Coaching services abound on the internet, and since the internet is not the same as stepping in to a coaches office where you have the in person feel or feedback of your surroundings, it can be difficult to figure out if the coaches website you are looking at is legitimate. There are certain things you can look for to determine if the coach you are about to hire will provide you with quality service.
Is there a contract? For your own protection and the protection of the coach, check to see if the coach has some sort of agreement which outlines their services and your rights as a consumer. A contract will set forth the expectations of the services offered, give you a guide to how the service works, and details what to do or if you will be charged if you need to cancel the session.
Are the sessions recorded? Coaching is meant to be private and confidential, but it is very helpful to have a log and recording of your sessions. It protects the consumer from being over billed, and also gives an extra security measure which protects you against any rare disputes with your coach. Its like having an over sight committee available to protect both the client and coach from any possible misunderstandings. If your calls will be recorded for this purpose, it will generally be listed in the terms of the contract. If it is not, ask the coach by email, or look for a policy on their website that addresses how they handle this topic, and how the time is logged per session.
Does the coach provide home work or an action plan? To make the most out of the time that you spend with your coach, and to maximize and measure your growth as it relates to your goals, does the coach provide homework or an action plan of things you can do between sessions? Assignments stimulate your mind and also force you to be accountable to your goals, so a coach who can provide extra assignments gives you something to focus on to enhance your learning experience and achievements.
Look at the coaches credentials and biography. Coaching is not a regulated field, and literally anyone who has extensive knowledge or experience in a given topic can put up their shingle as a coach. But not all expert chefs can teach novices to become gourmet cooks and not all experts in their fields make great coaches.
Look for things like their background information, how long they have been a coach, where they were trained, if they have any certifications in their field, and is there personality compatible with yours. Check their facebook, linked in, or other social media networking websites for their profile to get a larger feel for the coach as a person. After all, although it will be a professional relationship, you will be providing very personal information about yourself to a total stranger.
Keep in mind that you are hiring a professional not a friend or confidante. Coaches should have professional ethics just like doctors and other service-oriented professionals. Most coaches will answer questions like are they married or single, but will not offer up personal details beyond the mundane. Its important to find a coach who knows their boundaries and who won’t cross ethical lines. After all, the time spent with your coach is all about you and nothing else.
Hiring a coach can be a life-changing and very rewarding experience. By taking a little extra time to research your options, you can find expert coaches that will provide you with a wonderful gift of knowledge and help you move in the direction you want to go in a way that is productive and is quality based.