Before you Hire a Coach, Read This!

Do you need a coach? If so, discover how to find the right coach in a sea of coaches. Learn how to navigate the sales call. Feel confident with the coach you decide to hire.

Three are a couple main questions people ask when deciding on hiring a coach.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Coaching
  2. Do I need a coach?
  3. How do I find the right coach?
  4. Who do I trust to help me with this decision?
  5. Conclusion

These are great questions! They’re so great because the answers aren’t exactly clear. There are so many different ways to define a coach. Once you’ve defined a coach, there’s so many different types of coaches to choose from. The whole process can be overwhelming and confusing – which is a huge problem when you want a coach to help you cut through the overwhelm in the first place.

I want to offer you some clarity on what coaching is, the different types of coaches, how to determine whether you need a coach, how to find the right coach for you, and I’d like to offer you suggestions on how to determine who to trust. I hope by the end of this post you’ll trust me based on the information I’ve given you.

1. What is a coach? What is coaching?

So often we hear a coach say they help their clients become the best of the best, to become more than they are, to reach their potential or other such things like this. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but to me it reminds me a little too much of Men in Black: ‘Because we’re the best of the best sir!’

Yes, it’s an answer. It’s a decent enough answer. But there’s a little something missing. It’s a little too vague.

Maybe it’s not possible to be more clear. After all the situation is never identical from one person to the next – and often what a coach focuses on isn’t even what the client thinks they need.

An executive coach may work with c-level clients so they can be more effective leaders, have increased productivity int heir team, and prevent burnout for themselves. But that same coach may really be focused on improving confidence or relationships or any other number of things. The coach may know their clients really need & want that hidden outcome, but that the clients are unaware of wanting that outcome at first.

This makes it tricky for coaches. We want to show our clients exactly what they’re going to get, but often what they really get isn’t something they know they want.

Here’s my definition:

Coaching is a dynamic relationship where the coach offers perspective and the coachee/client offers insight. Combined we reinterpret a situation or mindset in order for the coachee/client to clarify their sense of self, their goals, and their relationship to their world. Thus allowing the coachee/client to move toward their goals with greater ease, fewer obstacles, and increased fulfillment.

Hey! Lemonade Definition of Coaching

There are concrete outcomes the client will get, but there’s also that unknown fulfillment factor. What each part looks like is different for each client. Some clients require several sessions to really clarify what they want. Other’s get it right away. Some need support working through the steps, others need support to create a vision.

Each coach should have their own definition of coaching because each coach brings their own unique perspective to the relationship. A coach who focuses on productivity in the workplace can be beneficial to a mother who wants life balance – making the decision depends on a few different factors that we’ll get into shortly.

2. Do I Need a Coach? How Can a Coach Help Me?

In order to decide whether you need a coach or not, you need to have a decent idea of who you are and how you show up in life.

Okay, let’s be real here. I think everyone needs a coach.

But not everyone needs an expensive coach, and not everyone needs a coach at all times. In a sense, the better you feel like you’re doing, the more likely you’ll love working with a coach. A coach helps you take this amazing thing over here and turn it into that even more amazing thing over there.

When you’re in a place of floundering, working with a coach can be very beneficial. However, it doesn’t always feel like an amazing transformation takes place. The shifts that happen at this level NEED to be slow and gentle in order to not overwhelm and not lead to even worse outcomes.

How can I tell if I’m floundering?

Floundering feels different to each person. For some it feels like a vague disquiet. There’s nothing they can really put their finger on, things just don’t feel right. Often they tell where things aren’t working – and also can’t figure out which direction to go. You’re lost in the woods, you know you want to get out, but every path you take leads back to the same clearing you were in before.

Are the problems in your life someone else’s fault? Someone else’s responsibility? Do you have reason after reason why a solution won’t work? Do you have rules that get in the way, but you refuse to change them? These are examples of limiting beliefs or fixed mindset that often go along with floundering.

A coach can help you not flounder. In order to find the right coach for you, it’s important to know how you’re floundering and what outcome you’d really like to achieve.

I believe everyone does better if they have support from someone who isn’t their friend. Friends often tell us what we want to hear, sometimes that can hold us in place. Having support from someone who isn’t a friend can make all the difference in whether we reach our goals or not.

When shouldn’t I use a coach?

It’s important to point out that some people should not hire a coach, should not join an expensive coaching program, and some are better served with therapy or counselling. When you need to explore the past, process events, or otherwise deal with inner turmoil then therapy or counselling can be a better fit. Each case is unique – and sometimes it depends on the practitioner.

Personally, I found coaching more effective for me, but the counsellor/therapists I attempted to work with weren’t good fits. However, as a coach I’ve had clients who I recommended see therapists/counsellor/psychologist instead of me. As I create the Hey! Lemonade coach directory I also create professional relationships with coaches who have different areas of expertise. This means I can often refer clients to coaches who are better able to serve their needs than I can.

