How to Pick the Right Coach For You – by Coach Jen

I recently made the decision to hire a new coach.  Now I already had a coach, one I liked a lot and have had good success with.  However, over time it can be a good idea to freshen things up. It can provide new motivation for the athlete, and for me as a new coach myself it is a great opportunity to learn from another professional how they run their business.

So: where to start?  I didn’t actually know where to start.  So I reached out to a few friends about it and asked for recommendations.  Stacey, one of the awesome coaches at Sonic, sent me a great list of prospective questions that she uses when interviewing for a coach.  And that’s really what it is. You are hiring someone, so it is an interview process. On her list she had several things that were “non-negotiables” and several of those checked my boxes as well.  Number one for me as a mom of 4 was flexibility. Any parent knows you can get a call at anytime from the nurse to pick up your kid from school and the dreaded 24 hour rule usually means they are home for at least 2 days.  Well, that can really mess up a training schedule and I needed someone who understood that. So finding a coach who was also a parent was important.

Another important consideration was meshing my goals with the coach’s experience.  My goals are to make it to the World Championships at the 70.3 and 140.6 distance. Is it essential that your coach has “been there and done that”?  No, it’s not. But does it help? Absolutely. There is so much that only experience can teach you and so having someone who understands exactly what it takes to succeed at that level was important to me.  In the same way if your goals are to complete your first sprint with a smile on your face are you going to go out and hire someone who coaches at the pro level? Of course not.

Once I checked those boxes then what?  There are a ton of qualified and experienced coaches who meet those qualifications.  It then comes down to personality. Who can you relate to, feel comfortable talking to, and trust?  This is where the interview really matters. Talk to someone face to face or on the phone and you will know within about 5 minutes how you feel about them.  People either click or they don’t and that’s something best figured out not through email.

And that was about it.  I talked to several people and pondered it for a day or two and went with my gut reaction to who I think will be the best fit for me.  I have a renewed enthusiasm for training and am excited to see what the year has in store!!


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