Article by Terri Levine

Are you feeling called to hire a coach to create your extraordinary life?

As you will discover there are lots of “coaches” out there. But some folks who use the term “coach” don’t have enough training, or follow the ethics and professional standards of the International Coach Federation.

Before you begin investigating coaches, begin thinking about why you want to hire a coach, and some of your short-term and long-term goals. That way you’ll be able to locate a coach who resonates with your personality and your aspirations.

Meanwhile, here are three guidelines to help you make a wise choice.

1. The key criteria I would use in hiring a coach consists first of finding out what their training as a coach has been.

Have they attended or are they currently attending a coach training program? Is the school or program a reputable one that includes classes, exams, and a certification program? Did the coach get feedback and supervision about their coaching from more advanced coaches and trainers?

You’ll want to know that the coach has learned the actual skills and competencies that are standard in coaching by attending a coach training program. Whenever I go to a professional for services, I certainly expect that they be trained to provide the service, so this is a most important starting place.

2. Next, I would be curious about their background.

If I want to start a successful business, I’d want a coach who is a role model of that. If I want to have more balance in my life, I’d want evidence my coach lives this way. A coach is someone who is ahead of you right now that will assist you to move forward with them and their experience in business and life is highly valuable.

Are they walking their talk? As you are clear on your goals, you’ll want to find a coach who has quickly and effortlessly achieved such vision and can coach you to achieve your goals and way beyond.

3. The final criteria is understanding the personality and chemistry that feels right for you.

Some coaches are pushovers and will let you slide and get away with not moving forward fast. They match what some people are looking for.

Other coaches are on the opposite end of the spectrum and are what we call “edgy” and they push hard and expect you to run rapidly. That personality may fit for you and inspire you.

Yet others are a blend – they can be supportive and loving – yet give you a kick-start if and when you are sluggish.

Think about what style you may enjoy most. If you’d get angry with an edgy coach, then one wouldn’t match for you. If you felt the softer approach wasn’t going to get you going fast enough, then pass that coach by. It is for you to get clear on the style that fits.

Finally I recommend that you speak only with coaches who are members of the International Coach Federation. Most of them are profiled online at You then know you are going to be selecting from coaches who are associated with the professional organization of coaches worldwide.

As you look through the coach referral pages on that website, you’ll discover information about the coach’s training, background, experience and style. Find 3-5 that you are attracted to based on those criteria and have a conversation with them to share your goals, get a feel for their style of coaching, and try them on. When you feel you have made a connection and you are feeling energized to speak with them again, then you’ll know you’ve found a your match!

Terri Levine, author of “Work Yourself Happy” and “Coaching for an Extraordinary Life”

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