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Coaching: Tips on how to find a reputable coach

Coaching is booming. Every second manager has been coached in the past five years. Nowadays people are accompanied, advised and assisted in self-optimization in all life situations and questions. Application, job and career planning, health and nutrition, partnership and love, personal development and image, capital and competence - there is coaching everywhere. And everywhere it's about getting better, recognizing weaknesses, ironing them out, strengthening strengths, getting even more out of yourself. Always on the way to the better you.

Before you dive into coaching, but you should think about what you want to achieve with it and whether a coach can really help you with it. What is important in coaching? What should I look out for when choosing a coach? We clarify ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what is coaching?

Coaching seems like a real miracle cure. If you can't get ahead on your own, you look for a coach and in a very short time you can achieve your goals, make changes, improve your mindset and achieve success. Given this reputation, it is not surprising that there are not only countless coaches and trainers, but also numerous coachees, customers and clients.

It is not uncommon for fear and uncertainty to be behind the trend towards coaching. Do I get lost in the crowd? Can I still keep up? Am i good enough Coaching promises help and support. However, many initially have the wrong idea of ​​what coaching really is and how the process works.

It is wrong that coaching presents you with answers on a silver platter. Tells you and pretends what to do. Nor is a coach responsible for teaching you new skills or competencies. Coaching is even less a substitute for the work of a psychotherapist: childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, burnout or addiction problems are not the areas of application for classic coaching.

Elements of serious coaching

The coach is a kind of mental supporter. A guide that helps his counterpart to gain knowledge for himself and to get the best out of himself - if necessary through ruthless honesty. Successful coaching is based on a few principles:

  • Coaching is interactive
    Coaching is not about one side working and talking while the other side only listens passively and lets itself be showered. Successful coaching requires cooperation between coach and coachee.
  • Coaching is process-oriented
    The aim of coaching is not to present ready-made solutions or to press a client's problem into suitable templates. A good coach accompanies and supports the process of finding a solution. He enables the coachee to find his own individual path and develop suitable strategies.
  • Coaching is neutral
    The coach should not pursue his own goals or want to steer his coachee in a certain direction. The coaching should be as neutral and independent as possible so that the client can question his own views and develop ideas.
  • Coaching is equal
    In the best case, coaching should take place as equals and not convey the feeling of different hierarchies. The coach is not standing above the coachee, but shoulder to shoulder directly at his side. Meaningful coaching evolves into a dialogue in which the coach asks, investigates and listens carefully.
  • Coaching is voluntary
    Coaching must take place on a voluntary basis and out of the coachee's motivation. If coaching is forced or only carried out reluctantly, there is a high probability that it will not be successful.

It is therefore important to understand what coaching can do - and what it cannot. A coach can awaken existing talents, give impulses, work towards improvements, stimulate self-reflection and support you in personal development.

But it cannot work miracles after all, it does not magically make you successful, but can only help on the way there, if you are willing to invest the necessary work and sometimes go through unpleasant steps and changes. You should also not expect coaching to turn you into a completely new person within a short period of time.

Coaching, training, consulting: the differences

In coaching, many terms are lumped together, used synonymously, confused and confused. So it is often difficult to recognize the differences and understand what it is all about. In fact, coaching and consulting, for example, are not identical, even if they are often equated. For better delimitation and orientation, we have therefore put together a glossary on coaching, training, supervision, mentoring, mediation & Co.:


Coaching usually focuses on the client's personality. The coach helps the coachee to develop or improve special (professional) skills, whereby this development process primarily remains a kind of self-reflection and “helping people to help themselves”. In contrast to advice, the coachee should find the solution himself. Coaching can also be a mix of advice, feedback and practice-oriented training.


Training primarily serves to learn specific skills or behaviors. In contrast to coaching, the trainer concentrates less on the self-reflection of his client and more on specific exercises and a clear training goal. The roles are clearly assigned: the trainer is the expert and master, the client his student.


