Choosing A Coach

It’s important that you take time choosing a coach if you are going to the return on your investment and reap the rewards of your coaching experience. There are many people who have derived huge benefits from and extol the virtues of their coach whilst unfortunately I know of others who have been disappointed and feel their experience has just left them with a huge hole in their pocket.

Solo Build It!

How can you ensure that you are choosing a coach who is right for you?

What do you want to achieve?

This is the first question you should ask yourself.

  • What area of your life are you looking to make changes in? Are you looking for help with your whole life, specifically your career or help with relationships?
  • What do you want to be different? Are you at a crossroads and looking to gain clarity to help you move forward or do you have a specific problem you would like to solve?
  • What help are you specifically looking for? Are you looking for a sounding board for your ideas, someone who will challenge your thinking or someone who will build your confidence?

Taking some time to think about these questions before you start your search will help you decide who to choose to assist you. If you have some ideas as to what you want to achieve when you speak with prospective coaches you should be able to gauge whether they can help you in the way you want.


With the rise in popularity of coaching as a profession many unqualified cowboys (and cowgirls) have jumped on the bandwagon and have labelled themselves as coaches. It is important therefore that you understand how qualified that person is to provide you with coaching – what formal coaching qualifications do they possess and what these qualifications mean in practice.


There are essential skills a coach should demonstrate to the highest standard such as listening, questioning, building rapport and the capacity to inspire and help you gain clarity. An initial conversation with a prospective coach will give you an indication as to whether they possess these skills.

If the coaching process has been clearly explained, and you have been listened to, your needs understood and you feel motivated to take the next step then this coach could be the person to help you achieve your dreams.

Directive versus non-directive

Do you want a coach who will offer you solutions (not true coaching) or do you want a coach who will help you to find your own solutions?

Just asking them whether they are a ‘directive’ or ‘non-directive’ coach may not help. I once asked specifically for a non-directive coach and ended up with the total opposite who spent most of the sessions interrupting me and telling me what I should do!

But you may want to ask what their approach is and whether they give solutions or prefer to help the client establish their own actions for moving forward.

The coaching relationship

Probably the most important factor in determining the best coach for you is the relationship between you and the coach. There needs to be openness, trust and respect between you - without these things it is impossible to be able to open up and really access the full potential of coaching. It is important to find a coach with whom you have rapport, who seeks to understand you, who inspires you to reach new heights, and with whom you are comfortable sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings.

When you first speak to potential coaches ask yourself how 'easy' the conversation felt, how much you feel whether you trust them and whether you feel that instant rapport. This is usually an intuitive feeling and don't be afraid to trust your gut. If that feeling is there then that is a good start to choosing a coach.


It can be argued that a skilled coach does not have to be experienced in the specific areas in which you need help as they will be asking you questions rather than solving your problems for you. However there are times when you may find that choosing a coach who comes from a similar background or who specializes in a specific area may be better equipped to ask you the questions that will help you move forward and better empathize with you.

Face to face or virtual coaching

Nowadays, as well as face to face coaching and telephone coaching, there are a range of virtual platforms using the internet that provide really good means of holding a coaching session. Whilst some people prefer to see their coach in person, others welcome the convenience and efficiency of virtual coaching. Explore with any potential coach how they deliver coaching and understand the methodology they use to ensure the experience for the coachee is maximised.


What is the track record of the coach? Be prepared to ask for written testimonials to understand how they have helped others in the past. Decide whether testimonials given are from a credible source and ask whether you can speak with past clients. Of course this may not be possible as there may be confidentiality issues but sometimes clients are prepared to give both written and verbal testimonials.

How Much Do You Want To Pay?

You do need to determine your budget for coaching – think about what is it worth to you? However, your budget should not get in the way of you considering the other factors above – choosing a coach (even if they are a most reasonably priced coach) will be a waste of money if they aren’t the right coach for you.

First it is important to understand the reason for the variance in coaching fees so you can then decide how much you are prepared to spend.

  • Fees are influenced by each coach’s chosen target market – how much can that person or organisation afford and what is the service worth to them? Business coaching fees are therefore generally much higher than personal or life coaching.
  • Some coaches will advertise a standard fee whilst others will charge what the client feels the service is worth to them.
  • Coaches are qualified to varying levels – those who have invested much time and money into their training may place a greater values on their services than those with no formal qualifications.
  • Some coaches charge more for face to face sessions than telephone coaching.
  • Some coaches spend more time preparing for and following up each coaching sessions and will budget for their time accordingly.
  • Some more experienced coaches may charge more as demand for their services increases.
  • Coaches who become experts in their field for example who specialise in certain areas generally command higher fees than coaches who coach anybody and everybody.
  • Perception of value as a marketing tool – some coaches will charge more as a way of giving the perception that their services are of greater value and better than those who charge less. Beware, more costly coaching does not necessarily mean better!
  • Some coaches may be VAT registered (UK) especially if they have a well developed business and/or are have corporate clients. This will mean that they have to pay VAT on the income they receive so their fees will reflect this. Some coaches may opt to pay the VAT on behalf of clients who are not VAT registered

Coaching fees – the figures

Many coaches give a free introductory session of around 30 minutes.

Personal and life coaching fees generally fall between £50 and £100 per hour, however, there are a few coaches who do charge as little as £35 for personal coaching

Business coaching fees usually start from around £150/hour and rise to over £200/hour.

What fees should you be paying?

There are a number questions to answer when deciding how much you should be paying:

  • How much can you afford?
  • How much is a good coach worth to you? If someone is going to help you transform your life and help you to achieve your goals what is this worth to you?
  • What are you getting for your money? How important is it that you have face to face coaching which generally costs more? What follow up, such as e-mail support is provided? How experienced and qualified do you want your coach to be?

Remember choosing a coach who is the right coach for you is a very important consideration so your needs should come first and the price will follow.

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