Unless you’ve had a coach before you’re probably not sure how to work with a coach. I didn’t have consistently good experiences with sports coaches when I was a teen, so although I felt I needed a coach, I wasn’t sure what to expect when starting to work with a coach.

Fortunately, I found a good coach and I benefitted greatly from working with him. Now that I coach business owners and professionals to help them become more successful, I look at coaching in a systematic way aimed to produce results. Here are some things to think about as you consider coaching.

Experience and Education: What has the coach you are considering done in their career? Do they have relevant business and professional experience that would indicate that they have lived through situations that you are experiencing? Do they have education that has helped them develop knowledge relevant to coaching?

Chemistry: To work well with a coach, you will need to have a good sense of chemistry with them. When you talk with a prospective coach, do you get a good vibe? Is this someone you can trust? Do you feel you will be able to develop a good interactive relationship with them?

Candor: Coaches and people being coached are most effective when they can share honest feedback in a helpful, productive manner. Does your prospective coach strike you as someone who will tell you what they think? Will you be able to be candid with them?

Goals: Do you have specific goals you want to achieve through coaching? Does the coach have a process to help you set goals and track your progress?

Perspective: How will the coach help you develop an outside perspective on your career or business? What do you hope to learn from this perspective? Does the coach offer qualitative feedback? Does he or she use any testing or profiling instruments to help you gain perspective on your strengths and development areas?

Accountability: Are you ready to be accountable to yourself for growth and results from coaching? How will your coach help you stay on track toward the achievement of your goals?

Agenda: Are you prepared to collaborate with your coach to set an agenda for your meetings or work from a regular checklist of topics you want to discuss? Getting the most out of coaching will require some foresight and planning.

Homework: The time spent with your coach is just part of the value of coaching. You and your coach are likely to agree on things that you should work on between coaching sessions. Will you have time to do the work that coaching requires between meetings?

Commitment: Are you committed to coaching and the benefits it will provide you? Whether you are interested in short-term coaching toward the achievement of a very short-term goal or ongoing coaching aimed at producing lasting impact, your commitment to coaching is essential.

Results: The aim of coaching is to produce a specific result. As such, you should be focused on achieving those results. Accordingly, you should ask yourself – and your coach – on a regular basis how you are doing toward achieving your results. Do you know what you really want from coaching, and are you prepared to work diligently toward achieving results?

If you’re in the process of evaluating coaches, you can use this framework to interview prospective coaches. Remember – your coach is working for you, and you should be sure to get the value you want out of your coaching relationship.

To talk with Chuck Hall, call him at 267-640-5932, or email him: [email protected].