Life coaches come from all backgrounds. Some are trained through a university, others through vocational programs. Some have no real training at all! In the midst of all the options and styles out there, let's remember what life coaching is meant to be.
Real life coaching is about empowerment, not about the ego of the coach. Know how to spot the best coach for you, and those who aren't worth your time. If you're working with a coach who exhibits any of these five characteristics, it's time to move on!
1. Your coach expected you to commit before having a conversation.
Steer clear of anyone who expects you to commit to working with her before you've spoken with her. And I don't mean a "Hi, thanks for asking, here are my rates, sign up here" conversation. I'm talking about at least 15 to 30 minutes, during which you can get a feel for the philosophy of this coach and ask questions. You are the client. You need to feel good about the chemistry of working with this coach before you commit.
2. Your coach forgets that your process is about you, not him.
If your coach has an agenda for where your life should lead, run far away. A life coach is a mirror. A reflector for you to see yourself more clearly. If your coach can tell you what he thinks you need or where he will make you end up, this person is in it for his ego and not your best interest. A good coach will facilitate your process, but where you "end up" is up to you, not your coach.
3. Your coach says she's been coaching most of her clients for years.
If your coach has clients she's been meeting with weekly for years, and that is the expectation, think twice about whether this person is the right fit for you. Remember, the goal of coaching is to help you step forward in your empowerment, not to pad her bank account.
If your coach says she works with her clients for a limited number of sessions, that's a good sign. It means she expects to roll up her sleeves and get things done, not foster a dependent relationship.
4. Your coach doesn't answer your questions openly and honestly.
If you don't know much about him, ask for referrals or testimonials. Ask him how long he's been coaching and what type of clients he typically coaches. Ask him why he is a coach.
5. Your coach is not professional.
Is she on time to appointments? Is she distracted when you speak? Is she actually listening to what you have to say? If not, fire her. Make sure you have clarity on the contract you sign before entering the partnership. Know what you're committing to, what the cancellation or refund policy is, and use it if you need to. Never commit to something open-ended or indefinite. There should always be a set amount of time you're working together and possibly an option to extend, but you should never feel you're locked in indefinitely. This should be a good coaching relationship for both of you.
Coaching is a powerful tool, so find someone who wields it skillfully. If your coach is not measuring up, fire her and move on! You're too valuable to waste your time. There are some amazing coaches out there, and you deserve to have one who is perfect for you!