Coaching has been described as a ‘glow word’, a term that makes us feel good when we use it, despite it having no clear meaning.  This is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, Coaching providers can benefit vicariously from the success of Coaching as an intervention over the last 30 years. On the other hand, it can be difficult for buyers of Coaching services to distinguish those who are creating the glow and those who are reflected in it.

To help you choose a coach you might ask yourself:

How can I understand more about what to expect from Coaching?


How should I go about choosing an appropriate coach?

Here are some Coaching questions that you might ask a prospective coach to help you to answer these questions:

Who is the coach?

Asking who the coach is, allows you to hear from the coach what to expect from coaching and appropriate ‘fit’ with your organisation and employees. Clients need to have trust in their coach to facilitate personal exploration and to encourage new learning and personal discoveries that can emerge in a Coaching relationship.

A good question to ask is: Tell me about yourself and your Coaching practice. 

What approach does the coach take?

Look for an empathetic skill set offering psychological safety, ever deepening rapport and confidence.  Ask the coach about active listening, questioning, and the ability to suspend personal values and beliefs for the client’s benefit?  Reflection, comfort with uncertainty, and delivery of clear outcomes may also be relevant for you.

A good question to ask is: How do you describe the way you coach?

Where is the coach in their personal coaching development?

New coaches start with standard approaches and coaching models that are widely used (e.g. GROW). Coach maturity emerges as the coach knows and works with their own values. This maturity develops further when the coach can take an objective perspective on their own values and work with the different values of their clients.

A good question to ask is: What has your work told you about yourself and your Coaching practice in the last three months?

When will the Coaching be completed?

Coaches distinguish transactional and transformational change. Transactional change refers to specific behavioural changes (e.g. delegate more effectively following a promotion). Transformational change refers to a more sustainable and holistic awareness of behaviour and options for change. Transformational coaching is deeper and takes longer.

A good question to ask is: What will indicate a successful outcome to this Coaching assignment?

Why are you a coach?

Understand the coach’s personal motivation for Coaching including their purpose and what led them to coaching.  A coach who engages with Coaching supervision, accreditation and continuing professional development, demonstrates professional commitment.

A good question to ask is: What made you decide to work as a coach?

How aware are you as a coach?

Coaches are frequently engaged to help individuals or groups become more aware of their potential to change.  This can involve working from different perspectives, building better working relationships, and being more self-aware.  Coaches who personally demonstrate these attributes are more likely to elicit similar skills in their clients

A good question to ask is: How can you demonstrate the depth of your own self-awareness?