That is a really good question. Coaching is an unregulated industry and there isn’t a universally recognised qualification or accreditation that might help you choose. Anyone is able to call themselves a coach and many do. Here are some pointers that you may want to consider.
In full disclosure I am a professional business coach and have been for 16 years so there is likely to be some bias in these thoughts.
For Business coaching to work well, it will be challenging.
It isn’t about transferring knowledge, books and training are better for that. It is about behavioural change. That necessitates a high degree of vulnerability, a high degree of trust on everybody’s part. Good coaching is intimate. You are not likely to get great results if you are not prepared to be very open and honest with your coach. So fit is incredibly important. How will you know whether you can work well with this person in such a close fashion?
You might want to consider the following:
- Does the prospective coach have the right character? What is his/ her intent? Is it about helping you or about getting the cheque? Why are they doing what they are doing? Are they trustworthy enough for you? What evidence do you have for your judgement? What have other clients said about the coach?
- Does the prospective coach have the right capabilities? Can you see a measurable path of great results with other clients? What accreditations and training has the coach had both as a coach and in business? Do they practice what they preach? Do they have a coach themselves? Are they affiliated with any respected bodies that demand ongoing development and accreditation?
- If coaching requires the ability to challenge the status quo do they have the courage to call you out in a way that you will listen to? Do they have the track record in business for that to be meaningful? Do they have enough faith in you and your abilities and will they be able to balance the need to be tough enough and compassionate enough.