Although coaching involves generic skills, you will get the best outcomes if you set some criteria before searching for a suitable coach.
Here are some useful questions to consider before deciding to employ a coach:
Have your clearly defined your goals, or issues, questions, and concerns you want addressed?
Which type of professional do you need for this endeavour? (i.e., do you need a combination of training and coaching)?
What qualifications and work experiences should the professional possess? Is having specific academic training or particular credentials a prerequisite and what types of experience are critical to understanding the complexity of your situation?
Does the coach offer a complimentary session to learn firsthand about his/her personal style and how s/he likes to work?
Ask questions to discover the coach’s breadth and depth of experience i.e. ask, "Tell me about a time when you worked in a similar situation”
Will it be possible/practical for you to see testimonials of satisfied clients? A coach may have a website or brochure that illustrates his/her work with various types of clients (from different fields, using different formats and methods).
How will you ensure that the professional shares your vision and plan for achieving the goals? Communicate with the coach to create a deep understanding of who you are, your goals, your style of interaction – how you want to be supported and challenged to achieve results.
How will progress toward goal achievement be communicated? Will you set aside time each call, or each month, to reflect and share your thoughts and feelings about your "wins" and shifts resulting from the coaching relationship? Will you want discussions regarding progress weekly, email updates, or formal reports from the consultant?
What is the anticipated length of the commitment? Will this professional have the necessary time to work with you, and what type of access will you have to him/her when new information, questions or concerns arise? Coaches usually require a three-month commitment, and a coaching relationship may last from six months to two years.
What's the plan for formalising the business relationship? Will you/does your company use a contract, letter of agreement, or verbal agreement? What are the cost categories and parameters? How will changes be made to the relationship or outcomes, if necessary?