Questions to ask a coach

For many years I was a professional photographer. Photography is not something people buy often. For some it is a once in a lifetime event, their wedding. Others might buy photography a few times for family portraits as the children grown up, but it’s safe to say most of my clients had little or no experience at buying photography when they picked up the phone. They had no idea what questions were important to ask other than “How much do you charge or are you free on this date?

As a photographer then, it’s important to help my client by answering the important questions they would have asked if they knew what they were.Questions to ask a coach

Coaching is just the same. Most of my clients have never contacted a life coach before and really aren’t sure what to expect. What would you ask?

So let me answer some of the questions you may not have thought of.

Questions to ask a coach

1.       I’m not even sure what the problem is, so how do I know if you are the right person to help?

Good question, and yes, the first step I would take is to help you get clear on what really it is that needs to change for you get from where you are to where you want to be. The real problem is never the problem people think it is. It takes some skillful questioning, good listening and some insight to uncover the real issue. This is my trade and I love it. It’s like digging for gold. You never know what gems you’ll uncover and the transformations in people’s lives can be instant and profound.

2.       How much does it cost?

Another great question, I’m not going to be evasive but the short answer is I don’t know yet.

I don’t know what we’re going to do.

Let me use this story to illustrate. A lady goes into an antique shop and sees an old wooden box like a miniature pirate’s chest up on a shelf, quite taken by the box she asks the shopkeeper how much it is. The shopkeeper replies its $500. A little shocked the lady thinks to herself, that’s way too much; I wouldn’t pay more than $250. She smiles at the shopkeeper, thanks him and wanders out of the shop. The shopkeeper smiles to himself because he knows; inside the box is a diamond ring worth at least $3000. This lady obviously wasn’t the right person for the ring. Tomorrow the right person will come into his shop.

Until you open the box you will never know the value you might discover and neither do I.

Once we’ve had a discovery session and worked out what you want to achieve, I can tell you from experience what that will take and give you a cost. Only then do you need to decide whether or not to go ahead.

3.       Can I trust you?

No-one has ever asked me that question. It is not considered appropriate in our culture to ask that but everyone is asking themselves “Can I trust him?” Even if it’s only at a subconscious level it is absolutely natural to be asking that. We all instinctively protect ourselves.

How can I answer that for you? Well there are a number of ways.

  •  My practice is run according the International Coaching Guild Code of Ethics which set out the high standards of ethics and ethical behavior required of me.
  • I have a long list of happy customers who have testified to my trust worthiness and refer their friends to me.
  • I have policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and confidentiality of any information shared with me in the course of our coaching.
  • A breach of confidence or an unhappy customer would be business suicide in the connected world of social media. I have no intention of committing business suicide, my business is my passion.
  • Finally but probably most importantly, Integrity is a core value of mine. Always has been and always will be.

4.       How many sessions will it take?

Some people have had experience with Chiropractors or other therapist who build their business around repeat bookings of the same client. I would view myself as failing if I needed to keep covering the same ground repeatedly without signs of real progress.

At the discovery session we will establish the desired outcome, set a time frame and at the end of that time we will do an assessment, have we achieved the desired outcome? If not we would discuss why that is, what needs to change and do we want to continue. If yes, you may choose to go on and look at other areas or we might change path along the way but that will only be by your direction.

I hope that’s answered the main questions for you. Let me know what other questions you have.