What to Look for in a Coach

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Are certifications the key to finding a qualified coach?  Past experience?  Personal empathy?  Whether you are considering an assist for your personal life or your business, consider the one thing that consistently creates great coaches.

The best mentor or coach is the person who has had to overcome adversity in his/her career, to create great accomplishment.   It’s easy to reach home plate if you start on third base; the best coaches are the ones who had to fight their way out of the dugout, just to get to bat – then, after they lead the league in RBIs, they start teaching others to do the same.  I believe great obstacles make great coaches.  Overcoming obstacles teaches you how to win; effective coaches pass that experience on to others.  When everyone is a wannabe pundit, and self-proclaimed expert, how do you cut through the BS ..and find some real results?

Business coaching doesn’t necessarily require a particular certification.

Consider instead: Has your mentor or coach achieved what you seek, or can they demonstrate how they have helped others to reach their goals? That track record is more important than any certification, because it is personal to you, and to your needs (or your company’s needs). Plus, a long list of degrees (certifications) doesn’t necessarily mean that the coach will be effective for you (will you get along? can they truly help you and meet your needs? does this individual fit with the culture of my organizations?  certifications won’t tell you that). Experience in the face of difficulty is what matters most, combined with personal rapport. The track record of accomplishment should give you the personal confirmation you need.

I believe great obstacles make great coaches.

I want to share some links to those who have provided coaching and guidance to me, and to offer you a perspective that may add value to your own.  Since this list could be quite long, I’ve decided to limit it to just three people that have made a difference for me.  To be fair, each specializes in different areas of coaching.  And, in the interest of full disclosure, none of these folks knows that I put them on the “short list” – so here it is:

Michael Neill, the Supercoach – well, if you’re going to talk about coaching, you might as well talk about the SuperCoach.  Neill has used his own personal experience and training in NLP to create a substantial following on Supercoach.com.  While my attention tends to concentrate on business and communication, I have really appreciated Michael’s focus on the human element, and the potential that resides within each of us.

Les McKeown, author of “The Synergist” – having started over 40 businesses, Les has developed a professional perspective that is both unique, and universal.  In 2010, he released Predictable Success (Greenleaf) and his follow-up book, The Synergist, comes out in January 2012.  You can check out my interview with Les, and learn more about The Synergist, by clicking on this YouTube link.


Rebel Brown – another Greenleaf author, Rebel is someone who “gets it” when it comes to breaking free from whatever might be holding you down.  Her book, “Defy Gravity”, helps companies and individuals to shake off the confines of the past, and embrace the new economy with a fresh perspective.

Who do you turn to, as a coach?  How do you know you need a coach?

Image courtesy of wsilver.  Used under creative commons, some rights reserved.

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