“Get your bum up that hill, do it, now!”, shouted a woman right outside my window. Truth be told I was afraid she might lash out at me, whip in hand, if I came into view.
I didn’t look to see the poor soul she was screaming at – but she had my sympathy! I wonder if her inner critic gave her an equal bashing along the lines of ‘I can’t believe you’re paying for this torture’.
It’s moments like these I realize how often we sign-up for things without doing our research.
Here’s what I mean: if you need help with anything in your life, make sure you get help from the person that is the best – in their field and for you!
If I had been on the receiving end of that shout (which I’m 100% sure wasn’t the only one), I’d have packed it in. Not right there and then; but I’d make excuses for not wanting to book another session (even if I had paid).
Now, whether it’s a personal trainer, life coach, or stylist; you’ve got to make sure you speak the same language!
So, here are the 5 things I wish I’d known before I hired a coach:
1. Give yourself a pat on the back
There’s this huge level of fear building up inside you and your inner critic might be screaming ‘why are you doing this? We’re a good team, we can figure this out on our own’. We’re all afraid of being judged: whether that’s our appearance or our intellect.
So, when you’ve made the decision that you want to work with a coach: KUDOS! Now don’t run to the first person you know nothing about just because you’re SO GLAD you finally made the decision to do it.
2. Be honest with yourself on what you want
If you’re going to hire a fitness trainer, ask yourself ‘why’: do you want to actually get fit? Or do you want to check out the hot guys in the gym? Or are you looking for a boyfriend? Are you hoping that the fitness trainer is going to sort out your emotional life?
Okay, I’m exaggerating. The point is though: if you’re looking to get fit get a fitness trainer. If you’re interested to understand your emotional baggage get a counsellor. If you want to look your best on stage get a stylist. And if you’re ready to improve your life and career get a coach.
Just be honest with yourself!
3. Do your research
That’s right! You need to do a bit of digging. After all: you wouldn’t just buy a new fridge without knowing its features?
Now that you know the real reason you want to hire a coach, it’s time to find the best one for the job. And in this case ‘best’ refers to the one that has the expertise you’re looking for, coupled with being a good fit for your personality.
You’ve got to trust her!
You’re going to reveal things about yourself or about your life that you never thought you’d share with anyone. So, be diligent in your research; read their blogs, watch their videos, check out their media appearances or what other people are saying about them.
4. Try it out
Most coaches offer a free consult session or conversation. I know I do.
So, once you’ve got a shortlist reach out to them. Set-up a call and prepare some questions you want to ask before making a decision.
Top tip: take notes! Not only on what they say, but also about how you feel (understood, valued, warm, comfortable, safe, etc.).
5. Compare notes and decide
Finally, after you’ve spoken to at least a couple (that’s not just one!), compare your notes and make a decision. Please, please, please let your gut play a big part in this.
Feeling a connection with your coach is really important! This matters way more than whether she wears Jimmy Choo’s!
Go for heart over head on this! You’ve already done the research; she wouldn’t have made your shortlist if she didn’t have the experience and skills you’re looking for, right?
So, trust your gut on this.
If you’re struggling with the ‘what’ you want help with from a coach or trainer, envision yourself in a couple of years. Where are you? Who with? What do you do?
This might look something like this:
I’m the Director of Customer Experience for a large airline. It’s my job to lead a small team solely dealing with making us better on sustainability and environmental issues.
It combines my skills of leading, managing and problem solving with my experience in the travel industry, as well as my passion for the environment and belief that you can only turn something around from the inside.
While my career has taken of, I’ve been also able to achieve work-life balance! No more all-nighters or red-eye flights! I’m much more motivated and have joined a local gardening group. Being happier with myself I’ve become a better manager; and I feel it’s making me a better person. Who knows? I might even have found Prince Charming.
With that vision in place it’s much easier to get clear on what you want – and where a coach could help.
Want to up your skills in managing or problem solving?
Want to get more insights into sustainability in travel?
Feel unsure how to position yourself for this role based on your past experience?
Have too much work with too little life right now?
Think it’s all about Prince Charming?
Just to drum it in one more time: If you’re looking for a coach: know what you want!
“But, Claudia, I’m really not looking for a coach at the moment!”
No worries! Just be sure to come back to this list when you do.
“Claudia, I get your example, but I have too many visions for my life in a couple of years’ time. I don’t want to miss out on any of them. What to do?”
Simple, let’s chat! Just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know when would be a good day/time.
I’d be really happy to chat things over with you and help you come up with a clear vision.
One more thing: if you know someone who is looking, please share these tips with them!
It might just save them some tears (and save you from listening to their woes of not having found their happy-ever-after, dream job or Prince Charming – while losing a chunk of money!).