How many REALLY good life coaches can you name? What sets them apart from the thousands of other coaches out there? What do you love about your coach?

A friend of mine is fond of saying, “In Vancouver, you could throw a rock in any direction and hit a coach.” Please do not try this at home. The point is, with coaches seemingly everywhere these days, how do you distinguish between the good and the bad? More importantly, with so many options available, how do you determine the best fit for YOU?

Does your coach have relevant training? There are coaching “Schools” which are handing out “Certifications” to anyone with a mere weekends worth of training. The flood of under qualified people into the industry is not doing anything to help the credibility of the field. The top institutions offer programs that a year or more in length, and some of them are backed by major universities.

Is your coach credentialed by the International Coach Federation, or other recognized body? If they are, it means they have documented their hours, have undergone live coaching exams in front of a panel, and are bound by a code of conduct.

What relevant life experience does your coach have? I mean, no one is saying that there isn’t at least one coach out there who is 20 years old and whose first job is coaching. For my money though, I’d rather bet on someone who has had time to have more than one job, start another business, and has tasted failure at least once.

How have they helped other clients? Were you referred by someone who has been a client? How were they helped?

Are you looking for a coach or a consultant? It happens so often that someone is looking for a “coach” with a very specific set of experience in their vertical. You know, someone who can help me integrate my custom software systems… Rule of thumb, if you are looking for someone who has more specialized knowledge in YOUR own field than you do, that is a consultant. Consultants tell. Coaches ask.

Is your coach offering an experience that is unique to YOU? So many coaches offer the same brand of over-the-phone sessions. Now I am not saying that this industrial style can’t be helpful on some occasions, but as the industrial age draws to a close, less clients are looking for an experience that is efficient and easy, and more are looking for an experience that is effective and personal!