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Barry Zweibel, MCC
Master Certified Coach |

"Yes it's time, and YES, You're Ready!"

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How to Choose a Coach for Yourself

A primer on choosing a coach that you C-L-I-C-K with

Congratulations! You've decided you're ready to get yourself a coach! Or would you rather say that you've decided you're almost ready to get yourself a coach?! Either way, you're probably wondering how to choose a Coach best suited to you and your life. Fortunately, that's what this page is about.

How to Choose a Coach - Step One
Get clear about your 'What' and 'How'

First there's the 'what'. Maybe you want help in finding a new job, or getting better organized, or getting an important project underway or making an important decision, or simply learning how to enjoy life more, or any of a number of other things. The point is that the clearer you are on 'what' you want to achieve, the easier it will be for you to tell that to your life coach.

Then there's the 'how'. As with the 'what', the more clearly you understand 'how'  you want to achieve your 'what' the more effective the life coaching process can be:

  • Do you want to boldly go where no one has gone before, follow a proven path, or something in between?

  • Do you want your life coach track assignments and deliverables from you, help you brainstorm and clarify new ideas, or something in between?

  • Do you want your life coach to be more like a drill-sergeant or a cheer-leader?

'How' you want your life coach to support you is key. But if you're not sure, ask the life coaches you talk with for help in clarifying it for you. The benefits of this are twofold: (1) you come to clarity on the matter; and (2) you experience first-hand how the coach coaches.

How to Choose a Coach - Step Two
Screen Potential Coaches based on their ...

  • Relevant Coaching Experience ... or lack thereof - To be effective at life coaching, it is not necessary for the life coach to have experienced exactly what you're trying to accomplish. But it helps. So, look for a coach with relevant coaching experiences to what you're hoping to achieve.

  • Relevant Pre-Coaching Background ... or lack thereof - What did the life coach do before becoming a coach? It may not matter, but then again, it just might. Find out and see if it's relevant to what you want to work on.

  • Coaching Credentials ... or lack thereof - Look at this from a few perspectives. Life coach training is key because life coaching isn't something that just anyone can do well. Also look for more than just basic training; look for advance training and certification from an accredited coaching organization such as the International Coach Federation.

  • Commitment to Coaching ... or lack thereof - Look for a full-time coach. Don’t be fooled by trainers, speakers, and consultants, who only “coach” when their other work dries up. It's not that these aren't good people, it's just that it typically takes several hundred hours of practice to hone one’s skills as a professional coach.  

Learn more about Barry Zweibel, certified coach and president of GottaGettaCoach!, Incorporated.

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How to Choose a Coach - Step Three
Ask for an Interview or Free Sample Session

Most coaches offer free, no-strings-attached sample coaching sessions. Take them up on the offer. To make the most of these calls, have something 'specific' to discuss - the more specific the better - and actively engage in the coaching process to see what it's like, how it works, and what it changes.

This is actually one of the best parts of choosing a coach. Where else can you try-before-you-buy like this? Can you go to a restaurant and sample the fare without paying? Can you 'borrow' some new clothes from a department store an walk out without paying for them? Will a taxicab driver take you somewhere for free so you can test out his traffic-handling skills? No. No. No. But with coaching, sample sessions are a big yes, Yes, YES! So do a number of them before selecting who you want to work with on an ongoing basis.

Contact Barry Zweibel to schedule your sample coaching session.

Although the coaching relationship is a partnership between you and your life coach, it remains YOUR responsibility to monitor and discuss how well the partnership is working for YOU.

How to Choose a Coach - Step Four
Assess the 'C-L-I-C-K' between your and your Potential Coach

So how do you choose which life coach to choose? Try using the 'click' acronym:

  • C stands for Contribution - How much did the life coach contribute to you meaningfully addressing the issue you brought to the call? What Next Steps do you see now that you didn't before?

  • L stands for Listening - Who did more of the talking, you (which is good) or the life coach (which is not as good). How well do you feel the coach understood who you really are? How well did the life coach's words resonate with you? What did you hear in your own words that was new? How helpful was the conversation?

