An important step in the process of shopping for a coach is to discern their coaching approach. This requires doing a little research. You cannot assume a person is a good coach for you just because someone calls themselves a “coach.”
Interviewing a prospective coach is a great place to start! Here are some topics and questions that you may want to explore…
1. Coaching Training – excellent coaches have invested time and energy to gain the skills to coach well. There are a lot of training programs available. Explore the breadth of their training: How many hours of coach-specific training have they received? What ongoing courses or teleclasses have they taken? How are they improving their skills as a coach?
2. Coaching Experience – in addition to training, discuss the coach’s experience. Are you comfortable with the amount of experience they have had coaching others? Can you talk to others they have coached to learn more about them?
3. Availability – as you think about how frequently you’d like to meet with a coach, determine if they have the time available to meet with you. Are they accessible between appointments? Will they respond to email or texts?
4. Competencies/Credentials – the International Coach Federation is the leading global coaching organization, with over 19,000 members, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high professional standards, providing independent certification, and building a network of credentialed coaches. What credentials does the coach have? Who has granted those credentials? What was the process they completed to receive credentialing?
5. Coaching Approach – there are many different approaches to coaching. Some coaches focus primarily on generating awareness, others focus on skill development, others are more holistic in their approach. Discover who sets the agenda for the coaching conversations (the coach or the client). Who generates action steps? How is progress evaluated?
6. Cost – unfortunately when it come to coaching, you often get what you pay for. Many church planters are looking for free coaching or “cheap” coaching. Beware of settling on an inexperienced coach simply because that’s all you can afford. Be creative as you explore ways to pay for coaching. Bottom line: can you afford coaching?
7. Ministry Experience – while it’s not necessary for your coach to be an expert in the area where you need coaching, it is valuable to understand if your coach is familiar with the challenges of being in ministry. What is the coach’s ministry background? How are they currently engaged in ministry?
8. Spiritual Dynamics – explore how faith and cooperating with the Spirit’s work in your life fit into the coach’s mindset. What is the coach’s spiritual background? Do you sense the coach has spiritual depth and awareness?
9. Trust – coaching cannot be successful if you don’t trust your coach. How does the coach build trust? Do you sense that confidentiality would be honored?