Based on the chatter and traffic on the OpenAI ChatGPT, I have no doubt folks are sourcing more than college essays or exam answers from this platform. There are probably professionals asking (or should be asking) questions to our robot friends. As a coach, I became curious to learn what information and advice was being offered about the field of coaching. So, I decided plug in the frequently asked questions (FAQs) I get from friends, family, colleagues, and potential coaching clients. Coaching FAQs: ChatGPT answers + my edits/adds to these responses.
Q: How can I find a career coach?
A: You can find a career coach by: (or any type of certified coach)
- Searching online for professional coaching organizations or individual coaches, (The Top 6 Coaching Organizations from Paperbell — there might be others, but those are the ones I know of)
- Asking for referrals from friends, colleagues or HR departments, (ASK YOUR NETWORK! Only some HR departments offer these resources — I wish there was more career development & growth support!)
- Checking with local universities or career centers, (especially if you are an alumni)
- Consulting directories such as the International Coach Federation, => ICF’s Find a Coach
- Checking professional networks such as LinkedIn for coaches. (Suggestion for LinkedIn to design a new feature — why not identify Certified Coaches in this professional network with a URL like: https://www.linkedin.com/coaching)
Q: What questions should I ask a coach?
A: When interviewing a potential career [OR any type of] coach, you can ask:
- Can you tell me about your coaching philosophy and approach?
- How do you measure success with clients?
- Can you give me examples of career transitions you have helped clients with?
- Can you provide references or testimonials from past clients?
- How do you communicate and work with clients, such as frequency and methods?
- What is your availability and scheduling process?
- What is your rate and packages offered?
- What is your cancellation and refund policy?
- How do you handle confidentiality and privacy in coaching?
This quick list of coaching questions aren’t bad. They seem really transactional in nature — so I might go a bit deeper to figure out what you want to get out of a coach. What do you want to know about someone you are going to work with? How can you be certain this coach can support your needs? To offer a counter perspective, here are the typical questions I ask potential coaching clients to see if they are prepared to enter into a coaching relationship with me:
- What led you to coaching?
- What experience do you have with coaching? What do you know/want to know about coaching?
- What are your goals for coaching?
- What would you like to achieve by the end of our time together?
- What can I do to help you achieve your goals you have set?
- What would a successful coaching relationship look like to you?
- What questions do you have for me?
Most coaches offer a free exploration session where you can meet, ask questions, build rapport, and learn more about them and their coaching practice. One of my potential clients used this coaching questions guide, and I shared ICF’s Hiring Tips & Questions which include taking action BEFORE you meet a coach (I hope this is helpful if you’re search for a coach):
- Set your own goals/objectives for coaching
- Search the ICF directory for a certified coach — filter by topic, experience, domain, expertise, etc.
- Identify at least 3 coaches to meet
- Outline questions to ask a prospective coach
- Follow-up if you think of questions you thought of after the initial call/meeting
Q: How do I become a coach?
A: To become a career coach, you can follow these steps:
- Gain experience and knowledge in the field you want to coach in, such as HR, recruiting, management, or a specific industry. (AND gain knowledge about what it means to BE a coach.)
- Obtain coach training and certification from a reputable coaching school or organization, such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) or the Career Coach Institute. (YES!)
- Build a network of professional contacts and resources. (Sound advice for anyone who works today.)
- Develop a coaching niche or specialty. (Maybe? But explore and try out a few along the way — good coaching IS good coaching in ANY domain/field/specialty area)
- Establish a coaching practice by setting up a website, creating a marketing strategy, and building a client base. (I’d probably start with your WHY, at least — this will help you figure out your mission or north star to guide your coaching practice.)
- Continuously develop your skills and stay current with industry trends and best practices. (solid advice for any professional or practitioner — but what skills?)
- Consider getting liability insurance. (definitely part of setting up your own LLC and business plan)
- Consider pursuing advanced coaching certifications and accreditation to further demonstrate your expertise and credibility. (I’m a big fan of the ICF-accredited programs — you can search the directory to find a coach education program that works for you!)
Although the list is accurate, there is so much is missing. Ask any coach and they’ll let you know their coaching development and growth goes beyond these 8 steps. Becoming a coach is not a checklist, and it doesn’t necessarily occur in the above order.
Potential clients & the coach curious often asked: “Why did you start coaching?” and “How did you get into coaching?” I wish my response was a numbered list, but, like most, discovery of what you enjoy takes a much longer, windy path. I’ve responded to this question, “What is your past experience with coaching?” to share my origin coaching story (shout out to the Higher Ed Coaches training program & Katie Linder!). And, you can listen to me in conversation with Julie Larsen and other coaches to de-mystify coaching practice on the Coaching Through It podcast. If you’re interested in becoming a coach, I’d highly recommend using this ICF resource: https://becomea.coach/ I wish this was available when I was thinking about starting my own coach journey!
What drew me into coaching is helping others reach their potential and find their own way in their life/career. I’ve been career curious for a long time. I can track my exploration about the world of work by the career books I’ve read over the years (these are just a select few):
- Angela’s Airplane (love you Robert Munsch) age 9
- Do What You Are age 16
- Road Trip Nation age 22
- What Color is Your Parachute? age 28
- What They Didn’t Teach You In Graduate School age age 33
- Find Your Fit & The New Rules of Work age 36
- Transitions & Pivot age 39
- Designing Your Work Life age 40
As I grow and develop professionally, I definitely coach myself at all stages of my career (Re: Career Check-ins). This has offered me new challenges and afforded me to work outside my comfort zone as I work my way through career transitions. For the opportunity curious and possibility minded like me, this quest is just how I’m oriented to the world. For my coaching clients and colleagues, it helps us to take a new perspective, question the status quo, and think about “what ifs…” for where we go next.