These days it seems like every third person on Instagram is a coach of something. It can be incredibly difficult to discern which life coaches are high quality coaches and which ones are just trying to make a buck. On top of that, how do you know which coach is the right one for you? How do you know who you will work best with to help you reach your goals?
These are common questions we get asked as our clients do their research and try to find the perfect life coach for them, and so we wanted to share our guidance to help demystify the process and help you not just find a life coach, but the right life coach for you.
1. Make sure a Life Coach is actually what you’re after
Before you do anything, it’s important to make sure that a life coach is what you actually need. Coaching is often confused with other related disciplines like mentorship or therapy. However, it is actually quite different, and each of these has unique characteristics. This graphic pinpoints some of the key differences between life coaching, mentorship and therapy.
Therapy has a past orientation, helping you understand why you are the way you are. Coaching is much more future-oriented. Your life coach won’t spend much time digging into your past experiences. There is still certainly a self-awareness component, helping you understand who you are and why, but all with the intention of using that self-awareness for the future. “Okay, I know these things about myself, how can I create strategies and habits to help me progress toward my goals given all I’ve learned?”
Additionally, it should also be noted that only a therapist is qualified to support you with mental illness, significant trauma, or other me
Unlike a mentor, a life coach is not there to offer guidance and advice based on his/her own experiences. Sure, they might occasionally offer a suggestion or two, but for the most part, your life coach will ask powerful questions to help you find the right answers and solutions for you. It’s important to note that none of these disciplines are better or worse than any other – you simply need to understand the differences and have appropriate expectations for what will be accomplished with each provider.
Now let’s talk about how to get a life coach!
2. Figure out what type of coach you want to work with
Once you’ve determined a coach is what you’re looking for, it will help your search to narrow down what type of coach you want depending on your coaching goals. Many people jump straight into looking for a life coach, but if you can narrow down your area of focus you may be able to hone your search for potential coaches by seeking out a career coach, leadership coach or executive coach, relationship coach, business coach, or wellness coach.
These coaches have narrowed their area of expertise to a more specific field and may have special programs or approaches to how they manage their coaching sessions. Because they focus on one particular area of coaching, they may come with a good understanding of your particular challenges and be able to provide better insights.
For example, if your focus is on personal growth, you may seek a coach who can help you build your self confidence, create work life balance, or identify ways to support your mental health in your daily life. Most successful life coaches will focus in on these areas.
On the other hand, if you are starting your own business, there are coaches who primarily work with small business owners. An executive coach or leadership coach will help you navigate the challenges that come with leading a team at work. A career coach may be focused on helping you find a new job, but there are others who can help with larger or ongoing goals like working toward a promotion, creating and realizing a vision for your career, or navigating all the intricacies of your workplace. A wellness coach may focus on your physical health, nutrition, and exercise, but they may also support your mental health priorities as well.
All of these types of coaches can bring a positive change into your life. It’s important to know what you’re personally hoping to achieve in working with a life coach so that you can find the skillset for what you need.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, you can then identify a few potential coaches to research further to find the best life coach for you.
3. Determine if they are thoroughly trained and certified
Coaching is based on scientific research and well-trained coaches utilize evidence-based coaching models in their work. In order to learn this research and these techniques, coaches need to go through an in-depth training program. Unlike therapy, there is very little governance and regulation of the coaching industry. For example, to call yourself a therapist, you legally need to have a certain level of training and hold an official credential. There is no equivalent regulation for coaches. Anyone can call themselves a coach, whether or not they have been through a coach training program.
However, there is an organization called the International Coaching Federation (ICF). This organization accredits coach training programs and ensures they meet a certain standard. When you begin meeting with life coaches, ask them which training program they completed and if it is accredited by the International Coaching Federation. At Ama La Vida, we only hire coaches who have been through an intensive coach training program; once they join our team, they undergo an additional 3-months of training on our proprietary methodologies and programs.
4. Ask them about their coaching style
Each life coach coaches differently based on their personality and training. Some coaches’ sessions are very organized and structured, while others are more open and free flowing. Some coaches tend to be more warm and supportive while others can be more confronting and really challenge you. Knowing that their style aligns with your needs will help you find the right life coach for you. Ask your prospective coach how they would describe their style and then think about if that is the type of support you need at this point in your life to achieve your goals.
Check out our coaches bios to see what style matches up best with you!
5. Ask what methodologies and tools they use
You want to ensure your coach is utilizing proven coaching methodologies and techniques. This ensures your sessions will be effective in helping you achieve your goals. Additionally, you want to ensure their approach resonates with you and fits what you are looking for.
Our coaches utilize a variety of tools and techniques based on the coach and the client’s needs. That being said, we have an overarching methodology which we always follow called the ADIT model: Assess, Discover, Implement, Transition. Following this model ensures a consistent customer experience for our clients and provides a framework for our engagements to make them most effective.
Additionally, we have a suite of online eCoaching tools and modules where our clients complete their work. Our clients find these online tools to be incredibly convenient and useful because they can complete them anywhere at any time, and they always have a record of them in the future. Other coaches utilize more paper-based worksheets and workbooks which may be more your style. Think about what you are looking for in terms of the coaching activities and what you’d like to have a record of later. Ask your prospective coach how they will accommodate this.
6. Determine the cost
Budget of course is an important factor in selecting your coach. Coaches typically charge anywhere from $50 to $500 per hour based on their target demographic and their experience level. At Ama La Vida, we are not the cheapest option, and we are also not the most expensive option. What we pride ourselves on is delivering the most value.
