Coaching is currently an unregulated industry, although there is a big push to change this. What this means is that currently anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a “coach”. This creates challenges for a variety of reasons, particularly when you are trying to decide which coach to hire.
Given the masses of coaches that exist out there where do you start with finding the best person to work with? You want to make sure that you are making a great choice and a great investment. The goal of coaching is to maximize your potential and to create sustainable change, and the right coach will help you make this happen. 
Here are four questions to ask when considering hiring a coach.
What are their credentials?
As mentioned, coaching is currently an unregulated industry. What this means for you is to do your homework. Look for coaches who are graduates from programs that are credentialed from the International Coach Federation (ICF). A good starting point is to use the ICF’s Credentialed Coach Finder tool. Asking for recommendations from colleagues is another great way to get connected to a credentialed coach.
An ICF Credentialed Coach is a professional coach who has met stringent education and experience requirements and has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the coaching competencies and adhere to strict ethical guidelines that set the gold standard in the profession.Additionally, ICF Credentialed Coaches are required to participate in ongoing professional development and education in order to maintain their credential.
Who are they?
Coaching is all about relationship, and like any relationship, there needs to be a fit between both people. Most coaches offer the opportunity to get to know one another, so take advantage of this. In order for coaching to be effective you need to be open and honest with your coach, and this requires a high level of comfort with one another. Think about what information you need to take the next step with this coach and ask the questions that need to be asked.
What success stories can they share?
Effective coaching enables clients to be better and do better, in whatever form that is important to that client. Ask for some success stories of how the coach worked with the client. Coaching is always about the goals and needs of the client, so as a result, success is also about the client. Ask for stories that include demonstrated results of change and improvement. What happened for the client as a result of the coaching? Another key point to this, is ask for references!
What is their coaching focus?
In coaching one size does not fit all. Many coaches have an area of speciality in which they have either have extensive experience in or have done additional training. This really comes down to your needs. Are you wanting to grow your leadership abilities? Become an entrepreneur? Develop your parenting skills? Transition your career? Address challenges you are having as a woman in the workplace? There are speciality coaches for all of these topics, and many more. Don’t be afraid to pass on a coach if you feel that their speciality might not fit your needs. 
Whatever your reasons for hiring a coach make the choice carefully so that you will get everything you need from your coach. Knowing these four essential questions to ask will go a long way in helping you make the right choice!

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