Now that you’ve committed to coaching, it’s time to find a coach! Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done. There are so many coaches out there to choose from, and picking the right one is critical to achieving the results you are looking for. Here are some tips on selecting the right coach for you:
1. Start with Why
Why do you want a coach? Are you struggling with a specific challenge? Are you trying to ascend in leadership? Are you just getting started in your career? Or, perhaps you are trying to make a career change. Some coaches are prepared to help their clients with a wide range of challenges, while others choose to specialize in specific areas—from leadership, to diversity & inclusion issues, to transitioning out of medicine.
2) Figure Out What Resonates With You
What motivates you? What style of feedback are you most likely to respond to? Do you need high energy or someone who is more low-key? Do you need someone who is really going to push you? Or do you need someone who will just listen? Do you want someone who can relate to you as an individual—perhaps they are similar in age, of the same gender or race, or in the same field? Knowing what your needs are and what type of personality you are looking for will help you narrow the field further.
3) Method Matters
How do you best connect with others? Do you want a coach that you can meet with in person? Do virtual meetings work well for you, or would regular telephone calls work better? Take the time to think about how you will best engage with your coach. Meeting in person is typically effective because you and the coach can both focus on the session with minimal distraction. In-person meetings also have the benefit of preserving nonverbal cues, such as body language. However, it requires that the coach is either in the same area as you, or is willing to travel. Telephone calls are much more flexible, but they can also be tempting for multitasking with other activities, such as driving. Virtual platforms, like Zoom, may be a reasonable compromise between the two. The method of communication can have a big impact on your coaching options. Believe it or not, coaches all around the country are available to you—you are not just limited to those in your area. Find out which modes of communication that potential coaches offer.
4) Consider Value
Coaching does cost money, but it can be well worth it if you get the results you are looking for. Coaching can range from $250 to $500 per hour, depending on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the coach’s experience, duration of the engagement, and (if applicable) travel costs. However, the costs must be weighed against what you hope to gain from your coaching experience. Think about the best possible outcome you could receive from coaching. The cost of coaching is an investment in that outcome. This value will become more apparent as you explore potential coaches. Be prepared to balance all of your coaching needs with the costs.
5) Narrow Down the Field
Once you have taken the time to figure out exactly what you are looking for, it is time to actually find the coach! There are a number of ways to start this—an online search on Google, LinkedIn, or social media, a visit to the International Coach Federation’s website, or a recommendation from friends or colleagues. Do your research and come up with a list of potential coaches based on experience and expertise. Narrowing down your list further will likely require more than just information that can be found online. Reach out to the coaches on your list and schedule an introductory call. Take advantage of this time to see if this coach will fit your needs. Before the call, make sure to have a clear idea of what you would like the coach’s help with. In talking with them, be honest about what you are looking for. Ask them about their prior experiences. Get a feel for their personality and whether it will work well for you. Gain a better understanding of the logistics—how often will you meet, how will you communicate, how long will the engagement last, etc. Ask them about costs. How well does all of this align with what you are looking for? What does your gut instinct tell you about the person?
Start Your Coaching Journey Today!
Picking a coach may seem onerous or overwhelming, but the right person and the right decision will come to you if you put in the effort on the front end. Take the time to think about why you want coaching and how you need it to be packaged. Going through this process will lead you to the coach that can help elevate you to the next level.
Muyibat Adelani, MD
Muyibat is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri and has been in practice for six years. She completed her residency at Washington University and her fellowship in joint replacement at Stanford University. Her clinical interests include primary and revision hip and knee arthroplasty. In addition to her clinical practice, she is highly involved in medical student and resident education, including the Washington University School of Medicine Gateway Coaching Program for medical students. Outside of work, she enjoys sports, photography, and interior design.