What kind of coach is right for me?

Coaching has really taken off over the last few years. Because of that, a common question that pops up regularly is “what kind of coach is right for me?” If you just travel back a few years, only the elite business people on the planet and sports teams had a coach.

Things are changing for the better.

People are starting to understand that there’s a huge benefit to having someone that’s skilled and competent in your corner to hold you accountable.

With the growth in the coaching industry comes a different type of challenge and it comes in the form of a question.

What kind of coach is right for me?

There are a few different ways of thinking about this question. It could mean “should I have a life coach or a business coach?”

It could also mean “do I want a coach that’s challenging or supportive?”

Just from reading those 2 questions, I’m guessing you can start to see the importance of making a good decision. After all, hiring the wrong kind of coach can cost you.

So here’s an honest breakdown of the different kinds of coaches that are out there and how you can be sure to choose the right kind of coach for you.


What different kinds of coaches are out there?

Traditionally, sports coaches have been the dominant force in the coaching world. It’s the only type of coaching that most people have had any exposure to. The problem is, some sports coaches don’t actually do any coaching. They do some training and they tell people what to do, but that’s not really coaching.

The other challenge that the coaching industry faces as it attempts to come out of the sports coaching shadow is the number of poor sports coaches that people have been in contact with. Most of the coaches that people have encountered have been coaching kids’ sports teams. They started coaching as a hobby or to get their children a place on the team. It’s rare that most coaches at that level have really taken the time to study coaching for decades and become elite coaches.

So as we move into a whole new world of coaching, it’s time to understand what other coaches exist outside of sports. We’ll also look at the standards and norms in each area so you can have a better idea about what kind of coach is right for you.

First, let’s look at mindset and life coaches.

Mindset & Life Coaches

Mindset coaches are very similar to a typical life coach. A mindset or life coach generally focuses on clients’ existing beliefs and patterns of thinking. A good mindset coach works to help clients recognize, question, and revise persistent patterns of thought. People will often use a mindset coach when they are feeling down, or frustrated about where they are.

A mindset coach does work on:

  • Thoughts patterns
  • Beliefs
  • Conditioning the mind

But they don’t work on:

  • Running a business
  • Developing your career
  • Any other specialist area
Business Coaches

Next up we look at business coaches (you can take a detailed look at what a business coach does here). A business coach will help you get clear on where you want to go. They’ll set goals with you for your business (and sometimes your life). Then a business coach will help you build a plan to achieve those goals. Finally, they’ll hold you accountable to complete the actions each week that help you execute the plan and hit the goals.

A business coach does work on:

  • Business and life goals
  • Creating a plan to hit those goals
  • Hold you accountable so that you take the actions that help you realise the goal
  • Educate you so that you have the skills and knowledge to be successful in those areas

But they don’t work on:

  • Your relationships
  • Developing your career if you’re employed
  • Any other specialist area
Career Coaches

Let’s take a look at career coaches. They are sometimes known as executive coaches as well.  Sometimes a career coach helps you build the skills and capabilities to improve your job-searching skills. They can help you write a cover letter, review your resume, and practice interview skills.

Other times (usually when working with executive coaches) a coach will get clear on what skills a leader may need to progress. The coach will then work with that leader to improve the skillset in question. That could be because the leader is really struggling with one topic, or they want to become even better at something they are already good at.

A career coach does work on:

  • Job searching skills
  • Writing cover letters, CVs and improving at interviews
  • Work on skills and areas for development with the coachees.

But they don’t work on:

  • Growing a business with the business owner
  • The overall strategy for the company
  • Any other specialist area


That’s a more detailed look into the more mainstream coaching sectors (mindset, business, and career). Other sectors that exist, but generally work on a much smaller scale include:

Organisational coaches

Health coaches

Relationship coaches

Spiritual coaches

Confidence coaches

and even happiness coaches.

Most of those industries are still toddlers in their life cycles. Because of that, the level of coaching is often similar to that in a junior sports team because the coaches aren’t earning a full-time wage just yet.

In the first three areas (mindset, business, and career coaching) there are some companies that are growing and becoming very large. That means the standard of coaching is improving as people look to really hone their skills.

How do I know what kind of coach is right for me?

That’s the different types of coaching available. The first question to ask yourself when you’re looking at actually hiring a coach is…

What are you trying to achieve?

If you really want to land a big-money job with a large salary, then a career coach might be a good fit. If on the other hand, you own the business and really want to grow, then a business coach could be the best fit. Only when you are clear on what you are trying to achieve by having a coach, can you make the right decision on who to work with.

So first, start with the end in mind. What’s the result that you want from working with a coach? The type of coach to choose becomes so much clearer once you’ve worked this one out.

For example, if you want to grow your business, a business coach could be best.

If you want that big-paying job we talked about, a career coach might work better.

And if you want to have a great relationship, a relationship coach might be the way to go.

Once you’re clear on what you want, and what type of coach you want to work with, it’s time to figure out which industry-specific coach is right for you. There are 100,000 business coaches registered on LinkedIn in the UK, so once you’ve decided on a business coach for example, how do you know which one is right for you?

What type of person are you and what type of person do you need?

Having a great relationship with your coach is vital when it comes to getting results. If you don’t like your coach, or they don’t like you, it’s unlikely that you’ll get the results you want. It can be useful to understand yourself and have some self-awareness. What kind of person are you? Are you naturally supportive or more challenging? Do you prefer moving at a fast pace or have some time to consider before acting? Are you introverted or extroverted? All these things will make a difference in what kind of coach suits you best.

Once you’re clear on who you are, then it becomes much simpler to work out who you need in your corner. If you move at a fast pace, it might be useful having someone else that moves quickly. It could also be useful having a coach that’s more considered to balance you out. If you’re an extrovert, an extrovert coach could be useful because the chances are you’ll get on. But an introverted coach could offer a different perspective. There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s just about taking the time to think through who you are, and what type of coach is right for you.

What else is important to you?

There might be other things that are really important to you when you’re choosing a coach. Some of it might just be preference rather than anything that would give you a tactical advantage. It might be a preference towards having a male or female coach. But on the other hand, you might not care whether it’s a male or female coach.

You might give more consideration to the location of the coach. If the coach is based in a different country then it may be a deal breaker for you. But for some, location doesn’t contribute to the decision-making process.

You might consider the types of programmes that the coach has. They might only have group coaching, or maybe they just do 121. Maybe you want a coach that does both so you get the best of both worlds.

And finally, you might want to consider the price. Some coaches can be really expensive whilst others are more reasonably priced. You might even make your decision based on the payment terms of the coaches. To get an idea of what a business coach would cost just click here.

What should I do now?

That’s all the research done, now it’s time to make a decision. Using the info above you have probably got a better idea of what kind of coach is right for you. All you have to do now is go find them. You can do that by using Google or simply asking people that you know who might already have a coach.

If you want to find out more about joining one of our coaching memberships, you can do so by simply clicking here.