Mentoring is an instrument of personnel development. This results in a sponsorship between an (inexperienced) manager, the “mentee” and a mostly older, more experienced manager, the “mentor”, who passes on his knowledge and experience to the protégé. The aim is to give the mentee a helping hand in his or her personal or professional development. In contrast to coaching, the mentor does not take a neutral position; here, too, there is primarily a master-student relationship. If both work for the same company, the mentor also often pursues the interests of the employer and not necessarily those of his mentee.


Mediation is a voluntary and extrajudicial arbitration procedure in acute conflicts. Both mediating parties must therefore agree to the procedure in advance. The mediator is obliged to be impartial. He therefore does not make any decisions, but leads the debate neutrally and then submits proposals for agreement. Advice is also rather uncommon.


Supervision, on the other hand, is a form of advice. As a rule, the interactions and behavioral patterns within a team or an organization are analyzed in order to either improve them or to eliminate potential sources of conflict. The “supervisor” and the client determine beforehand which rules of the game are to be followed. In the process itself, specific situations and the inner workings of those involved are then often reflected on in order to make the respective motives more transparent.


Psychotherapy, on the other hand, focuses on the treatment of people with mental, emotional, physical and psychosomatic illnesses. This task may only be carried out by trained psychotherapists (including alternative practitioners with restrictions). Two forms are particularly common: In depth psychology, the patient primarily deals with his subconscious. In behavior therapy, he is helped to become aware of his thoughts and assessments and - if desired - to change them.

Requirements: Are you ready for coaching?

Coaching is always worthwhile and for everyone? Not quite, because you should meet a few requirements in order to really benefit from coaching. Otherwise, you may be wasting your time and a lot of money without getting any benefit. Before starting any coaching, you should ask yourself whether the following points apply to you. These are important (mental) requirements for coaching:

  1. You want to change
    “I will stay exactly as I am.” Satisfaction with yourself is good, but anyone who believes that they are already perfect and doesn't want to move a millimeter away from them is wrong with coaching. In such a case you are only looking for confirmation, but coaching leads you out of your comfort zone and presents you with new challenges.
  2. You are curious
    A good coach will help you broaden your horizons, discover and pursue new goals. In order for it to be a success, you should not only have the will to change, but also a real will to adventure. The desire and curiosity to learn new things. This is something different than: "Well, I'll try that ..."
  3. You can use honesty
    Especially when it hurts? A good coach will hold up the mirror to you, possibly even criticize. Always constructive, but it can only work if you don't immediately take the defensive, listen and honestly reflect on what you've heard. Coaching can have unpleasant facets that you have to grow on instead of closing yourself off.
  4. You can question yourself
    The point is related to the first two, but goes a step further: it means that you are really getting involved in your new self-image, committed to it. But also accept a complete and honest picture of your current situation.

You can also use our free booklet "40 reasons to look for a coach" for orientation and as a decision-making aid. Download here free of charge as a PDF.

Process: 7 phases of coaching

Coaching is of course always individual and should be adapted to the goals, questions, needs and expectations of the coachee. Nevertheless, classic phases in the course of a coaching can be identified. You should know these in order to have a better picture of what can and should be expected of you in coaching. In practice, of course, these are never so clearly and sharply delimited, but to clarify, we have nevertheless divided the process into 7 typical phases of coaching:

  1. Preliminary talk
    In this first warm-up phase, the coach and coachee get to know each other, clarify professional backgrounds and working methods, build mutual trust and identify the focus of the coaching. Often the current situation is already addressed and the goals and the time frame for the coaching are clarified.
  2. agreement
    The chemistry is right. But before we start, both of them have to fix the framework: goals? Expectations? How many sessions should there be? Where and when do they take place? What if someone cancels? And of course: What will the coaching cost? The most important points must be clarified in advance so that there can be no misunderstandings.
  3. analysis
    The coaching begins. The coach now primarily asks questions, collects information, identifies problem areas, concretises them and analyzes possible blockages and potentials in the client. First and foremost, it's about understanding the status quo.
  4. change
    The coach now gives initial feedback, reflects on his analysis, and presents options for action and strategies. However, these are not instructions, rather he moderates the change steps desired by the client. At most he questions details or reinforces the coachee's decision.
  5. implementation
    Now there is homework: The coach translates the identified action steps into concrete everyday tasks. The decisive factor now is the will and discipline of the coachee. Because the implementation is usually not easy, but requires overcoming and adapting to your own goals.
  6. Success control
    What happened? What has changed? - The coach and coachee now analyze the efficiency and success of the agreed strategies. From this they derive further steps or both reorient themselves and develop new strategies and tasks if the previous path did not achieve the desired goals.
  7. graduation
    The coaching should never simply expire. It only ends with a final summary: What did the coachee learn? Which methods and competencies has he newly developed? Was he satisfied with the advice? And does he trust himself to be able to master the problems dealt with without a coach in the future? Every coaching has one goal: helping people to help themselves - and thus making themselves superfluous (in this problem case).