Ask your prospective coach what is included in their hourly rate.
- Are there any additional tools and resources provided?
- Do they belong to a team or network which can provide support if needed?
- Do they have a money back guarantee?
- Are there any other fees you need to be aware of?
Price is not always an indication of quality, but make sure you aren’t just selecting the cheapest coach – coaches are not a commodity. Remember, this is an investment in yourself and your future, and you are worth it!
7. Have a consultation with the coach
Most life coaches will offer a free consultation. This is a great way to determine if the coach is a good fit and if their style is a good match for what you are looking for. Also consider how safe and comfortable you feel with them. Do they make you feel at ease?
Coaching provides an opportunity for you to explore and discover all of who you are. But this is only possible if you feel you are in a safe and judgment-free environment. If you don’t feel comfortable being exactly who you are with your coach, chances are they won’t be able to support you to become all that you can be. If it doesn’t feel like you are gelling, that’s okay. They may still be a great coach, just maybe not the right coach for you. This is a great way to find the right life coach for you. No better way to explore the relationship than to try it on for size and see how it feels working with them.
Here at Ama La Vida, we take it a step further. We have a human-centered approach, and so our first step is to actually get to know you and your overall vision. Then, we match you accordingly with the most ideal coach for you and your needs. If you’re ready to start exploring, schedule your time here:
8. Determine their availability
From a practical standpoint, is your coach available for sessions when it is convenient for you and you are in a good headspace? Some coaches only work during standard business hours which can be tough if you need to schedule your sessions around your work hours. Also discover how available your coach will be to you. Are they exclusively accessible during sessions, or will they check-in with you in between sessions? Can you send them a quick email or text with a question? What if you give them a quick call – will they charge you for that?
At Ama La Vida, we strive to go above and beyond for all of our clients, meaning that our support doesn’t end when the coaching session does. If you want a coach that is on your side and regularly checking in, even in between your scheduled sessions, make sure this is a part of their process and philosophy.
9. Assess their successes and results
Feeling inspired and motivated is a wonderful feeling, but how does that translate into measurable and tangible results? Coaching is a big investment, and you want to ensure that it provides a strong return. How do they track and measure their results? What are their success stories with other clients? Can you speak to one of their past clients to hear more about their experience?
At Ama La Vida, data and results are at the core of everything we do. We track, measure, and share your progress every step of the way. If outcomes are important to you, make sure you ask the right questions about how they are measured and achieved.
10. Evaluate your experience and interactions with them
This step is less of an exact science so much as a quick gut check. What a potential partner says is not as important as how they act. Critical components of coaching are accountability, organization and a feeling of trust, which starts at the top (company culture, CEO, etc.) and trickles down to the coaches as well. So take a minute to evaluate how they performed so far after your first meeting and in your interactions with them. Ask yourself:
- Did they follow-up with you in a timely manner after you reached out and after your consult?
- Did they provide you with useful resources?
- Were they easy to get a hold of?
- Did you feel the organization’s values align with yours?
- Did you feel like just a number or did you feel valued?
Of course we all slip up on occasion, but typically the way someone acts during this initial exchange is a good indication of the way they will act during your work together. It’s important here to trust your instincts. If you feel uncertain, don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper or continue your search.
A word on using a matching service or coaching company
Finding a life coach can be overwhelming, so a matching service or similar life coaching services may be an appealing way to start. It’s important to note, however, that these services often do not evaluate the coaches that use their platform. This fact doesn’t mean they aren’t useful tools for you, especially if working with an individual coach is appealing to you. However, it is still very important to do your own research and evaluation of them! We’ll get into the details of what to consider below.
Another approach, however, is to work with a larger coaching company. In the past few years, the coaching landscape has truly changed to now offer coaching sessions through larger organizations, like Ama La Vida.
There are a few key benefits to working with a larger coaching company, rather than a sole proprietor.
Qualified life coaches:
Larger companies review the coaches for you to make sure that all the life coaches they provide have been certified and are qualified to support you in meeting your goals. At Ama La Vida, we even take that one step further by offering continuing education, training, and resources to the life coaches on our team! We want to make sure you are receiving the highest quality experience you can during your coaching sessions. To us, that starts with finding the best life coaches!
Additional life coaching tools and resources for you:
With an entire team of life coaches on staff, we’re able to regularly create and share new tools, content, and ways of working with each other and with you! This means that you are benefitting from the knowledge, expertise, and experience of our entire coaching staff. Not all coaching companies treat their life coaches a true team members, however, so make sure to dig a little deeper when considering this direction.
A larger community of support:
In addition to your life coaching sessions, at Ama La Vida we know there’s value in community. Being able to connect to a larger group of people who are going through the life coaching experience with you provides another layer of support beyond what you can get in your 1:1 coaching sessions. They can provide additional insights, solutions, and general feeling of not being alone! That’s why we offer our ALV Connect Slack Channel and 8+ Community Membership group coaching sessions every month.
Access to different coaches:
A bit more unique to Ama La Vida, we understand that sometimes you just need a new perspective, or something comes up outside the scope of your original goal when you started coaching. That’s why we include celebrity sessions in all of our membership offerings. That means that even though you are personally-matched with a coach who will be a great fit for you, you can use your monthly life coaching sessions with any of our 40+ coaches! Our goal is to ensure you are getting all the support you need.
Your life coach is an important ally to help you achieve your goals, make big decisions and stay accountable to the things you want in life. We hope this information helps you make an informed decision as you find the right life coach for you.
Want to learn more about coaching? Here are some other resources: