Finding the Right Coach

WITI News Staff

February 07, 2017

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Finding the Right Coach
By Sandra Collins, with Kelly Botto

The WITI Boston network recently hosted a "Coaching Circles" event at software developer TrueMotion's downtown location. It was a terrific success!

If you attended WITI's annual Women in Technology Summit in 2016, you know that Coaching Circles enable focused learning sessions on different topics in a brief timeframe.

For WITI Boston's event, five specially selected coaches held two separate 40-minute sessions to share insights on their areas of specialization with intimate gatherings of women. Separate meeting rooms ensured easy, focused conversation and interactive discussion.

The coaches were:

Nicolette Blanco, Health Coach and Functional Nutrition Specialist (
Kelly Botto, Executive Coaching and Professional Development ([email protected])
Nancy McCabe, Individual and Group Business Coach (
Kathryn McKinnon, Time Management Coach (
Kim Meninger, Career Coach (

Prior to breaking out into the individual sessions, Kelly Botto, the executive and professional development coach, shared insights with the group on "Tips for Selecting a Coach."

Types of Coaches

Kelly says that, by and large, coaches can be grouped into four categories:

  • Executive and Leadership Coaches - For senior leaders looking for growth and development in their careers.

  • Health and Wellness Coaches - For individuals focused on improving health, nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness.

  • Career Coaches - For individuals exploring career transitions such as a new role, new company, or new industry.

  • Life Coaches - For individuals seeking personal growth and development.

  • Selecting a coach with whom you're in tune contributes a great deal to your ultimate success, and involves some effort on your part to ensure the collaboration will work well for you. Follow these tips for choosing the right coach.

    How to Find Coaches

    How does one find a coach? Kelly's recommendations are:

  • Ask friends and colleagues for suggestions

  • Look at members of professional coaching associations

  • Check with the Human Resources group at your employer

  • Search on LinkedIn

  • Access to others' testimonials or reviews can help you gain insight into how a coach's clients view their strengths and weaknesses, as well as key development areas clients take away from their work with the coach.

    Meet With Different Coaches

    Most coaches will offer prospective clients an initial meeting free of charge, to help you explore the benefits of a possible collaboration and for the two of you to assess your "chemistry." If a coach is not willing to provide an initial, gratis meeting, Kelly believes you should reconsider whether working with that coach is going to be fruitful.

    "It's important to interview at least two coaches to find the best fit for you," Kelly states. "If I meet with a prospective client and he or she says they're convinced they want to work with me, I still recommend they interview at least one other coach before making a final decision. Experiencing interactions with different coaches helps people to look at the relationships more objectively."

    Prepare a list of questions to ask each prospective coach. (See the next section for some suggestions.) Also, be prepared to provide some background on why you are looking for a coach, and what you seek to accomplish.

    Questions to Ask

    Following are some topics Kelly recommends discussing with prospective coaches.

  • Describe your overall experience and your areas of expertise.

  • How did you get into coaching?

  • What is your coaching philosophy?

  • Give me examples of the types of clients with whom you work best, and why.

  • What types of clients do you avoid, or do you find don't benefit as much from working with you?

  • How do you measure results?

  • What tools or assessments do you use?

  • Describe what a typical session would be like.

  • Would meetings be virtual or in person?

  • In addition to the answers to these questions, assess how well the coach communicates his or her thoughts to you. Does he or she listen to you carefully? Do you feel he or she has offered some unexpected insight into the topic? Do you leave the meeting feeling excited and optimistic?

    Be sure to understand the level of confidentiality that you can expect. For example, if your employer is funding your coaching experience, how much of what you and your coach discuss is shared with your employer? Kelly states that, personally, she informs employers that all discussions are confidential. She will share that the client is attending meetings with her, and general statements about how the client is progressing, but will not share more details than that, unless pre-approved by the client.

    Lastly, get references of people with whom you can speak. If the coach will not provide such references, run in the other direction!

    In summary, working with a coach is both a time and a financial investment, so set yourself up to achieve real results by actively choosing the best coach for YOU.

    Sandra Collins email: [email protected]
    Kelly Botto email: [email protected]

    Sandra Collins is the owner of Curious Dog Marketing and is on the WITI Boston network's leadership team.

    Kelly Botto is an Executive Coach who helps clients improve their leadership skills, uncover strengths they may not be leveraging, and reveal critical issues that may be limiting their growth. Through insightful feedback, Kelly fosters her clients' ability to move out of their comfort zones, recognize new perspectives, and take action.

    Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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