Coaching costs: assumption by the employer?

Coaching is always an investment - sometimes a very large one. Those who want to be coached over a longer period of time may have to dig deep into their pockets. The cost of coaching depends on various factors. Particularly important are ...

  • the qualifications that a coach brings
  • the coach's experience
  • Certificates and specializations
  • Type of coaching (individual coaching or group coaching)

If you want good and professional coaching, you have to expect at least an hourly wage of 100 euros, in most cases it is more between 130 euros and 150 euros. The cost is not a quality feature, but you should be careful with very cheap offers.

In the best case scenario, you can convince your employer that they will pay for the coaching or at least provide a grant. After all, coaching has some advantages from which companies also benefit almost immediately. Through coaching, employees can ...

  • Improve stress resistance or stress management strategies.
  • Grow personally, broaden your horizons - and also bring your new knowledge to bear on the job.
  • Set your priorities anew and thus focus on your tasks.
  • find a balance between work and private life - and drastically reduce the risk of burnout.
  • Unleash creativity and bring new ideas to the workplace.
  • get to know your resources and limits better and thus avoid overload.

However, the points are only suitable as an argument for financing individual or group coaching if the boss and management understand the connection between personal development and work performance. It is therefore up to you to clarify the advantages in a conversation and to make it clear why it is worthwhile for the boss to pay the costs for coaching.

Checklist: How to find the right coach

When looking for coaching, you will quickly run into one of the biggest problems. The question is: How do I find the right coach that suits me? There are almost innumerable offers from coaches, all of whom make great promises and sound professional.

It's not that easy to find the right one. Perhaps the most important criterion for choosing a coaching is the chemistry between you and the coach. Only those who fully trust their coach can benefit from the cooperation and really get involved in the exchange. What else you should pay attention to and how you should choose your coach can be found in the following checklist:


Thorough research should be carried out before choosing a coach. Do not take the first offer straight away, but look at alternatives. Your professional network is also a good resource. Ask the people around you (HR, superiors, colleagues, acquaintances) who have had good experiences with a coach. Databases on the Internet also provide orientation: The career experts, or, for example, are considered serious.


Serious providers can provide verifiable references. Most of them are personnel developers in companies. However, be careful with certificates: In German-speaking countries there are around 300 institutions that train coaches, as well as over 20 coaching associations, all of which propagate their own quality standards and issue their own certificates. Good coaches, on the other hand, have mostly specialized in certain industries, areas and topics. Also ask whether the coach himself has himself regularly assessed by an expert.


Pay attention to the qualification of the coach. He should be at least 30 years old, have completed a university degree (ideal are economics and psychology) and 12 to 15 months of coaching training. In addition, he or she should have at least three years of professional experience and be familiar with the business world. Someone who has never seen the inside of a company will find it difficult to understand your professional problems.


Top coaches are able to take on different perspectives and use different methods. So ask about his practical experience in different jobs and his qualifications.A good coach knows how to use different conversation techniques to suit the situation. Sentences like "If you want to make a career, you have to ..." have no place here. Good coaches receive regular further training. They should also be able to document that.

Preliminary talk

A free preliminary talk with the coach is customary. But be careful: charlatans like to invite you to non-binding trial sessions and bill them later if no order follows. On the other hand, there is hardly any legal action because it is difficult for you to prove in court that you have not received advice. The preliminary talk is about what you want to achieve, whether the coach can help you, with which methods and whether you can both find a connection. Sympathy is essential for the further process. But also ask the coach to describe an exemplary process. So you can see exactly how he works.


