Una's Blog


23 Engaging a coach

graphic-2by Una Hearne.

Coaching is an unregulated industry at the moment. Anyone can call themselves a coach and charge people money for what may or may not be coaching.

If you think about longer established professions such as medicine, law or accounting, their qualifications, code of ethics and governing bodies provide a lot of protection for clients. It may sometimes be unwieldy and a hindrance but overall, proper regulation does protect people.

Paradoxically I’m not hung up on qualifications for some professions, particularly the ones engaged in supporting people in their daily lives. I think it is just as possible to have a highly qualified coach, therapist or consultant who is useless, as unqualified ones who are brilliant. Although I do look forward to the day when these professions are properly accredited and appropriately regulated.

So, given the current state of affairs, how are clients supposed to know who is actually providing good quality coaching, is the right person for them and is value for money?

Well, it’s a little like hiring a plumber, the outcome matters to you and you want value for money. The answer is to do enough research to be satisfied you will get value for your hard earned cash, even though there are no guarantees.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Check qualifications and membership of regulatory bodies if they exist. With coaching, look for a proper diploma or multiple diplomas. A three or four day course does not qualify anyone to coach professionally.
  • Look for track record and results. Look for personal recommendations and testimonials. Be aware that plenty of these are fabricated online so if you are interested ask if your coach could prove they are authentic. You can also ask if they will put you in touch with previous clients.
  • Talk to the person you are thinking of engaging, assess them for yourself. This initial chat should be free of charge as it is important to ensure you are a fit for each other. I don’t take on clients unless I am sure I can help.
  • Having said that, there are no guarantees and both coach and client should feel comfortable to stop the process at any point if it is not working. It takes a few sessions to see significant results in general so you don’t need to jump at the first sign of discomfort but if you are paying for a personal support service make sure it supports you personally!

You don’t have to tick off all of these criteria , no one of them need be a deal breaker for you, except the last one. It is your responsibility to realise that you are worth the effort of finding the right supports for you in your life. If it feels right it is right. If it feels wrong it is wrong.

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