Learning is defined as a change in behaviour.
You haven’t learned a thing until you take action and use it.

Don Shula and Ken Blanchard

Selecting coaches is not always easy.

Organisations are becoming savvier consumers of coaching which means managing the selection of external coaches to ensure those relationships are as productive as possible.

Its important to have a well-defined purpose for coaching.

Desire to improve individual performance and productivity is the most widely stated reason for using coaching. Developing leaders, improving succession plans and increasing skill levels are other reasons behind coaching. Its also been found that the more an organisation has clear reasons for using a coach, be it leadership development or boosting engagement, the more likely it is the coaching program will be seen as successful.

Given a reasonable number of all coaching relationships are either terminated early or a decision is made not to use a coach again, then efforts should be made to reduce the number of mismatches between coaches and employees through:

  • Pre-screening
  • Carefully aligning the coaches skills to the needs, interests and stated area of the employee

Business experience is a key consideration however without coach qualifications the danger is ending up with a different methodology being provided. For example, consulting or mentoring rather than coaching.

What’s the difference?

Coaching is an enabling and empowering process which comes from the methodology process of coaching itself together with a code of ethics.

They are many ways used by organisations and individuals to screen and select coaches. The main thing is to give attention to whether the coach is appropriately qualified to meet the needs of the coaching goal. With the vast range of coaching schools and differing qualifications it can be difficult to compare.

Coaching is an unregulated industry and anyone may use the title of coach. Its estimated that less than half of the estimated coaches in the world belong to representative coaching bodies. This means its important to explore the qualifications, skills and experience of potential coaches.

As a starting point, a professional coach should be able to:

  • Provide evidence of their coaching specific qualifications.
  • Describe their coaching methodology.
  • Provide evidence of coaching experience and qualifications.
  • Clearly describe their coaching process and approach in an accessible manner.
  • Provide agreement documentation.
  • Provide a code of conduct and ethics.
  • Provide a Certificate of Currency for Professional Indemnity Insurance.
  • Describe how coaching success will be measured.
  • How they maintain their professional development.
  • How often and with whom they engage in regular supervision of their coaching practice.
  • How long they have been coaching.
  • Any areas of specialist expertise.
  • Their depth of experience as a coach eg coaching for particular skills, developmental coaching, leadership coaching, transition coaching, group or team.
  • What instruments are their accredited in.
  • Which memberships of professional bodies their hold.

Often individuals will select a coach based on whether they like them or not, and if the coach likes them. Though its important to be clear on what the purpose of the coaching is as well as to select a coach fit for that purpose and one that will be prepared to challenge thinking, practice and stretch the individual is really important. Though too much of either can be counter productive also.

If there has been a poor selection of coach this should be stated as soon as it becomes evident and openly stated to the coach and or the sponsor of the coaching.