7 Questions You Need Answered Before Hiring a Qualified Leadership Coach

The most common questions people ask me are “What is a leadership coach?” and “Why do I need a coach?”

I address both of these but list additional questions that you should be asking in this article to help you figure out what to look for in a coach and hire the right one.

Question One: What is Coaching?

Most of us automatically think of sports teams and high-profile coaches. Such as NFL or NBA coaches. We may remember a coach we had in high school or college. We may think of performance-based coaches in music or running or other individual activities.

In general, a coach instructs or guides individuals or teams to peak performance in recreation, sports, careers and life goals. A coach may be macro-focused, such as a team coach or an entire discipline (think more general such as golf, running, and music). A coach may also be micro-focused, such as individual coaching or a specific skill (think golf swing, ultra-marathon running, or the piano)

Question Two: Why Hire a Coach?

My initial reaction is why not? Why not hire a coach to help you level up in areas of your profession, hobby, or life? Most professionals (athletes, musicians, CEOs, politicians, entrepreneurs, and coaches) hire coaches! Why would you not want to follow their lead?

A leadership coach will help you zero in on specific behaviors, training, and skills that you need to ensure you reach your goals. If you’ve taken the time to identify goals that you want to accomplish, a natural next step is to hire a coach to help you reach success.

Question Three: How to Hire a Coach?

A few suggestions as you begin looking to hire a coach…

  1. Take your time. There is no reason to rush the process.
  2. Do your research. Learn more about the coach. Their profession. Experience. History.
  3. Request a discovery call. Learn about their process. Ask questions. Interview them.
  4. See your own success. Can you see you accomplishing your goals and leveling up by working with this coach?

Question Four: What is the difference between coaching and everything else?

It’s important to have clarity about the difference between coaching and other types of professional services such as therapy or counseling, consulting and mentoring. Coaching focuses on where you are presently and where you are headed, with the goal of helping you gain clarity about your vision, eliminate obstacles to your success, accelerate the pace of personal growth and achieve results that empower you to live your best life – professionally and personally. Coaching can focus on any area of your life: Relationships, Finances, Spiritual Life, Work and Business, or Physical Health and Environments.

Question Five: What is Coaching vs. Counseling?

While coaching is forward-focused, counseling tends to deal more with past issues in which you may find yourself stuck and struggling. Coaching sessions may occasionally discuss something that has occurred in the past, for the purpose of clarifying the present, but your coaching will not focus on resolving the past. A simple rule of thumb to know whether you should be coaching or counseling: If your past is an issue, counseling is your best option. If your past is simply a fact (regardless of whether the circumstances were difficult or negative), you are probably ready for coaching. If it appears that there is an issue for which you may need counseling, your coach should suggest it. With the support of a counselor or therapist, some individuals choose to engage in coaching and counseling simultaneously, but with a focus on different areas of life for each service.

Question Six: What is Coaching vs. Consulting?

A coach focuses on helping you walk your unique path to success. As the client, you are responsible for the results you receive as a result of coaching. Your coach will help you discover how to become more of who you need to be to achieve those results and identify what you may need to do differently. A consultant takes responsibility for a specific project, acting as a specialist, and providing specific deliverables and knowledge. If your coach’s professional experience is of benefit to you personally and professionally, they usually use that knowledge in the context of the coaching session. Additionally, many coaches may provide separate consulting services.

Question Seven: What is Coaching vs. Mentoring?

Coaches focus on the development of people in general and the development of your unique path in particular. A mentor guides you towards a specific path of development. Your coach is interested in helping you onto the unique path that is meant for you. A coach’s job is not to tell you what to do, but rather to help you uncover the answers that lie within you. Consider your coach a catalyst for your success.

When deciding to hire a coach, you should definitely take your time to find the right person. What is not in question is your worth…and if you deserve your own coach. You certainly deserve a good coach that can help you level up in your life and your goals and there are plenty of good coaches out there to choose from.

Good luck in your search. Feel free to message me directly if you need help finding a coach.

Micah Maxwell is the Principle/Founder of DiamondCrest International and an Independent Certified Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker with the Maxwell Leadership Certified Team. For more information about working with Micah, check out current programs here.