Finding the Best Coach or Therapist for You: Selecting Coaches or Therapists
Finding the “correct” coach or therapist can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack because so many people are entering the “market” for personal therapy and coaching. Because of this, some people lose up practically as soon as they begin, while others end up in subpar coaching or counseling relationships. You can approach the work with confidence that you can locate a therapist or coach that is the ideal fit for you by using the advice and questions that are provided below.
Counselor or coach?
Many people, including clients and coaches/therapists, interchange these terms. That is how they are used in this article, save from when they are italicized. Nonetheless, analyzing the potential variations in approaches and deciding which would be most helpful to you before you begin looking for someone to work with can be beneficial.
Instead of concentrating on the past and the “why,” coaches frequently ask, “what now/next?” instead. They are not there to offer solutions or answers. Instead, they view their responsibility as providing clients with techniques that enable them to think critically and develop original ideas. They assist people in identifying their goals, overcoming challenges, taking action, and forging more promising futures by working exclusively or primarily with the rational, conscious mind.
At least initially, therapists tend to emphasize emotions and the past more. They focus more on the unconscious mind, frequently bringing it into consciousness, to get to the root of issues and free people from detrimental behavioral habits.
The lines between the two are not always clear-cut because some coaches will include a variety of therapeutic strategies to enhance their practice and vice versa. While looking at potential coaches, think about which technique is most likely to benefit you right now and whether working with someone who can give a variety of ways and switch between them easily would be more advantageous for you.
Generalist or specialist?
Some people might instead collaborate with someone they believe has expertise in the area they wish to work on. Although this can help narrow the field, it is vital to consider how significant this criterion is compared to other factors.
Which is more essential to you: that a person has completed additional coursework, worked primarily or exclusively with a particular clientele group, or possessed the abilities and personality traits necessary to collaborate well with you? Of course, the two aren’t inherently incompatible, but what would it be if you could only have one?
Age, gender, and place
When you choose to engage with a coach, you purchase a service that is expert-level and highly individualized. Therefore, it may be helpful to ask yourself:
Is age a factor? Would I be more or less at ease around someone significantly older or younger than me? Or is it more about the person and how they come across—doesn’t that matter?
Would I feel at ease discussing my problem with a person of the other sex? Or would I instead speak with a person who is also of the same sex? Again, does this depend on the individual in question for me?
How far am I ready to go?
What location does the therapist work out of? Are they working from a clinic or their home? Where do I feel more at ease?
What hours of the day/daypart would be most convenient for me, and can they accommodate this? It would be best to consider your weekly energy levels, your normal obligations, and what would happen right after a session. Could you immediately arrange some downtime to complete any internal processing or action planning?
credentials and experience
A minefield may exist in this location. No of their degree of education, expertise, or experience, anyone can call themselves a coach or therapist, at least in the UK (although some specialized therapies are regulated).
Some may have extensive training yet still fall short of some essential qualities that many people look for in a coach. Those who thrive at what they do may have had less activity.
Some programs give certifications from formal, thorough evaluations, while others only make this claim. Also, figuring out which is not always straightforward. Some courses don’t even offer certifications, even though they can have a significant favorable influence.
Hence, while it is worthwhile to inquire about and examine your potential coach’s credentials, these need to be considered in addition to other variables and applied common sense.
They trained when, where, and with whom.
How long was their training?
If it was formally reviewed or accredited, the standards that were applied
How it has been used, and the outcomes.
Results ultimately matter; some newly qualified coaches and therapists may have only been in practice for a few months, but they are already performing at a high level. On the other hand, some coaches and therapists have been in practice for five or ten years yet only have the equivalent of one year’s worth of experience. Please include any details about their credentials and venture into the mix, but don’t treat them as the end-all-be-all.
Consumptive professionals versus sincere amateurs
Money is not the issue here. This has to do with the coach’s method of operation.
The following are some issues to discuss with them:
It’s uncommon to need to file a claim, but whether or not they carry public liability and professional indemnity insurance could be a sign of how seriously they take their status as a professional and the obligations that they entail.
