International Coaching Week Day 3: How should I choose a coach?

Finding the right coach can be fun, and also difficult if you don’t know where to start. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has a helpful page on its website that addresses how to begin. These are a few of my favorite tips:

  1. Know where to go. Because most of my business is built on referrals, I’m a believer in word of mouth. Ask friends and colleagues if they have worked with a coach they recommend. You can also visit the ICF website to find a coach near you. 
  2. Plan to interview 2-3 coaches. I always encourage prospective clients to interview multiple coaches. The coach/client relationship is intimate, so fit is critical. Moreover, no two coaches approach an engagement the same way. Always talk to a few coaches to determine who would best help you meet your goals. Be wary of coaches who discourage you from speaking to others.
  3. Check their references and credentials. Coaching is unregulated and many untrained people claim to be coaches. If you seek professional coaching, make sure the coach holds an ICF credential (ACC, PCC or MCC), or is working toward one. The ICF website offers a tool to verify whether a coach holds one of their credentials. It’s helpful to ask for client references. You may also want to know more about the coaches’ professional background. Many have previous experience in other roles that can improve coaching impact. I know former executives, doctors, psychologists, teachers, and many others who have become professional coaches.

Finally, know that one of the key tenets of professional coaching is that both coach and coachee must be committed to the process and each other. I write my contracts so that the engagement can end at any time and for any reason. This helps set the relationship up for success and creates a foundation of confidence, ease and safety. 

If you have more questions or are ready to try coaching for yourself, get in touch by emailing me at

Leave a Comment