Many people are using coaches to build their skills and get ahead in their careers. It’s a common misconception that coaching is out of reach for all but the highest paid top executives or that they benefit the most from coaching. It is true that these are the people coaching is generally geared towards, but anyone can benefit from having a good coach who can encourage you to develop necessary skills, support your growth, and hold you accountable to your goals.

The three top reasons people use coaches, according to the Harvard Business Review (2009), are to develop high potentials or facilitate a transition, act as a sounding board, and address derailing behavior.  Most of the people I know who seek out a coach would say that one of these is the reason they decided to hire a coach. But even if you want to make some changes in your business or your life, how do you assure that you are working with the coach that is right for you?

People who work best with coaches have a strong desire to grow and learn in their field of business, in their position in the company they work in, and in their relationships with other people – all very important aspects of success.  Nothing is more important than motivation. If you aren’t ready for change, there is nothing a coach can do to get you to the next step. And since all coaching is client driven and coach supported, it is necessary that you know what you want so your coach can help you chart the course to get you there.

Good chemistry is one of the most important things to look for in a coach. If you don’t work well together for any one of a number of reasons, you will not trust your coach to partner with you to move you forward. Coaches challenge you to do more than you thought you could do, and the willingness to live up to a challenge only comes from knowing that your coach has your best interests at heart and will be there to support you in the midst of difficult situations. Take the time to hire the coach who is right for you.

Give yourself time. The average coaching relationship lasts from seven months to a year, and many business leaders use coaches throughout their lifetimes in various capacities. There are no quick fixes in life or in coaching, and it’s important to plan for that inevitability. Strong action plans and new ideas to implement are par for the course, and can happen very quickly, but outdated belief systems and habits that are no longer working sometimes take a while to change. Be patient with yourself, and keep your eye on the big picture.  Your coach can help you map your progress as you go.

Find a good coach and see what they can do with you!