When I first considered getting involved in coaching, back in the late 90’s, the first thing I did was arrange to meet some coaches.
The coaches I met made me sure that this was a career choice I wanted to make. The coaches were centered, down-to-earth, wise but not pushy. They were creative and aware. Clearly grown-ups. Clearly able to focus fully on another, without any fanfare for themselves. These were well-actualized human beings and I wanted to be like them.
I’m very glad these were the coaches I met…not all coaches…are like that.
I’ve gone on to meet hundreds of coaches in the subsequent 15 years or so I’ve been involved in this career area. Most coaches are great people that “get it”.
Every once in a while you run into a coach that just seems to have everything backwards. It’s all about them, and clearly they are the expert and they have the answers. They definitely know better than the client. They are quite sure that they know exactly what steps the client needs to go through.
First I’ll give a list of 5, in my opinion as an experienced coach, traits in a coach that, for me, would be deal breakers. I would run in the other direction if a coach displayed any of the following!
Top 5 Things NOT to Look For in a Coach (hard stops)
- Coach frequently interrupts. In a tie the coach wins.
- Coach gives a lot of advice about what to do.
- Coach gets their back up about *any* thing
- Coach knows more about you than you do
- Coach knows more about your career area/business than you do
Then, there are the little things that are not necessarily bad coaching, but not the most effective kind, in my opinion. Some of the following things might be good to have in a coach if you want to reach a specific goal, but may not help you improve your overall effectiveness and satisfaction as a human being.
Another 5 Things NOT to Look For in a Coach (cautions)
- Coach has a guru/mentor that you’ve seen yelling a lot in their public speaking
- Coach focuses on external goals only (some “thing” to have, get, achieve)
- Coach wants to meet with you very frequently
- Coach always has a relevant anecdote from their life
- Coach *really* thinks it’s important for you to continue with coaching
When looking for a coach, pay close attention to how you feel during and after a free session. And watch out for these warning signs!
Michele specializes in working with high performers desiring better, easier results and greater fulfillment.
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