How do I know if I need a coach?

By Marianne Renner: Leadership Coach, Speaker, Author

Rarely have I worked with an individual coaching client who hasn’t communicated to me some level of self-doubt, fear or uncertainty.

I’ve coached CEOs, VPs, MBAs, and VIPs.

They appear to have it all together on the outside.

Behind the safety of closed doors, however, they talk about their inside struggles.

And that’s where the real power of transformation takes place.

The value of one-on-one coaching is that people feel safe to get deep, real and raw.

When leaders feel safe to be vulnerable, we can get to the root cause of an issue and do the real work that creates lasting change.

When you have a champion in your corner, you feel empowered to do the hard things that you might not do on your own. When you have an outside set of eyes, you get a new perspective and uncover blind spots you didn’t know you had.

Recently I met with a group of leaders who were curious about coaching.

Like most people I talk to, their questions focused on 2 topics: how to determine if they need a coach, and how to choose the right coach.

A great coach can provide a fresh perspective toward solving a problem or challenge. He or she can help clients gain clarity aroundnext steps for their careers. The best coaches offer fresh insights, support, and accountability toward goals and action planning.

No one has a full 360-degree perspective. We all have blind spots. Coaches help clients uncover those blind spots so clients can achieve light-bulb moments.

Use the checklist below to determine if coaching is right for you, and how to select the right coach.


How do I know if I need a coach?

If you say, “yes” to any of the items below, a coach likely can help:

  1. You tried to make a change, but were unsuccessful
  2. You have a general sense of feeling stuck
  3. You feel discouraged or disengaged
  4. You have a desire to grow and an openness to look at things from a new perspective
  5. You have a vision, but lack a plan
  6. You know you’re not in the right place, but you’re not sure where to go from here
  7. You’re looking for a new profession
  8. You’re looking to excel in your current profession
  9. You want more self-confidence
  10. You have strained work-related relationships


How to select the right coach

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to coaching. Here are great questions to ask any prospective coach to determine if he or she is the right one for you.

  1. What formal training or background do you have?
  2. How much experience do you have helping people with my situation?
  3. What is your coaching style? (Examples: Is it structured or fluid? Is it systematized or individualized? Is it warm and supportive or challenging? Are you more of a cheerleader or a champion?)
  4. What outcomes have your clients achieved?
  5. How do you measure results?
  6. What do others say about you? (Are there testimonials from past clients?)
  7. What types of clients have you worked with? (Example: business owners, entrepreneurs, leaders, executives)
  8. What’s your availability for coaching sessions?
  9. What assessments do you use with clients to help them get results?
  10. What haven’t I asked about that you can add?

If you’d like more information about my Individual Leadership Coaching, contact me today at

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