Never sign a contract on first contact. Serious providers inform, name possible conditions of cooperation and allow time to think about it. As already mentioned, normal costs are between 100 and 200 euros per hour. Meetings are often more than an hour long in order to be able to work together in a concentrated manner and to really achieve something.

Criticism: Beware of wrong coaching

Despite all the hype and popularity of coaching, there is still regular criticism. Probably the biggest point of criticism: The term "coach" is not a protected job title in Germany and therefore every self-appointed coach can offer various coaching sessions. Clients therefore tend to run the risk of running into a quack, charlatan and free rider who has no competence, experience or knowledge in the field of coaching.

Another problem in the industry: The coaching market is extremely confusing due to the lack of regulations. In recent years in particular, more and more coaches have sprung up and the number of providers has exploded. And unfortunately there are also many questionable characters who call themselves coach, trainer or the like and celebrate everything possible with their gullible clientele - from broken glass to primal scream therapy. Just no real coaching.

Countless of these self-proclaimed do-gooders are flooding the coaching market, while the number of real professionals with qualified training is far lower. As is so often the case, it is therefore up to the individual to check exactly who he is entrusting himself with, how the coach defines his performance, how he ensures success and confidentiality, which competencies and references he can prove and how he settles in the end.

Caution coach: 5 sentences that expose dubious coaches

"You will feel better afterwards."

The statement may be well meant. But if the benefits of coaching are limited to that, then you should stay away from it. Serious coaching can even make you feel worse in the meantime and struggle with emerging emotions or unpleasant realizations. Although these phases pass, they are necessary for some changes and some processes.

"You can do the promotion."

Even if your stated goal is a promotion, that statement shouldn't come from a reputable coach. First, there is no guarantee of success; Second, coaching can show that a promotion may not be the right path for you at all.

"I have exactly the right method for you."

Watch out! Anyone who tries to impose standard methods on you without getting to know you properly will not get you any further.

"In my opinion, you should do it differently."

Stop! The opinion of a coach is not required. Rather, a serious coach will encourage reflection through questions and feedback. Which conclusions you draw from this is entirely up to you.

"You have to believe in yourself more."

A classic slogan for perseverance that may come from pseudo-professional motivation gurus, but not from a serious coach. Anyone who has to encourage perseverance has nothing to offer in terms of content.

Self-coaching: an alternative?

After reading a lot about coaches and coaching, we don't want to withhold the fact that you can of course work on yourself without outside help - in self-coaching.

This can be done with serious problems not a substitute for professional personal development. However, it can provide you with clues and impulses as to whether you are still pursuing your own goals and are on the right track. As with coaching, specific questions that you can ask yourself also help here. Best of all over and over again - because whoever asks (himself) leads (himself) too ...

    General questions

  • What makes me deeply happy?
  • What are my personal strengths?
  • What have I achieved particularly well so far?
  • Who could or should I thank?
  • What was the biggest success this week?
  • What did I learn this week?
  • How do I get new strength?
  • Who should I meet again?
  • Which dispute should I resolve?
  • Questions about the self

  • What gives me courage
  • What are my values?
  • What role do relationships / friends / family play?
  • How do i want to live
  • What / who builds me up?
  • What can I do when I have fears and doubts?
  • How can I take more care of myself?
  • Questions about the job

  • How fulfilling my job is?
  • What motivates me
  • What activities do I like?
  • What am I having trouble with?
  • How have I failed so far?
  • How are the problems affecting you?
  • How do i want to work?
  • Who supports me
  • How can I continue my education?
  • Why am I doing what I am doing?
  • Does what I do make sense?
  • What am I doing with it?
  • Questions about learning

  • What did I learn last week?
  • What were the best moments of the past week?
  • What was the biggest mistake in the past?
  • What's stopping me?
  • Questions about the future

  • What do I want to achieve in my life?
  • Does my work bring me closer to my goals?
  • What do I want to do differently in the future?
  • What should I do more often?
  • What can I do (today) to get closer to my goal?

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