Your coach should have the necessary skills and experience to fulfil their role as someone who can provide you with sufficient support and challenge to ensure you discover your best courses of action and follow them through. The types of things to consider when looking for a coach are:
Are they accredited to a professional body? – having an accreditation to a recognised professional body is more than having a certification. Certification implies that the coach has completed and graduated from a particular course or programme. Having an accreditation 1) signifies the completion of a programme recognised by a professional body, 2) gives an indication of the level of coaching expereince (usually measured in hours), and 3) provides assurance that the coach is engaged in their on-going professional development and maintains their coaching practice in line with recognised standards.
Are they able to clearly articulate their model of coaching? – that is, the way that they work and the theoretical basis for their approach.
Experience – do they have the right balance of knowledge and practical experience of business and psychological models that you desire? That is, to what extent do you want your coach to have good business knowledge and/or experience, and to what extent do you want them to have the understanding and ability to work with you at a deeper level.
The “chemistry test” – often the most important success factor of a future coaching relationship is the extent to which you feel comfortable in the presence of the coach and believe from your experience of them that you will receive the level of support and challenge you are looking for. Similarly the coach should feel that they are able to work with you and meet your needs. The relationship between coach and client is critical to the success of the coaching work, so it is important that you both ‘pass’ the chemistry test.