I am often asked a question about “How Important is Experience in Coaching?” Well, the answer is all about what insights you are looking for from your coach.
My belief is the more experience a coach has in their respective field, the better the potential information I will learn from the coach. Too often I have run into the “new coach” who was just “certified” by one of the coaching organizations – who has little practical experience or working knowledge of the field they are expected to coach.
This could be a problem for a coachee who is needing up to date information, knowledge and wisdom to gain a fast track in their field. This is where an experienced coach offers the most benefit and return on investment of time and money.
Always ask the coach about their experience level, resume or some industry specific questions to gain insight into what experiences they have had. How many years of actual coaching is also a good question to ask. Now, I’m not suggesting that someone new to coaching would not be excellent at their practice – as long as they are not practicing on you!
The most important thing for both you and the coach to understand – what are the expectations of the coaching assignment or engagement. What are the expected outcomes and results to come from the coaching experience. Who else has experienced this type of coaching engagement – especially from your organization. If you agree with the expectations and understand the limitations of the coach (years of practical experience or not), then everything is okay and move forward. If the expectations are in question from the start, find someone else who has the requirements you need for this relationship to work.