By Emma Collyer, Founder and Principal Coach at Aspire Executive Coaching
What is coaching and what should you consider before getting a coach?
At its most basic level, a ‘Coach’ is a trained individual that works with you on a one-on-one basis, asking questions, to help you expand your thinking, awareness and to help you come up with better solutions for yourself. I sometimes describe a coach as a ‘thinking partner’. A coach can also work with teams and groups of individuals to help solve problems and achieve mutual goals.
*It is important to note that a coach is not a mentor, counsellor, or therapist!
What kind of things can you use a coach for?
There are a whole range of topics that coaches can cover and specialize in. Some work related examples are listed here:
- To improve your general performance/effectiveness
- To help you integrate into a new role, such as a more senior leadership position
- To help with team and organizational development
- To help you deal with overwhelming workload/priorities
- To help you achieve short- and long-term work performance goals and targets
- To help you manage difficult conversations
- To help with your career progression
Where to start?
Ideally try to ensure the coach is accredited with the International Coaching Federation to at least Associate level (ACC). The ICF have a coach finder resource which can help with narrowing down choices.
Coaches who are accredited members of the ICF must go through an assessment and examination process and adhere to a code of ethics. So, whilst the profession is not regulated, coaches that have gone through this process do at least provide some assurance of professionalism and standards.
Other key considerations before appointing a coach:
- Understand why you want a coach. Is it for yourself or do you want a wider team coaching approach; in which case you need to look for coaches with that expertise.
- You will be required to do work so don’t sign up if you aren’t able to commit to act. It won’t be a ‘tell’ session where you sit back and the coach does all the work.
- Speak to at least 3 different coaches to see which one is the best fit for you and who you would feel comfortable discussing challenges with. To get the most from coaching you need to be honest, open, and prepared to be vulnerable. If you don’t feel you can do this with your coach, then you will not get the best from the relationship or your investment.
- Coaching should not be used for managing poor performance of team members. By its nature, the person being coached must want to participate and be willing to take on any action. If individuals are pushed into something they don’t want to do, it wastes everybody’s time and trust is eroded between all parties.
- Check out other qualifications and experience of the coach you are considering. Are they certified to help with the specific issue you are struggling with. For example, a life coach may not be able to assist you with work related issues.
- Financial investment will be needed, and coaching fees vary widely. Check those out before committing. Hourly rates can range for $100-$1000/hr and often will be delivered as a program or package of coaching sessions. (Typically, individual programs include at least 6-10 sessions.)
- Ensure the coach you choose can deliver coaching in your preferred format. Prior to covid, coaching was frequently undertaken in person, but now virtual sessions and phone calls are more commonplace.
- If you are not sure about the coach, ask for a free session before you commit.
What kind of benefits can you expect?
This depends on you and the level of action you are prepared to take through the program! It also depends on the experience and skill of the coach, but potentially the process can be transformational. Coaching clients have described the experience as life changing and that they had their best year ever (in careers and business) after coaching. So, if you are looking for a different way to support your growth, why not give coaching a try and see what you can achieve!
Emma Collyer is the Founder and Principal Coach at Aspire Executive Coaching, based near Peterborough Ontario. She is an Executive and Leadership Coach, with over 20years experience working in the Environmental sector in the UK and Canada, most recently working as a Director at Kawartha Conservation. She particularly loves supporting individuals and teams within this sector and those transitioning into significant leadership positions. Emma can be contacted at [email protected]