Blog Posts

Deborah Bulcock Coaching

5 Tips For Choosing A Credible Coach

  • On
  • By
  • Comments Off on 5 Tips For Choosing A Credible Coach


From an accredited coach, who has personally invested in coaching for years.


This is an unregulated industry

The exposé into the life coaching company Lighthouse earlier this year shone a great big spotlight onto the topics of credibility, ethics and safety in the coaching industry.

Coaching – it’s a term used in so many professions to describe a person who helps another to reach their full potential. And there’s nothing wrong with that per se.

But when it comes to people taking money for those services and making all sorts of claims of what that investment will bring … well, then it becomes tricky (aka, big fat problem).


Coaching and mentoring is an intimate relationship

The conversations I have on a daily basis with clients leave me in no doubt that coaching and mentoring relationships are deep, meaningful, personal and intimate. People say things to me they don’t say to anyone else.

Rightly so, when you’re taking on a coach you want to know that your best interests are always at the centre of that relationship, that you’re in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing, and ultimately that you’re safe.

So how do you know you’re choosing and investing well?



There are some basic things to look for and ask about, such as:

  • Qualifications and credentials – find out what qualifies them to do the job, any professional qualifications they have to support that, professional associations they are members of.
  • Evidence of good and professional work – check for reviews on public places in addition to what’s on their website.
  • Referrals and references – are they known by someone whose judgement you trust? If not, take a bit more time checking them out.

Now the presence of these things alone still doesn’t mean they’re the right coach for you; simply that you can have confidence that they are credible, do the work to stay up to date, and have helped others well.



This is where you can start tailoring your search to you and your requirements and objectives. Consider things like:

  • Do they have a specialism you may benefit from? Many coaches have certain topics they focus on, or types of people/roles/sectors they work with, so check they’re someone who can support your objectives.
  • What is their results history like? Have they helped others achieve the kind of objectives you are working towards?
  • What about their fees vs your budget – check they’re aligned before getting too invested in working with a particular person. I’m not a fan of people getting into debt for coaching.
  • What about their ways of working and availability – does it work for you?

If you’re ticking lots of boxes here, then it’s time to get personal.



We all get a view of someone from social media and websites, but let’s remember that what is shared is a crafted set of marketing messages. Take what you know and ensure you spend time speaking to them. The following are helpful actions and considerations:

  • Enquiry call – have one, ask all your questions, and notice how you feel with that person – you have to feel comfortable enough to talk to them openly, and confident enough that they can help you in a way that works for you.
  • Alignment – have you got sufficient alignment in style, approach, objectives, availability, etc.
  • Know, like and trust – you have to get to the point where you know, like and trust them to do the job you’re entrusting them with.
  • Follow up and chat again if you need to.

If you’re feeling good at this stage, then it’s pretty likely you’re a good fit for that coach, and that they will credibly be able to help you.



  • Lots of claims about results and ROI without the goods to back it up.
  • Inability to explain what qualifies them to do the job, whether that be experience, qualifications, credentials, or track record.
  • Having a standardised approach rather than listening to and adapting to your needs (you’re likely buying a training course or programme rather than coaching in this instance).
  • No opportunity to speak to the coach before you buy, or when you do they’re telling and selling, rather than listening and understanding.
  • Mixed reviews, an online presence that doesn’t jibe with you, or anything else that sets off alarm bells for you.



And the MOST IMPORTANT thing – trust your judgement – it’s your choice and not something you should ever feel pressured into.


Coaching is amazing

Coaching should offer you the space and environment you need to work towards your objectives, and whilst there may be tough times in the process, it should be enjoyable and rewarding.

It’s important you don’t settle for less. Do your homework and choose the right person for helping you.

P.S. A good coach will also be checking you out, and asking questions, to help ensure you’re a good fit. They may even re-direct you to someone else they think is better suited.


Am I the right fit for you?

Maybe. Maybe not. I won’t pretend to be something I’m not, and I only take on clients I believe I can help. Here’s how I suggest you get to know me a bit more.

  • Check out my About page and various services
  • Connect on LinkedIn or via my business page on Facebook – I post several times a week and so you’ll get a glimpse of life through my eyes
  • You can also see client reviews on both of those social channels too
  • And if you’re ready to explore working together, book an Enquiry Call


Wishing you luck in finding the right coach and realising your goals!