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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Personal Coaching - Part II

Dear Readers: Last week's column addressed the growing trend of working with a coach. There are many benefits, and selecting the right coach to work with is crucial. If you think you would benefit from working with a coach, before you invest your precious time, energy and money, spend some time learning about coaching. There are hundreds of articles written on the subject in the last few years; take the time to do your research. If you know someone who has worked with a coach, ask about their experience and try to find out if it was beneficial, and if so, in what way.

When you hire a coach you are making an investment in yourself. Identify your objectives for seeking a coach, and determine what you are willing to invest in time and money. Shop around to find the best coach for you, and interview at least three coaches before making a decision. Ask them about their experience, qualifications and skills, and ask for at least two references. The following are suggested questions to ask when interviewing a coach, and was put together with the help of Kate Larsen, a Minneapolis business and life coach, and the International Coach Federation, which has loads of valuable information at

  • Are you certified?
  • What training programs have you participated in?
  • Do you attend conferences for coaches? If yes, what was the last conference you attended? If not, why not? (Those that are committed and contributing to the industry participate in conventions and training in order to stay on top of the industry trends and improve their own skills.
  • What corporate or business experience do you have? (This is especially important to know if you are looking for a coach for business development purposes)
  • How can I contact you between sessions? (Although most coaches will not have time to have ongoing conversations between sessions; it seems appropriate to be able to contact your coach via email or fax between sessions.)
  • How would you handle this scenario? Give the coach a situation or scenario that you are challenged by and ask their opinion on how they would coach you on that issue.

When making your decision, it is important to trust your "gut" feelings; you need to feel comfortable with the coach you select to work with.

Jim Doyle, author of the book, ”The Business Coach A Game Plan for the New Work Environment”, stresses the importance of holding yourself accountable when working with a coach, and recommends setting realistic goals. Don’t pretend to know more than your coach does. Listen to your coach and be willing to learn, change, and adapt to the new skills, attitudes and behaviors you are acquiring by putting them into practice.

When it comes to coaching, one size does not fit all. Some coaches are better at certain things than others. Too often people hope things will work out and wait too long before terminating a coaching relationship. If you are doing your part and are not getting what you want or need from your coach, don't be afraid to say something, or if necessary, end the relationship.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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