Whether they are part of a professional organization or another organization like it, are members of that organization subject to its code of conduct, and are there any specific entry requirements?
Do they have a documented code of conduct, ethics, or values that they can show you if they aren’t (and not all good coaches are, just as not all coaches who are members of various professional or accredited groups are necessarily good)?
Are there any areas they feel ill-equipped or unqualified to assist with? What would they do if they realized midway through your sessions that they weren’t the right person to help you? What you’re looking for is a sense of sincerity, self-awareness, and a focus on your needs as a person instead of their needs as a corporation. There are no unquestionably correct or incorrect answers here.
What do they do to stay current with their knowledge and skills? It may indicate that they are not entirely devoted to offering the finest service possible if they are not investing in their ongoing professional development.
What kind of professional guidance do they receive? Others will have a more casual mentoring or practice group arrangement. For some, their professional body requires that they attend regular professional supervision sessions. Again, there are no hard and fast rules; it’s just a matter of ensuring that they have at least considered the issue and that their response is satisfactory to you.
Even though this isn’t about money, be sure to inquire! The cost varies greatly and is not always a sign of quality. Even if you are on a tight budget, I advise you to ask yourself, “what would it be worth to me if I could x” before you begin looking for a coach, where “x” stands for whatever you want as a result of your coaching or treatment. How much money are you prepared to spend on yourself? Ask about fees once (and only once) you’ve made that decision. A true professional can provide you with information about their pricing schedule and terms of service.
Whether there is a legal obligation
What steps are taken to evaluate and terminate the coaching relationship?
Whether quitting early or before a predetermined number of sessions will have any financial repercussions.
References and endorsements
The majority of coaches can and are eager to offer these. They may provide some reassurance that the person hasn’t just declared themselves to be a therapist that morning but are probably of limited assistance beyond that.
If requested, some therapists will put you in touch with former patients so you can inquire about the procedure or how it was to work with them. It’s not always a bad sign when someone doesn’t do this; their consumers may be private individuals who don’t want to talk to strangers about something very personal to them despite being utterly delighted with the service they received. Hence, if this is essential to you, ask the coach if they will inquire whether past customers would be ready to talk with you. If they aren’t, you might want to find out why. But, if no clients are prepared, this isn’t necessarily a cause for concern.
The trial before you purchase
Many therapists and coaches provide some complimentary sessions. Usually, this informal conversation or phone contact allows you to ask important questions to see if this individual is the correct fit for you. On occasion, they might start to resolve the situation with you. Each free session’s goal and structure should be discussed and agreed upon before you begin.
In this session, a skilled coach or therapist will also determine whether they believe they are suitable for working with you. That is or ought to be a two-way street. They are focused on getting the most outstanding results for you, even if this means turning down work if they let you know this before the session (saying something like, “This talk will also help us establish the extent to which I’m the right person to work with you”).
Trust your instincts.
As said above, some factual knowledge can assist in guiding your decision-making process, but at its core, decision-making is an intuitive process. You can restrict the field (or shrink the haystack!) by using the tips and questions in this article; the rest is up to you.
Therefore, after reducing the field,
Before deciding, speak with or meet at least two or three coaches.
If none of them make you feel comfortable after doing so, chat with or meet another person.
Remember that there are numerous coaches or therapists with whom you can collaborate productively; you are not searching for THE one. Thus, stop looking when you find someone who feels right.
Do I feel a connection with this individual, at a gut or heart level as opposed to a mental one? Can I be honest with them about awkward, hurtful, or challenging topics?
You can afford to be completely selfish when selecting a coach or therapist. If you have a gut feeling that something won’t work, it won’t. By listening to that and responding to it, you’ll be helping both yourself and the therapist. Moreover, pay attention to your gut feeling if it’s solid or warm and you think you could get along well with the person. Don’t overthink it; accept it.
Always remember that after making a decision, you are entirely free to change your mind if, after some time, you discover that it is no longer functioning. The ultimate professional will recognize and value that.
NLP coach and hypnotherapist Helen A. Carter works with clients as part of Pure Serendipity to help them achieve outstanding achievements.
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