The 6 C’s of Finding the Right Coach

It’s a new year and a great time to start making positive changes to your organisation or your career. But if you’re finding it hard to successfully achieve the change you want, then bringing in a helping hand from someone independent might be just what you need. Partnering up with a coach will certainly kick start the process but exactly how do you go about finding the right one?

Here’s how to make your search a little easier by looking into The 6 C’s’ of finding the right coach:






Continued professional development.


Let’s explore these further…..

1. Clients

Start your search by looking for a coach who has a good grasp and appreciation of your specific goals and challenges.  Look for a coach whose has previous clients that you can really connect with.

Coaches tend to have a niche area where they like to focus.  Research the coaches who have primarily worked with clients facing the same or similar challenges to you e.g.

  • people going through redundancy/career change
  • employees developing their leadership skills
  • leaders or managers implementing organisational change.

Explore their websites for case studies.  These real-life examples are great indicators of your potential coach’s experience and they provide evidence of the results their coaching achieves.

How much can you relate to your potential coach after reading examples of their coaching?  

2. Credentials

Surprisingly, coaches are not mandated to undertake any standard training or qualification.  You need to feel 100% confident that your coach will give you value and return on your investment.  So check that your coach is up to scratch.

Coaching training can vary from a 1 day course to more in-depth studying over several years.  If in doubt, ask them directly and ensure you feel comfortable with their response.

What level of training and qualifications would you ideally like to see in your coach?

Although a counselling or therapy background is valuable within the coaching process, a coach requires different skills and focus so specific coaching training is ideal.  Make sure that you’re getting what you pay for.

In the end, qualifications provide real and tangible evidence of a coach’s knowledge and training.  But nothing really beats powerful testimonials from previous clients.  Explore their websites or check ‘LinkedIn’ for published proof of their recommendations.  You can even ask to chat with a couple of their previous clients to get feedback from the horse’s mouth.

Better still, ask friends and colleagues for recommendations of great coaches they have worked with

3. Chemistry

One of the most important elements of effective coaching is trust.  Complete, 2-way trust between coach and client is critical and this should build over time.  However, the coaching client must feel comfortable working with their coach from the outset. If that ‘chemistry’ is missing either way, that often means the end of the road.

Start by talking, skyping or meeting face to face with a potential coach.  A good coach will understand that chemistry is vital and will often encourage a free ‘chemistry session’ to get acquainted.  This is where both parties can make an early judgement call on compatibility.

After meeting your potential coach for the first time, consider the following:

Do you feel that you have been listened to and understood?

Do you feel that you could be open and honest with this person?

Did you start to get clarity on how you could benefit from coaching?

If these are answered with a ‘yes!’ then you are likely to form an effective coaching partnership. But if you’re still sitting with unaddressed concerns, you are under no obligation to continue.

Honesty is always the best policy and an ethical coach will understand and accept this without question.  It’s all part of the process.

4. Confidentiality

Ethical coaching = Confidential discussions.  

A coach must be able to assure the limits of confidentiality within the coaching relationship.  Again, it relates back to trusting your coach to create a safe space for openness and honesty.  Without this trust and understanding of confidentiality, any coaching will only scratch the surface and you’ll struggle to identify the root cause of your challenges.

How does your potential coach explain how they maintain confidentiality within the coaching relationship?  

Try to gain an understanding of your coach’s ethical standards.  There are several professional bodies including EMCC, ICF, AC, which define the principles by which coaches should operate.  If a coach is unable to clearly articulate their code of ethics, they may be worth avoiding!

If in doubt, ask about confidentiality and ensure that your questions are clearly answered so you can fully focus on your coaching goals.

5. Concept

Coaching draws on tools, techniques and models from several disciplines.  Individual and experienced coaches develop their own personal approach, or ‘concept of coaching which they have gravitated towards over time.  Your potential coach should be able to succinctly define how they will support you throughout the coaching engagement.  Alarm bells should be ringing if the coach struggles to clarify their coaching concept.

If you feel confused or unclear about how they will support you, then dig deeper until you get the assurance you need.  Your coach should be skilled in the removing the element of confusion from the coaching relationship before any sessions begin.

6. Continued Professional Development (CPD)

Your search may identify coaches with 20 years’ experience and a long list of clients under their belt.  Impressive right? But before you sign on the dotted line, ask yourself exactly how they keep on top of their game.

There’s always new published research into coaching and psychological approaches which experienced coaches are continually learning and applying to their coaching.  Investment in continued professional development (CPD) ensures that coaches are operating to the highest of standards.  So don’t be afraid to ask them how they invest in their CPD.  This might include training in new techniques, attending conferences on the latest research or taking coaching supervision sessions.

Although not mandated, supervision is an important part of ensuring that your coach is operating effectively. It allows a coach to reflect, learn and further develop their coaching practice.   So ask them about their view on supervision.  That way you’ll be confident that they are looking after themselves and as well as you!


So, if you’ve decided to invest in coaching to support yourself or the people in your organisation, get some assurances that you’ll receive the best quality service for your money.  Doing your research upfront will pave the way for a great coaching experience.  And if you still feel uncertain, I’d be happy to help you talk through your options.

Good luck!

Tammy Windsor

Tammy is a professional coach, trained at post-graduate level and also holds Ph.D in Pharmacology. She spent 14 years in the pharmaceutical industry leading global clinical teams as well as supporting strategic and culture change across these organisations.

Tammy founded InnovaCoaching after seeing the significant and positive impact of change on individuals and organisations which coaching and mentoring provides,.

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