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How to Choose the Right Life Coach – 6 Invaluable Tips

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Something I deal with on a daily basis in the free initial conversations I have with potential clients is the overwhelm most of them experience when they start the search for the right life coach.


And it’s completely valid! Even if I were to go online to search for a coach, I would be overwhelmed, and I’m trained to know what to look for! There are just tons of coaching schools and all kinds of different coaching methodologies out there, that you can easily become blurry-eyed and just rather give up on the search all together. 


Don’t give up. This could be the best investment you ever make in your life. In fact, many of the celebrities you follow and other people you look up to, got where they are with the help of a life coach


So, I thought it would be valuable to share some tips and important guidelines when selecting the right life coach.


1. This might sound like a no-brainer, but…First decide if you want a male or female coach. Some clients prefer one to the other because of how comfortable they’ll be opening up and being honest. Transparency and honesty is everything in a coaching relationship, so think about whom you would most likely be the most coachable with and what would feel like a more natural fit to you in a coaching partnership.


2. Have a general idea on what type of coaching you are after or what you want from it, as there are different areas of specialization in coaching. If it is purely career focused, you might want to choose a career or leadership coach. If you want to start or grow your own business, a business coach is the right call. If you need coaching within a corporate environment, you would want an executive coach, strengths development- or leadership coach. Only wanting to deal with your health, then opt for a health or wellness coach. If you want to work on happiness, life vision, and creating more fulfillment in your life, then a Life Coach or Positive Psychology coach, like myself, would be a great choice. There are also coaches specializing in addiction, relationships, spirituality, mindfulness, the list goes on. If you want to make changes to various areas of your personal and professional life, again, it’d be best to opt for a life coach, as they will approach things more holistically. You may also ask the coach what the types of goals, needs or outcomes are, that they support their clients with, to help you decide if they are the right fit for you. To find out what the Top 10 Goals & Needs of my female clients are, read my blog-post here. 


3. Many clients choose a coach based on their location. Before technology was not what it is now, so this was an inevitable limitation. Now, I would advise that you rather choose a coach based on their coaching methodology, style and personality, rather than on their location alone. Most coaching takes place virtually or by phone these days, and it opens up a world of phenomenal coaches to you. The closest coach to you might not be the right coach for you! In the ICF Coach Directory, you can search based on the coach’s location, specialty and even your budget. Your coach can still be your life-line anywhere in the world, just as easily as you interact with loved ones online.

Read my blog-post on the Top 10 Benefits of Coaching for Women.


By now you might have a short-list of potential coaches, so how do you go about selecting just the perfect one to suit your needs?


4. Something becoming more and more important in coaching, is to look into your potential coach’s credentials. Unfortunately, the coaching industry is not regulated, so this opens the door to unethical behavior of untrained, non-accredited, unskilled individuals, claiming to be coaches. You would be surprised to know how many people call themselves a coach just because people have gone to them for advice at some stage – and they have no real coaching skills training! Please know that advice-giving does not equal coaching! A person could also be a mentor or skilled trainer, but not have coach training, so ensure they have coach-specific training. Please be sure to check out your coach’s credentials and training. This should be available on their website. If not, you have every right to ask them for their credentials and even for proof of their credentials during the free initial session that most offer. 


The best way to do a background check would be to ensure that they are an accredited member of The International Coaching Federation (ICF). They are the most globally recognized coaching regulatory body who sets the highest quality of Ethical Standards and Best Practices in the coaching industry. If a coach is serious about their profession, they will be a member. You can go to the ICF global website and do a search for any coach by name, to check that they are an active and accredited member. Coaches who remain active members of the ICF are required to practice a certain amount of hours of coaching to maintain their credentials, just like doctors, psychologists and lawyers do with continuing education credits. They are also required to fulfill on Continued Education Requirement, ensuring that they are always at the top of their game.

It is also important to check that the training which the particular coach received was approved and is accredited by the ICF. This will be indicated by them having completed training with a school who is an ICF Approved Coach Training Partner (ACTP) or who offer Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH). Then you know, they have good training. 


5. Now that you’ve ensured that you are dealing with an accredited, professional coach, the next step would be to find out if you and the coach will connect well – that you like and could trust the person, and that they truly get where you’re coming from. A great place to start would be to read their coaching bio on their about page on their website and see what you think about their photo. Do they represent themselves professionally? Connect with them on social media, sign up to receive their emails or read some of their blogposts to get a feel for what they are putting out there in the world and how it lands with you.


6. Most coaches offer a free initial coaching conversation, so take advantage of it! You can have a conversation with a prospective coach and see how well you connect. You can use this time to ask them anything you need to know before you proceed into a coaching agreement. It’s pretty important that you like your coach, so go with your gut feeling on this one. It is crucial that your coach believes in you and shows true interest, commitment and excitement about working with you – so if you sense more of a sales pitch than a genuine understanding of your goals in coaching, move onto another free session with another coach. Also, in an unregulated industry, many self-proclaimed coaches look to make more money by abandoning the 1-on-1 relationship and promoting “signature programs” on or offline. If the pitch is good enough, people end up paying too much for a cookie-cutter program that doesn’t deliver results, which can lead to a fear of ever trying a “real” coach. Don’t end up there!


If you resonated with what I have shared and think I might be just the right person to support you, and you would like to have a conversation, then Request a Free Initial Coaching Session with me.

Not quite ready to talk just yet? Subscribe to my blog – Beyond Happiness or go check out the FREE STUFF page on my website for some free life enhancing resources.


Hope to talk with you soon!

Warm Regards

Paula Facci

Certified Positive Psychology Coach®

Read about the benefits of Positive Psychology Coaching