I also intend to add other mental health professionals to our directory so we can offer the right support for anyone who comes to our site. I truly believe we all deserve to live our lives with our whole selves – we achieve this by helping each other.

If insurance covers therapy or counselling, but not coaching, and your finances are tight, then take what’s available to you. Many therapists and counsellors use coaching as well – see if you can find one that incorporates both.

I also firmly believe that you should not hire a coach if your finances are precarious. I know this goes against the common coaching world mindset, but I will say it again, “If a flat tire means you need to pull out a credit card, then get your finances in order before hiring a coach.” *keep reading I share free resources I found useful.

There is great benefit to hiring a coach, but if that means you worry about how you’ll feed your family, find a free option. I promise they’re out there – please send me a message if you need help finding other resources. I’ve read hundreds of books and have used free resources so many times in my life. I know where to find them. Stick around and I’ll share my own free content, offers, and resources as well.

Yes, it’s generally faster & easier to work with a coach, or find a program. In my experience it’s also been a lot more fun. But it’s important to pay attention to whole life health – and in our society finances are a major part of that whole life health.

If you’ve got a lot of debt, you worry about whether you can feed your family, or struggle to pay bills, then you need to get your finances to a healthier place first. I generally recommend Dave Ramsey if you’re living pay check to pay check, have a lot of debt, or generally can’t keep your head up. I recommend The Money Guy Show for investing advise – this includes following their advice for employer matched investments.

I’m always watching for financial coaches who I can recommend to people looking for a more personalized plan, but at this time I don’t have a specific recommendation.

3. How Do I Find The Right Coach?

Finding the right coach can be as simple as having a conversation. Most of my clients hired me after having a single conversation online. I’ve hired many of the coaches I work with the same way. This can be a great way to find someone you mesh well with, but it can also lead to an ineffective coaching relationship.

As both a client & a coach I’ve discovered certain things that help make the relationship more productive & enjoyable for both the coach and the client.

What do I want?

If you don’t know what you want, then you’ll have a very hard time getting it.

Maybe you need to figure out what you want. A coach can help with that. Clarifying that you want to figure out which direction to go makes all the difference between finding your direction and spinning in circles. If at the end of the discovery call you are 90% clear what you’ll get out of working with the coach, then that coach is likely a good fit for you right now.

Find a specific type of coach

What’s the outcome you want? There’s a coach for that. Take your desired outcome, add ‘coach’ after it. Often that’s all you need to do to search for the right type of coach. From there you can explore the different coaches that offer what you want. Read some of their blog posts, find them on social media, get to know them , and hop on a discovery call.

At Hey! Lemonade we’re building our coach directory so you can do all of that in one place, right here. You can get to know potential coaches because their blog posts & social media presence will be in one spot making it easier for you to understand what they do, who they are, and what you’ll get out of working with them.

What are your expectations?

How much you know about coaching will impact your expectations of the coaching relationship. In many circles people think of coaching as someone with more experience telling you what to do. That is not coaching. That might be mentoring, it may be consulting, but it isn’t coaching. Coaching is a very individual approach. Even in a group setting coaching is designed to support you to find the path that works best for you.

If you’re looking for someone to tell you what to do, be sure you’re aware of that during the intake interview. If you want someone to tell you what to do, a pure coach may not feel like a good fit.

Alternatively, if you are looking for someone to help you figure out your own path, you will not like working with someone who tells you what to do or how to do it.

There are different coach modalities, some work with behaviours, some with mindset, some combine a variety of tools. What do you expect from the coach? If you’re unsure, then ask the coach about their process.

Does the coach have a clear way of talking about their process? If their process isn’t clear, ask more questions. If it doesn’t sound like a good fit, it’s okay to say no to hiring them.

As they talk about their process, do you feel yourself getting excited? Does it sound like what you want?

Navigating the sales call

When it’s time to decide whether to hire the coach or join their program, you’re generally invited on a sales call. This call serves two purposes for a coach.

First, not everyone is a good fit for the coach’s program. I may dream of leading a multi-million dollar corporation. So a coach that talks about that dream may appeal to me. When we hop on the call, the coach realizes I am not at the place where their clients typically start. That coach can then decline working with me. They may offer different suggestions, or not. Neither is right nor wrong.

Second, the sales call allows you a chance to get to know your coach, or their business, better. You can ask questions and find out whether or not they can give you what you really want from the relationship.

Many coach business do not publish their prices. In order to discover their prices you need to get on the sales call. This serves a couple purposes as well. Coaches know that connection matters. Once on a sales call a person is more likely to say yes. This happens for many reasons, but is not the purpose of this post.

I believe in publishing my prices because I am neurodivergent and have a family with a variety of neurodivergence as well. I know how my brain responds to curiosity, I know how FOMO influences my decisions. I also know how much work I put into changing these natural responses.

I believe someone who is pressured to make a decision on a sales call is more likely to have a negative perception of the outcome than someone who is free to make the choice at their own pace.

That’s not to say businesses who operate that way are bad. They’re doing what works for them – in sales, that’s cool.

