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Thinking of Hiring a Coach? Watch Out! May 21, 2006

Posted by John M McKee in Business.

john mckee 

It seems that the idea of using a business or executive coach to get ahead or to deal with roadblocks is now becoming very acceptable. Maybe even 'fashionable'. I have been involved with coaching since 1988, in all the years since, I have never seen so much interest and value attached to the use of a certified coach before this year.

Last year alone, I appeared on more television and radio shows than in the previous 3 combined. I was invited to speak about the value of coaching on ABC Network News, on Fox, and on NBC in 2005. A couple of months ago, I accepted an offer to become a Contributing Editor to a website based on helping women in management And in July I will start hosting my own web radio show which is being created for the same audience.

But despite all this good news, I concerned. And if you have any ideas about getting a coach, you should be as well. Here's why –

Item 1: Be a smart shopper:

I spent a fair amount of time in the retail business. I learned that when any product or service becomes very popular, a lot of similar-looking-but-not-as-good copies will soon hit the market. Be aware that this new level of 'coaching awareness' is bringing with it some real frauds and charlatans. If you have any thoughts about taking on a coach, I suggest you ask them 3 questions: 1. "Are you certified?" If so, that alone should reduce the chances that they are selling snake oil or touchy feely stuff that won't do anything to help you move ahead. 2. " Have you actually done what you coach?" This is a pretty good indicator of your chances for success as well. I don't think Tiger Woods would use a coach who'd never actually swung a club. 3. "What professional associations do you belong to?" If they are affiliated with either the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches or the International Coach Federation, you know they've got some credibility . Why Care about Industry Associations?

Item 2: Coaching Should Pay for Itself. Quickly

Ever met anyone who's used a therapist or counselor for what seems like forever?
Although Woody Allen seems to have a made a good career about joking about his various therapists; for the rest of us the wrong choice can be disastrous. My advice – don't take on any service provider if they can't tell you what to expect from your joint work. You wouldn't use a contractor to upgrade your bathroom without a commitment – why gamble with your career? Many executive and business coaches – including me – offer a guarantee of performance. This can take the form of either a 'full satisfaction or your money back' program or a return on investment (ROI) that's agreed to upfront.

In 2003 I was part of a 4 person team which did an industry analysis for the International Coaching Academy. We found many studies which proved conclusively that good effective coaching can provide an ROI of up to 500% over time. Get a commitment. Read the Wall Street Journal.com Article

Item 3: How Long Does It Take?

People always ask me, "How long would I need to work with you?" It's a good and fair question. Based on my experience I can tell you this: Hard, concrete results can witnessed often as little as 4 sessions. But it can also take as long as the client wants to continue. And that's the point. If you decide to work with a coach of any kind, set targets for achievement and 'by when' dates to monitor your progress. If you are moving ahead at the speed you want – stick with the coach. Otherwise – try someone else.

Item 4: My book is now listed at Amazon.com as a 'pre-release'.

These guys are great for the consumer! Other book sellers have it at the suggested retail of $15.95 – these guys are selling it for $10.37. Check it out at this address:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1587366185/qid=1148249111/sr=8-1/ref= sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-6583779-2836041?n=507846&s=books&v=glance

That's all for this issue.

If you have any comments or suggestions for my blog – please let me know.

– john



1. D Angeletti - November 5, 2006

What about people with learning disabilities? How can they maximize their potential on the job?

2. Mark McClure Coaching - November 18, 2008

@ D Angeletti – in Point #1 John mentioned 2 professional coaching associations. One way is to contact the International Coach Federation via their website and ask them to recommend certified coaches who specialize in what you are looking for.

Most likely, a professional and experienced coach would offer you a free trial session or refer you to a more appropriate colleague.

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