How to choose the Right Coach: 4 Coaching methods

There are a lot of ways that you can choose a coach. Looking at their area of expertise is one that’s very helpful, although most coaches can work in other areas too. Ensuring they are certified/licensed and insured is another general way. These are the very basics of choosing. When we go beyond that, there are questions you can ask that gets to the heart of whether this coach who is certified and works in the area in which you want to be coached is right for you.

Image from Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Often times this can be determined by simply having a one on one with them. Many coaches, including me, offer a free first session to determine if you are the right fit for each other (remember the coach may not feel you are a right fit for their style too). Beyond that you can ask questions about their coaching model and approach. Here are a few models that will help you to determine what you’re looking for:

GROW represents four stages in the coaching conversation:

  • Goal: Determining what the overall goal is
  • Reality: Where are you now?
  • Options: What options are available?
  • Wrap Up: What is the way forward?


  • Outcome: What outcome are you looking for?
  • Scaling: Determining on a scale of 1-10, for example, where you are in relation to the outcome you are seeking
  • Know-How: What skills and knowledge do you already have? What further skills are needed?
  • Affirm & Action: Positive feedback on where you are or where you have come and encouraging further action
  • Review: Review progress

CLEAR (Peter Hawkins)

  • Contracting: Again, it’s about the outcome you are looking for
  • Listening: Actively listening and empathizing with the client
  • Exploring: Looking at the impact the solution will have and challenging the client to move forward
  • Action: Helping the client to choose the way ahead
  • Review: Looking at the progress that has taken place and encouraging further growth.


  • Assess: Get to know the client and their needs
  • Discover: Building self-awareness and reflection as well as setting goals
  • Implement: Action steps, feedback, practice, results planning
  • Transition: Making a transition and long term planning to maintain the solution

The coach may take a very clear method or they may switch up based on the clients needs. They may also combine methods and approaches. Here are some of the approaches they may take.

  • Solution Solution: Is what you are doing working to the solution?
  • Value Based: Is what you are doing in line with your values?
  • Non Directive Coaching: Helping you to determine directions to take.
  • Directive Coaching: Telling you what you need to do.
  • Content Focused Coaching: Focusing on the here and now – what the client is saying today.
  • Goal Focused Coaching: directing the conversation to the end goal.
  • Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) coaching: Behaviour focused; helping a client to develop the soft skills needed to get to the outcome.

Whatever the method or approach the coach takes, the most important piece is trust. Do you feel that this person is trustworthy to you, because without trust, you won’t be able to move forward in the coaching process.

What type of coach are you looking for?


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