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Tina Doyle

Bird & Bird

Instructional Designer/IT Trainer

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Finding a coach


I'm considering getting some coaching (life/career) but I have never had any coaching in the past and therefore don't know where to begin.

What should I look for in a coach?  How accessible they are?  Their "track" record?  What they can offer me?

Can anyone help me on some "best practice" points?



7 Responses

  1. part of it depends on what you want to get from it…..

    Hi Tina

    If you are seeking structure and control then you may benefit most from someone who will work with you on a scheduled basis, regularly agreeing specific objectives and spending a couple of hours at a time working with you to help you to make step changes in your life or business.

    Alternatively if you want challenging, sounding board to whom you can address emerging issues ad hoc but with immediacy, then you may benefit from someone far mare accessible, perhaps remotely, at the drop of a hat. Someone who is happy to handle a 10 minute phone discussion or a three hour Skype, but on an as-and-when basis.

    I hope this helps

    Feel free to get in touch


  2. What to look for in a coach

    Hello Tina.

    Having been there myself and trained as a coach, here are a few pointers. The questions you’ve noted already are a great starting point – their track record, what the coach can (and cannot) offer you, their accessibility. Other things to look out for are:

    How do you feel with the coach? What is the chemistry like? Do you feel you can talk openly with this person? What is the balance like between challenge and support? If the coach offers a short free taster session, this can help you determine that.

    As Russell said, what are you looking for from the coaching process and the coach: sounding board, challenge, a structured approach, less structured, etc. How will the coach work with you? 

    What training has the coach had to be a coach? Was it coach specific training or something else? Was it highly practical? Purely theoretical? A combination? Via distance learning, face to face, over the telephone or a combination?

    Is the coach a member of a professional coaching body and subscribes to their code of ethics? In the UK, there are the International Coach Federation, European Mentoring & Coaching Council, Association of Coaching and the Association for Professional Executive Coaching & Supervision. Is the coach also accredited by any of these bodies?

    Does the coach have supervision? Is their supervisor a trained coach supervisor or are they doing peer supervision with other coaches. This is really important in my opinion. Supervision is a form of development and support where the coach works with someone more experienced to help them identify what they are doing well in their coaching, their development areas and it also helps to ensure the coach is ethical in their practice.

    How much experience does the coach have? What experience do they have working with women like yourself? Can they give examples of their work within the remits of client confidentiality? Some coaches may also be able to provide you with references.

    How does the coach handle client confidentiality?

    Does the coach work face-to-face, on Skype, over the telephone or a combination? Which medium would you prefer?

    How much can you afford? Coaches may charge by the hour or have a coaching package (that may consist of X amount of hours in a given time period, perhaps email support in-between sessions). Some might offer a discount if you pay for a certain number of sessions in advance. An average rate in London seems to be £65-100 an hour. Outside London it may be £40-65 an hour. But some coaches may charge more or less.

    The coaching bodies mentioned above all have ‘find a coach’ listings on their websites.

    Enjoy the journey! It’s a wonderful one!

    Kind regards,

    Barbara Babcock

    [email protected]

  3. Coaching

    Tina, some great advice from Rus and Barbara. I have been coaching for a number of years and it is very much about your relationship

    with your coach and a balance of challenge and support. It is vital that you completely trust them as you can become very vulnerable,

    and their integrity is crucial in forming that all important relationship. I am undertaking a level 7 Executive Coaching qualification later

    this year accredited by the ILM and am looking for a client to coach as part of my programme. If you think I might be able to help

    then please get in touch, happy hunting, and don’t settle for second best, there are thousands of coaches out there. Barry

  4. Wow – some great answers!

    Thanks to Rus, Barbara and Barry for your answers – you all have certainly given me a lot to think about.  I guess I feel as if I’m stuck in a rut career-wise and don’t seem to be able to get out of it.  I think that’s the main issue I have and need guidance in getting out of it!

    I will certainly investigate more deeply into this and if I get stuck I’m glad to know that there are at least three people I can come back to!

    Thanks again for your time

    Tina ūüôā

  5. It’s all in the relationship

    Hi Tina

    Some great advice and quidance from the others, as well as your own thoughts on the questions to ask. 

    In my experience, the most important factor is the trust you have with your coach. For the relationship to work, you need to be able to say what you want to say and know your coach will listen without judgement and provide you with the right balance of support & challenge for you.

    Of course, the conundrum is hopw to choose the ‘right’ coach for you in amongst the thousands that advertise or market themselves, all with credible qualifications and from different coaching schools & methodlologies?

    There is no magic formula, so my suggetion is to choose three from whatever research you do and against a set of simple criteria at first – e.g. must hyave career coaching, must be qualified, must have testimonials.

    Then, call him or her! Have a chat and find out more, asking the questions that will help you form a view of how you will work with your coach.

    Most of all, tap into your intuition. Your gut feel will be your indicator here and should be taken into account along with your head!

    Whoever you choose, know that they cannot and should not tell you what career direction you should take…only provide you with a structure, a framework for you to work it out yourself.

    If you wish to chat this through, happy to take a call.

    Have fun




    — Kevin Watson Director My Own Coach Ltd

  6. my thoughts

    Hi Tina

    I might be repeating what the others answers have said but thought I’d purposely ignore them until I’d given my answer – not that I think mine is better but if it’s the same then means everyone is on the right track. 

    Personality / Likeability / Relationship

    The coaches I’ve had have all been people that I enjoy and feel relaxed talking to.  I’ve found myself opening up in ways I’d never imagine and I had to feel comfortable with them in the first place.  I couldn’t do this if I didn’t like them or couldn’t relate to them.   If I’m able to feel like I could spend time with them outside of the coaching session then they get my vote.  


    However friendly and well we’ve got on they have had to challenge me.  And I’ve had to accept their challenge.  Not questioning my ideas but challenging my thoughts in order for me to look beyond the obvious.  This means I give more thought to what I’m discussing and by good probing I’ve really looked into myself and my thoughts. 


    My coaches have been on an informal basis such as after one of my CIPD modules or when I’ve had things on my mind.  The main thing is that they’ve been there when I’ve needed them.   So they are always willing to talk and I always felt like I’ve got their complete attention. 

    Trust your Instinct

    Like when you first meet people or have any dealings with them you get a feeling about them.  The same applied to me.  You’ll know if you choose a coach that you are not happy with.  I had a good coach but wasn’t 100% happy with everything so chose to end that relationship.  

    Listening and Questioning

    My coaches listen in a great way.  They let me talk and don’t look to fill the silences, in fact sometimes I’ll get asked a question and she won’t answer until I’ve got responses, silences that have gone on for minutes whilst I’m thinking and accepting what needs to happen.  At first I found I tried to fill the silence but now I accept it.   Then she’ll ask more questions in a thought provoking way and off we go again!

    Since having coaching myself and learning more about it I’ve looked to help others and currently coaching my brother in law.  It seems to be helping him improve and gain confidence which I’m pleased about.  I’ve still got lots to learn about great coaching and great coaching however I truly believe in the power of it to change individuals. 

    Good luck!

    — Blake Henegan

    Optimus Sourcing

  7. Thank you!

    Thanks to all of you for your help and advice.  I feel more confident about asking the right questions now – I might even be "knocking on your door" soon!



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Tina Doyle

Instructional Designer/IT Trainer

Read more from Tina Doyle

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