10 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Coach
Summer is a time when most people take off. They head to the beach, slow down on their reading, became strangers at the gym, and “take a break” from their daily grind.
But successful people work when other people don't. They put in the work, focus on the goal, and get things done. And, they often hire a coach.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
A young woman recently hired me to coach her. She'd reached the limit of what she felt she could accomplish on her own, and she wanted help.
Coaching isn't for the weak or for the people who can't figure things out on their own. The lone wolf wouldn't survive without the pack it roams with.
Coaching is for the person who wants someone on their sideline. They want an advisor in their corner, calling shots, coordinating plays, and watching what's going on from off the court. Did I mix enough analogies there for you?
The elite of the elite across all industries and professions hire coaches to push them, guide them, and encourage them.
Working with a coach to help you start, build or grow your business, to assist you with losing weight or overcome your fear of speaking, isn't so different from hiring a coach to help you with your swing. Coaches often see what we can't, because they're not where we are. Their detachment is part of why a coach is so valuable.
The decision to hire a coach is a big one, and I want to assist you with the process. To help, I've come up with a few questions I've had my clients ask me before getting started, plus others I think you should ask. Let's take a look.
*NOTE: I did a podcast episode about these questions. You can listen to that show and get even more insights here.
10 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Coach
1: Am I willing to commit to my coach's advice?
If you're going to invite someone like a coach into your inner circle, you should be willing to take their advice.
Growing up, my coach would make us run laps around the soccer field. Sometimes for drills, other times for discipline, but every time we hated it. However, when we got to the game, our laps made us faster, we had more endurance, and we could perform in the Texas heat to the peak of our abilities.
You can only perform to the level you've trained. If your coach gives you advice or assigns you homework, are you willing to follow it?
2: Have I gone as far as I can go by myself?
The young woman I mentioned before told me she wanted to hire me because she felt she'd gone as far as she could on her own. She'd seen success, she'd achieve wonderful things, but felt like she'd plateaued.
If you haven't gone as far as you can go by yourself, you might want to try that first. You might not. It depends on your goals and the reason you want to hire a coach.
3: Is this coach doing what I want to do?
While there's a fair amount of value in “look at what I'm doing” when building your brand, when you're ready to hire a coach, you should look for someone who can say, “look at what I've done.” Too many people want to be a “coach” when they have nothing to show for their time. Don't choose that person.
Also, is the coach you're thinking about hiring on the same path as you? Is the type of work they're doing they type of work you're hoping to do? Find a coach who can lead by example, not just someone who'll tell you “do as I say, not as I do.”
4: Why do I want to hire a coach?
As I referred to with question #2, the reasons you'd want to hire a coach could be many. A coach could help you achieve a specific goal. A coach could get you access to people or open the doors to opportunity.
Or, you might want to hire a coach because they can help you get further faster, and help you avoid unnecessary stumbling blocks or painful “learning experiences.”
Also, before you hire a coach, think about if you want to work with someone in a coaching relationship. When I work one-on-one with my clients, I have to put aside my desire to be liked. I want my clients to get results, and sometimes that means we won't get along.
A coach should push you further and harder than you'd push yourself. It will get uncomfortable. Be ready for that, and accept it.
5: Do I trust them?
If you trust the person you're considering hiring as your coach, many of the previous questions will take care of themselves. Trust plays a huge part in any successful relationship, and a coaching relationship is no different.
Like the trust fall we see mimicked on TV and in movies, you must believe that your coach will be there when you need them. You coach will be offering advice, instruction, encouragement and tough love. If you're going to subject yourself to that kind of emotional rollercoaster, there'd better be a high level of trust.
6: Do they have the heart of a teacher?
The best coaches I've had in my lifetime have also been some of the best teachers. Instead of barking orders or standing on the sidelines, a good coach can get in there and show you how to get things done.
7: Do they believe what I believe?
During your coaching time, the topic of belief will come into play. You may not touch on religious beliefs, but you will discuss ideology, finances, world views, and how you approach controversy and opportunity.
You'll be spending a lot of time with your coach; they should believe what you believe.
8: What is the goal I want to achieve or milestone I want to hit if I hire a coach?
As with anything else, you should have a goal in mind when you decide to hire a coach. It could be a mental block you're trying to fix. It could be a revenue target for your business. Your goal could be losing 20 pounds or shaving fractions of a second off of your time.
Be specific and give your coach permission to keep you aligned with your goal and accountable to the actions that will get you there.
9: How accessible are they?
I'm probably too accessible to my clients. They can reach me almost any day of the week, any time the sun is up. I want to see them succeed, and I believe the best business card is a glowing recommendation from a satisfied client.
How much access would you have to your coach? Can you email, text or call them when you have questions? What if you're in a crisis and need immediate help?
My approach is a mix of therapist and teacher: I'm there when you need and almost always on call, but I step back and let you solve your own problems because I know you need to learn to fly on your own.
10: How much do they charge?
Only after you've asked these other questions should ask: How much do you charge?
How your coach charges should be tied to the value of the results you can achieve, nothing else. If you can do with a coach in six months what it would have taken you two years to do on your own, you coach is worth eighteen months of your life.
Don't look at the cost per session or per hour. Instead, look at how far you can go with your coach's help vs. how far you'd go on your own.
Over to you: Did you hire a coach? What results have you gotten? How did you decide who to work with?