  • I stands for Intensity - What kind of energy was there on the call and how motivated were you by the life coach's style and approach? How engaged were you able to become in the call? What new thoughts, feelings, and insights surfaced for you that can speak to the value of the sample session?

  • C stands for Connection - How aligned did you feel with the life coach? How did you like the tone and mood of the call? How was the rapport? Did the coach “get” where you were coming from? Coaching conversations have an electricity about them, but the switch doesn’t always get turned on. Was there an instant kind of rapport? Imagine what an ongoing life coaching relationship would be like with this life coach - how does that feel?

  • K stands for "Kreativity!" - How good a job did the life coach do in getting you to see old things in new ways, or get out of you own way, or get back on track, or whatever? How motivated are you to WANT to work with this life coach on an ONGOING basis? How confident are you that this particular life coach can help you achieve your 'what' and 'how'?

Now, take out a piece of paper and rate each coach's 'click-factor' (4 points = great; 1 point= lousy).

a sample evaluation form
Name: Barry Zweibel Somebody Else*
Company: GottaGettaCoach! So-So Life Coaching*
C Contribution 4 2
L Listening 4 1
I Intensity 4 3
C Connection 4 2
K "Kreativity!" 4 2
Total 20** 10

                * A fictitious name and company, but you knew that, didn't you?!
                ** Hey, it's my website so why shouldn't I come out on top?!

Tally the scores, see if they match your 'gut' feel and if so, you're decision is made!

How to Choose a Coach - Step Five
Dollars and 'Sense'

If it's not already apparent, all coaches are NOT created equal. That is, being coached by someone is NOT the same as being coached by anyone. So don't fall into the trap of thinking that coaching is a commoditized service ... because it's not. Coaches are NOT interchangeable. Say you needed brain surgery. You wouldn't pick a surgeon based solely on cost, now, would you? Not that coaching is brain-surgery, but it's certainly not like buying batteries for a flashlight . (Unless you're a battery salesperson in which case my apologies for the analogy!)

Why might some coaches charge less?

  • Maybe they are new (read: inexperienced).

  • Maybe they are struggling to get new clients (read: desperate).

  • Maybe they are part-timers (read: hobbyists).

  • Maybe they are testing some new methodologies (read: experimenting).

Or maybe they're offering an absolutely incredible deal (read: it's possible). It's fine to say, "all things being equal, I buy on price." But that works only if all things really ARE equal. And they're not - especially when you're selecting a coach to help you move meaningfully forward. Now obviously, higher fees don't always mean better service. But should you find a coach you really like and 'click' with - someone who really helps you think smarter, feel better, and act sooner - don't let a few extra dollars (either way) get in your way of getting you from where you are now to where you want to be.

An Alternative Approach to Selecting the Right Coach for You

Thomas J. Leonard (1955-2003), CEO of, Founder of Coach University, and widely regarded as having been the Father of Coaching, loved Venn Diagrams. Here's one he created to help people select the right coach. Take your time reviewing it - it's got some considerable depth:

selecting the right coach, per Thomas Leonard

Whatever methodology you use to choose your coach, though - mine, Thomas', or someone else's, for that matter - choose your coach sooner rather than later. Because as Stevie "Guitar" Miller sang over and over again, "Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking ... into the future."

Contact Barry Zweibel at GottaGettaCoach! to start your life coaching.

Need a little more information about about what life coaching is and how it differs from therapy? Want to learn what makes a certified life coach more able to help than say a friend or family member? Good for you. Here are some resources to help:

Learn more about what life coaching IS AND what life coaching is NOT.

GottaGettaCoach!, Incorporated » Helping Smart, Capable, People Accelerate their Personal/Professional Development.

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GottaGettaCoach!®, Incorporated
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Office: 847-291-9735 Fax: 847-291-0565

1724 Larkdale Road Northbrook, Illinois 60062-5931
Office: 847-291-9735 Fax: 847-291-0565
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