Meeting a prospective coach

How to work with a coach, part 4

By Martin Vogel

What can you glean from first impressions?

Before you work with a coach, you should aim to meet two or three before deciding which to appoint. In part 3 of this series, I argued that you should never be choosing from a field of one.

When it comes to the meeting, your main purpose is to establish whether there is the potential for a good working connection between you both. At one level, this is a job interview and you are the recruiter. There is a certain amount that you have to ascertain in order to make an informed decision. You have to be clear in advance what information you need to get out of the meeting.

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From a car service to the meaning of life in five easy steps

By Martin Vogel


This week I’ve been refreshing my GTD system: reviewing my horizons of focus, tidying up my project lists, and emptying my collection baskets.

If that doesn’t mean anything to you, perhaps it’s time you were inculcated to the cult of Getting Things Done – a book on how to organise yourself and manage all the stuff in your life with the minimum of stress.

Getting Things Done, by David Allen, must be one of the most blogged about of books so I hesitate to add to the cacophony. But, since I find myself recommending it to clients with increasing frequency, I feel a need to explain its particular appeal to me.

David Allen’s great achievement in my opinion was to notice the kind of things we tend to do all the time, when trying to process and get through the cascade of responsibilities that we all face, and order them into a set of routines which, if adhered to, remove much of the friction around being productive. Instead of prescribing a time management system which tries to slot your work into rigid structures of prioritisation, GTD – as it’s known to its friends – offers a more natural, fluid process of keeping track of your commitments and following your energy in deciding what needs to be done.

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How do you find a coach?

How to work with a coach, part 3

By Martin Vogel

Are you looking in the right place?

Finding a coach is harder than finding a doctor, lawyer or most other kinds of professional service. Coaching is a fast growing profession, but strangely invisible and not clearly defined to its market. People often reach a coach through word of mouth; but chances are you won’t know many people who have experienced working with a coach. Alternatively, you might pick up a flyer for a coach who works in your neighbourhood; but how do you know if this person is the real deal or a quack?
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What do you want from coaching?

How to work with a coach, part 2

By Martin Vogel

Understand your needs

In the first part of this series, we looked at what coaching is and in what circumstances it might make sense to turn to a coach.  This post is about how to work out what you want from coaching.

I’m not thinking here specifically about your goals for coaching, although this is a part of it.  It’s more about how you like to learn and develop and what kind of coaching experience would best suit you.

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Why use a coach?

How to work with a coach, part 1

By Martin Vogel

Need space to think?
Need space to think?

Coaching is a young profession and not well understood.  The barriers to entry are low and the standards and methodologies variable.  No surprise, then, that I find that people who approach me for coaching often have little idea what to expect.

So this is the first of a series of posts for people who are thinking of working with a coach.  It will try to shed light on what coaching is and how to use a coach.  Among other things, we’ll look at criteria to use when choosing a coach and how to get the best out of coaching once you begin.  But we’ll start with exploring how coaching can help you and when it might benefit you to work with a coach.

Let’s try first of all to pin down what coaching is – a surprisingly difficult question to answer.  If you have explored coaching at all, you will have found that no-one ever seems to call themselves simply a coach.  There are life coaches and executive coaches, NLP coaches, ontological coaches, co-active coaches, performance coaches, wellbeing coaches, fertility coaches.  I could go on.  I don’t intend to get into the distinctions in approach between the various methodologies or niches within the profession.  Having explored a variety of philosophical traditions in coaching, I can see that they all offer a certain wisdom.  I’m more interested here in some of the common factors which underlie coaching, whatever tradition in which it’s rooted.  The reason for this is that, for prospective clients, the label given to a particular kind of coaching is less important than the quality and professionalism that a coach has to offer.

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