How to Choose The Coach That is Right for You

How to Choose The Coach That is Right for You

By S. Anne Marie Archer

Welcome to The BlackWomen Coach™ Directory.

I am S. Anne Marie Archer. I am the creator of The BlackWomen Coach™ Directory. 

I created The BlackWomen Coach™ Directory to connect Black Women with Black Women Coaches.


Being a black woman in the United States of America, and western and/or colonized countries, is a very unique and specific experience. The challenges and struggles that black women face are different than what is faced by any other group. Some may challenge this statement but those of us with this lived experience KNOW it is a fact. We face the challenges of being women and then we also face the challenge of being Black in societies hostile to both.

I want black women to have the opportunity to find and work with black women coaches. I would also like anyone who wants a coach to have the unique and wonderful experience of working with a black woman coach. Because of the things the challenges that we experience, I am of the opinion, that black women coaches have the unique ability to understand, see, and empathize in a way that others do not.

One of the keys to success in your coaching experience is finding a coach that is right for you. Finding someone who empathizes and understands where you are in your life and/or career journey and where you are seeking to go.

But how do you make sure that you are selecting the coach that is ultimately right for you?

Now that you have found a collection of black women coaches, how do you make sure that you select the right one?

In my YouTube series, “Conversations with Black Women Who Coach,” I interview black women who specialize in multiple niche coaching areas.

In almost every interview I ask this question:

What qualities should clients look for in their ideal coach?

In this blog post, I will summarize the responses I got from the over 20 women I have interviewed so far.

Each coach interviewed and asked the foregoing question responded with answers that fell into the following areas:

  1. Know yourself and what you need

Finding the right partner in your journey to self-improvement requires self-awareness.

Ask yourself:

  • Where am I now?

  • Where do I want to go?

  • What are my goals for this experience?

  • How might a coach help me get there?

  • What qualities are most important for me in a coach?

  • What qualifications and types of experience are important to me in a coach?

Write down these questions and your answers and have them with you as you interview potential coaches.

  • Select someone who understands where you are and where you are trying to go

Now that you have answered question #1, apply your answers to the coaches you have under consideration.  As you interview them, ask them questions that will help you understand their approach to coaching, how they define the relationship and their coaching process.

  • What kind of personality do you prefer in a coach?

  • How do you want to feel when you interact and talk to this person? 

Write down your answers to this question, and review coaches against their answers.

All the qualifications and training in the world will matter little if your coach lacks empathy and understanding of you as an individual.

As you speak to each candidate consider not only what they say in response to your questions, but HOW they respond to your questions. 

  • Are they leaving space for you to respond to their questions?

  • Are they listening carefully when you respond?

  • Are they answering your questions fully?

  • Do their responses reflect empathy and emotional intelligence?

  • Do you feel comfortable as you talk and interact with them?

  • Select someone who is experienced and qualified to advise and support you on this journey

What kind of education/training, qualifications, and experience do you want your coach to have?  Only you can decide what is important to you. 

Coaches in the United States are not required to have any specific certifications or training. There are certifying bodies like the International Coaching Federation (ICF) but there is no requirement of certification.

Many coaches are certified in specific areas and others are not but have other qualifications, experience, and training.

It’s important for you to decide what level and combination of training, education, and experience are right for you and to select your coach based on what is important to you.

  • Is life experience enough?

  • Is education, training and certifications without any practical life experience enough?

  • Does their background reflect experience accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself?

  • Do their responses to your questions reflect experience successfully supporting clients with similar life or professional goals as your own?

Again, write down your answers to the questions above, and review coaches against your answers and their responses to your questions.

Give thought and consideration as you select potential coaching candidates to their responses about their experience, training, and qualifications, and be prepared to ask pointed questions.

  • Select someone who will hold you accountable

It is not just important to select a coach who makes you feel comfortable when you speak and interact with them. It is equally important to select a coach that will require accountability of you and themselves. Without accountability, you are unlikely to meet the goals you have set for your coaching relationship. To understand whether your coach will hold you accountable for doing the work required for successful outcomes ask her:

  • What is your accountability process?

  • How will we determine whether our coaching relationship is meeting our agreed upon goals?

  • What will you do if you determine that I am not taking the actions we agree upon?

  • What should I do if I determine that our relationship is not meeting the goals and objectives agreed upon?

  • Get references

No matter how much you like a coach after getting responses to #1-4 here, and during the interview process, get references.

Ask the coaches you interview to provide you with at least three (3) references that you can independently speak to.  Also, take the time to visit their website and social media to learn more about them.

Understand that they are unlikely to give a “bad” references and their website will not include “bad” testimonials, but still take the time to reach out to references and ask questions to determine whether the coach is the right fit for you. 

Questions to ask references:

  • Describe the coaching experience in three (3) words?

  • Were the objectives of the experience met? Would you mind sharing the outcomes?

  • Would you recommend this coach to a member of your family or a close friend for services?

  • Is there anything you would recommend that the coach do differently if you were to work with them again?

NOTE:  Two other things to also consider as you select a coach and determine whether they are the right fit.

  1. Ask for a complimentary initial consultation/interview.

As a potential client, you should interview a coach in person or virtually (Zoom, Phone Call) before selecting them. A couple of email exchanges are not going to give you enough information so take the time to meet and talk to each candidate under consideration. If a coach does not make herself available to speak with you, prior to engagement or will not provide a complimentary consult (at least 30 minutes), that should be a red flag.

  • Ensure there is a written agreement before proceeding with the relationship

Do not proceed with a coaching relationship without a written agreement. Ensure the agreement includes:

  • Start and End date

  • Description of services to be provided and expected outcome

  • Coaching schedule and timeline

  • Cost of services and schedule of payment

  • Termination clause – under what circumstances the relationship can be terminated prior to the end date

With The BlackWomen Coach™ Directory, you now have a resource that will connect you with qualified and experienced Black women who are coaches.

So, apply the steps shared here and find the right coach to work with you as you journey to your best life and best self.

Start your search to Find a Coach HERE.

Subscribe to our YouTube Black Women Coach Playlist HERE


About The Author

S. Anne Marie Archer is the founder and creator of The BlackWomen Coach™ Directory. She is an HR consultant who specializes in advising her clients on exiting discriminatory and illegal hostile work environments with separations with severance (their “coins”) so that they can engage in the radical redesign of their lives. You can learn more about her work, or reach out to her for HR advice and HR consultations by visiting her website