If you can honestly say that your coach is a good fit after mapping out these factors, then buckle up, because you are about to launch on a rocket-ride toward the life you were designed to live.  Finding and living out God’s potential of what you were born to do is one of the most important goals of life. Finding and working with the right coach can help you get there.

Dwight Bain, MA, is the Founder of the LifeWorks Group in Winter Park, Florida. He helps people rewrite their stories through strategic change and is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. Since 1984, Dwight has helped thousands of people across America as a Keynote Speaker, Certified Leadership Coach, Nationally Certified Counselor, and a Critical Incident Stress Management expert. He is a trusted media resource on managing major change and has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and television stations, has been quoted in over 100 publications, and is the author of Destination Success: A Map for Living Out Your Dreams. Dwight is a lifelong resident of Orlando, Florida, where he lives with his wife, Sheila, and an assortment of pets. Married 35 years, they always have suitcases packed for their next adventure together. For more, see

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