October 16, 2019

Put me in coach! How to find the right coach to suit your needs

By Alyson Garrido

It seems like everyone has a coach these days – life coaches, wellness coaches, career coaches – the list goes on and on. There’s a huge range of options to choose from and an even wider range of cost and quality. Here are some important questions and considerations to address when looking for your own coach.

What would you like to achieve?

First, consider your goals in working with a coach. What would you like to achieve and how would you like a coach to support you in getting there? Having clarity around your coaching goals and expectations will help you and your coach gauge fit and choose appropriate tools for support.

What is coaching? 

According to the International Coach Federation, it is a coach’s responsibility to discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve. Further, coaches encourage self-discovery, elicit client-generated solutions and strategies, and hold the client responsible as well as accountable. This is very surprising to most people. Coaches are often thought of as professionals who give direction and sets goals on behalf of their clients. In pure coaching, the client is the expert! A coach helps the client reach their own conclusions through thoughtful questioning with the goal of forward movement.

Who should hire a coach?

A coach is best suited for someone who is comfortable setting an agenda and is looking for a partner, rather than a guide in reaching their goals. The client is the expert because coaching is about finding the right answers for an individual. In a job search, coaches are ideal for people who are considering a new career path, but aren’t sure what they would enjoy doing in their next position. Coaches help their clients move forward and clear roadblocks to success. Working with a coach might be frustrating for someone who wants answers provided to them right away or wants to defer to an expert. 

Who can call themselves a coach?

The short answer to this question is anyone. For this reason, you’ll come across a wide range of people calling themselves coaches with little or no qualifications or training to do so. It’s a good idea to find a coach that is affiliated with a professional organization, like the International Coach Federation. This ensures that the coach has completed training and is required to abide by a code of ethics which protects your confidentiality, among other things, and gives you an escalation point if you have any concerns. 

Where can I find a qualified coach?

If you know someone who has hired a coach, referrals are always a great place to start. You can find referrals from a friend, colleague, or even your HR team. Many companies keep a list of preferred coaches. The person referring will be able to share their experience and the results they achieved. You can also search for accredited coaches via the International Coach Federation website.  

How do I select the right coach for me?

Shop around! I believe that coaching is truly a partnership and you need to select the right partner for you. Even if someone is the most talented coach in the world, if you don’t click with them or the trust isn’t there, the relationship won’t be as beneficial as it could be. Have a chat with two or three coaches to learn about their style, preferences and price point. Most coaches offer a free chat to see if you are the right fit. Remember, you’re not limited to coaches in your area – many coaches work with clients globally. 

What will coaching cost?

This is a hard one to research as prices can vary greatly based on the coach’s location, experience, qualifications and focus. Based on my experience, you can expect to see the cost of coaching range from $100 to over $400 per hour. Most coaches price services according to packages rather than single sessions as coaching goals are typically long-term. Coaches are typically selected and paid for by the client or by the client’s place of employment. 

Alyson Garrido, Courtesy of Alyson Garrido

Who else can help?  


Consultants are experts in their fields. In working with a consultant, you are able to tap into their expertise and learn from their experience. If you’re looking for a guide in the job search process, a consultant may be a good fit.  A consultant may have a step-by-step process to get a job or a provide incremental goals for the client.


For most people, mentors are in the same industry and have several years of additional experience to guide the mentee. Mentors can provide you with advice in navigating a similar career path. They will also have advanced knowledge of their industry norms and best practices when job searching.


Sponsors are impactful advocates within your organization. They will put you forward for opportunities to advance in your career and help to remove obstacles that may hinder your success. 

There is sometimes an overlap between coaches and other support. For example, in my practice, I provide coaching to help candidates identify their ideal role. I then take on a consulting role as we approach the ins and outs of best practices in job searching or reviewing a resume. A sponsor may also take a coaching approach to help you find the right answers, rather than providing solutions and advice. 

It is most important to understand what will be provided and the qualifications of the person you’re enlisting to help. Before you invest your time and/or money, ensure that you are receiving the services that you need to help you move forward.  

Alyson Garrido is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) who is passionate about helping women advance their careers and find jobs they will enjoy. As a career coach, she partners with her clients to identify their strengths and create a path toward a more fulfilling career. Alyson also provides support for interview preparation, salary negotiations and performance reviews, ensuring her clients present themselves and their goals in the best possible light. Learn more at www.alysongarrido.com

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