May 24

Successful Business Coaching Means Selecting the Right Coach

Stephan Polomski
Stephan Polomski is director human resources, coach and trainer

In recent years the coaching market was growing rapidly since it became a psycho-social profession in business on its own. This new profession, the business coach, roots in both professional fields: psychotherapy and business consulting. Thus, a professional business coach has to be able to respond to questions concerning personal development as well as organizational development. Only then she is able to work on effective solutions together with her clients. And that is why professional coaches have command on several competency fields.

Before starting the selection of a business coach, the client should ask herself, what exactly the nature of her question is and what the possible outcome of the coaching should look like. Of course, a professional coach will always work with the client on a concrete and clear definition of an objective. However, an idea of the objective before the selection of the coach helps to successfully choose the right one.

Successful business coaching starts with the right selection of the coach.

“Not every coach is able to deal with every topic. Even big names are not a guarantee for success. A structured process for selection helps to find the right coach for the actual topic.”

Not every coach is able to deal with every topic. Even big names are not a guarantee for success. A structured process for selection helps to find the right coach for the actual topic. Here follow some questions focusing on various fields of competency which a professional business coach should be able to answer positively:

1. Is the coach able to understand the client´s business topic or question concerning her professional activities? Has she at least fundamental knowledge and experience in the client´s professional field?

Professional coaches have experience in several professional sectors like organization, marketing, management or controlling. Often, coaches did work in different professional functions.

2. Aside being a coach, in which other professional roles does the coach embody, e.g. like trainer, supervisor, or consultant, showing command on methodology and skills in these very roles?

A broad experience in different functional and professional roles is the key to flexibility and systemic input.

3. Is the coach able to organize, to structure and to manage the coaching project? Which level of experience does she have in leadership and in leading interviews?

Although the business coach is not a line manager she needs management and leadership skills not only in order to secure the process but to give relevant input out of these fields.

4. Do client and coach share the same value system?

This is a very essential question as the answer is the platform for a partnering and open-minded relationship, which is necessary in order to develop authentic solutions for the client.

5. Does the coach undergo supervision and professional development for his own regularly? Does she take care of her own?

Professional coaches regularly exercise self-reflection and undergo personal supervision as well as professional training.

6. What is the coach doing when she is not a coach? Is she able to enter at least mentally the social sphere of the client in order to understand relationships, social rules and structures?

Coaches need to picture culture, social networks, markets and industries a client acts in and they combine and link these major influences. In other words: they need to read the map of the client´s working situation.

7. Does the coach have outstanding communication skills? Does she embrace people giving them the shelter and space they need and, at the same time, does she intervene at the right moment?

Coaching is communicating – so the professional use of all possible communication tools in a defined context, a given situation, and with a set of one or more persons is a must.

If you get positive answers with convincing content to these questions the chances are very high that you found the right coach for the very topic or objective on your personal or organizational agenda.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2012 at 01:00 and is filed under Human Resources, Leadership, Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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Leave a comment

  1. Elan says:

    Like this article very much especially the questions that have been put forward. These questions not only benefit the customer but the coach too. Thank you Stephan.


  2. Stephan says:

    It was ment for both sides, indeed. Cheers, Stephan

  3. Bill Dueease says:

    I fully agree that successful business coaching starts with selecting the right coach, but I disagree with most of the “structured process for selection” that you list. True business coaching is all about unraveling the mysteries of the client by discovering their passions talents, values and self-imposed obstacles to give the client the clarity, the confidence and the motivation to develop their business on their own terms. The coach assists the clients to grow and improve as a person so the clients will take their businesses with them to the next levels. Consequently, I not only agree with No. 7 on your list, but emphasize it strongly. Clients want to find the business coach who they really connect with personally (No. 7) and who have an excellent track record for helping business owners achieve their business goals. Their clients win! Not much different than evaluating the right college athletic coach to sign with out of high school. Pick the coach you like and connect with the most, and who has a strong history of developing winning athletes and winning teams.

  4. Is it possible that you understand coaching as consulting? You are describing what coaching means for you, thank you for sharing this vision. – What I do not perceive is how you would recommend to select a coach except picking the one I like. A method, which is perfectly ok. At the same time, the blog offers a list of questions a client should answer for himself before making a decision in order to ensure a right decision. And I also cannot see why these seven questions are excluding or contradicting the content you are mentioning.