Selecting a Coach

To select the best coach for you, you'll want to know what to look for. Here is a check list that has helped many executives make this important decision.

Selection Checklist


First and foremost, you need to have "chemistry" with your coach.

It's intangible but matters greatly to the success of your engagement. You'll identify chemistry in the first few moments of your telephone interview — there's a comfort level with this person and a kind of connection that feels right.


Your coach should be as smart as you.

She needs to be able to listen carefully as you describe a dilemma. But beyond listening, she needs to be able to track you, connect to what you're saying, think about the potential outcomes and risks involved in your dilemma, and instantly shine the light on all possible solutions.


Your coach needs to have on-going, real-world corporate experience.

In addition to coaching, she should consult to or collaborate with executives in a variety of companies and industries. Her breadth of knowledge and perspective about how organizations work today, what's changing and what's not, is essential to serving you well. Note: You don't need a coach who's done your exact job. You need one who knows how to coach.

Proven Coaching Skills

Your coach should have solid education in the coaching discipline.

She should be able to describe courses, degrees and certifications she has earned that specifically prepare her to do this work. She should be certified by a reputable governing body (e.g. International Coach Federation) and be engaged in continuing education in order to maintain that certification.

Track Record of Success

Your coach should have dealt with similar situations.

Your coach should be able to describe tangible results related to your specific goals.


Your coach should be highly organized and goal oriented on your behalf.

She should also be able to shift on a dime from the expected agenda to what's on "your radar screen." Some of the most valuable outcomes from coaching happen when she helps you solve an immediate problem, plan for a crucial meeting or prep for a chat with your boss.