If you don’t know the cost before hopping on a call, there are ways to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome and positive perception. Answering the questions from earlier in this post before the call is a huge first step.

During the call you can ask questions about the coach or their business. What do you need to know in order to make this decision? Ask for that information.

How fast do you need to make your decision? Some people like making decisions on the fly. Some people like to take their time. Does the coach allow you to make your decision at a pace you’re comfortable with?

If a coach says something like, “Yes, you can take your time, but I’m raising prices tomorrow…”, then they aren’t respecting you enough to let you make the decision at the pace you’re comfortable. Someone using that technique on a sales call is using common mindset tactics to get you to override objections and hire them. In my opinion, this is not an okay practice. (If you’re a coach reading this and feeling upset, please send me a message and we’ll chat. There are much better ways.)

A coach may say something like, ‘I guarantee this price for X length of time.’ That means you can take your time and they will not change that price for you before the set time passes. This also doesn’t mean they are raising their prices. Just that they will honour the price they told you. (If they don’t honour the price, don’t hire them).

Some coaches offer a discount for making a quick decision. This can be very beneficial to both you and the coach – as long as it’s offered as an opportunity and not coercion.

Business owners believe that the more steps necessary to say ‘yes’ the less likely someone will say yes. If a client gets off the call and thinks about it, they’re less likely to follow through, even if they want to. Often there are several other steps necessary in order to complete the purchase after the call ends.

If you take time to think about it, what are the steps necessary for you to complete the sign-up process? Are you capable of following through with those steps when you make your decision? Some neurodivergent brains have a very hard time initiating action. If that feels like you, are the steps necessary to think about the decision, and then move forward, steps you’re able to take?

4. Who Do I Trust To Help Me With This Decision?

Who you trust depends on your own expectations and desired outcome. If you’re not clear about your desired outcome, then it may be difficult to find any coach you’re happy with – no matter who you ask. In this case, be prepared to interview several coaches – or consume the content of several coaches until you find one that speaks to that nagging feeling within yourself.

A friend may have loved their coach, but their reason for liking that coach may be the reasons you wouldn’t like that coach.

No matter who offers a recommendation, it’s useful to ask them, “What did you really like about that coach?”

In my experience as both a coach and someone who has worked with many different coaches looking for advice about hiring a specific coach can be as simple reading their content, watching their videos, or listening to them on podcasts. You get to know the coach, and what they offer.

You may find reviews useful. You may like testimonials. These can offer great insight into the coach and what they offer. I suggest paying attention to where the reviews or testimonials are located.

3rd party sites are often, but not always, more trustworthy than the coach’s own website. I will talk about this in a separate post because it can get complicated. The Hey! Lemonade promise to both coaches and clients is that we will do our best to allow reviews from anyone who has worked with a coach. We will remove reviews that do not have proof of working with the coach. And we will never charge coaches to display positive reviews, or remove negative reviews. <—- those are practices that lead to untrustworthy reviews.

Can I trust my intuition when deciding on a coach?

That depends. What’s your intuition telling you? Is it saying, “Oh no! If I don’t do this NOW, then I’m never gonna get it!”?

That’s FOMO – don’t listen to your ‘intuition’ in that moment. That’s not your intuition, or gut, that’s fear. Fear doesn’t have a driver’s license so don’t let him behind the wheel.

If your intuition is saying, “This is exactly what I want, but I’m not sure I’m actually capable of this.” Then listen to the hopeful part, and push away the part that’s diminishing you and your possibilities.

If your gut is saying, “I’m not sure. Something doesn’t feel right.” Then listen to it. That part of you may not be able to identify what the problem is, but it knows something doesn’t fit. Often this shows up when there’s a lack of clarity, or the cost of the coach doesn’t fit what you perceive you’ll receive. That doesn’t mean the coach isn’t good, just not right for you right now.

If you see an ‘Approved Coach’ or a ‘Hey! Lemonade Certified Coach’ on our site or in our directory, then these are coaches that we have assessed and worked with, or trained. These are coaches that we recommend. Any other coach in our directory stands on their own merit. The approved and certified coaches on our site have joined one of our programs which allows our team the opportunity to assess, guide, and offer professional development.

Many other coaches join similar programs through different companies. This means that even coaches that aren’t specifically recommended are often great coaches. It’s important to find one that fits your needs, even if it isn’t one we specifically recommend.

5. Conclusion

Finding the right coach is the difference between achieving what you want or not. This means you need to know what you want in order to discover whether the coach can support you while you get there. If you don’t like someone telling you what to do, then find a coach who understands how to hold space and support you while you navigate your own path.

Ask questions, read content, look for recommendations. Hop on a call, and be willing to say no until you find the coach that offers what you want and need.

Sarah Langner

Sarah Langner

Sarah Langner helps invisible people become visible and works to build bridges between people, ideas, and ideologies. The sweetest part of my life is my family, my friends, desserts, and, of course, Disney World!

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