How to choose a coach series part 3

Why does background matter?

In my last post, we discussed potential decision criteria for selecting a coach. In this post, we’ll discuss understanding the potential coach’s background as it relates to their coaching effectiveness.

Your potential coach doesn’t need to have your exact background, in fact, it can be better if they don’t.


Because it may cause the coach to rely on their specific expertise instead of the coaching process itself. Relying on their expertise may cause the coach to move into advising role instead of a coaching role. Advising has its place, but it robs the client from their own self-discovery, creativity and resourcefulness….which are the foundations of coaching and sustainable change. Advising feels like “telling” and coaching is inquiry-based.

It’s more important the coach understands how the challenges of the role, the environment, and your life are causing dissatisfaction and the desire for growth…at this time.

  • How does the coach’s background help them to understand your challenges?
    • How does the coach’s background and skills inspire you to identify what needs to change, how to get there, and how to sustain that growth?
    • What was the coach’s personal journey to becoming a coach?  Was there a moment of truth for them that sparked this journey? What was their learning path? What setbacks and detours did they face? What are their beliefs and passions around personal and professional growth? How do they continue with their own growth? How does their story energize your own path? 

    In my next post, we’ll discuss coaching credentials and why they matter. Until then, how important do you think a coach’s background is? Where have you seen it matter – or not matter?