Career Change

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How to find a qualified career coach in 2021 (free downloadable checklist)

Coaching has become increasingly popular during recent years and, especially during this turbulent time, it is of no surprise that many of you are turning to coaching to improve mental health, better career prospects or to increase your overall quality of life.

Studies show that coaching “improves the health of people, wellbeing and work satisfaction, performance and self-regulation” and the International Coach Federation, created in 1990 to establish standards for the industry as a whole, this year reported that the US alone spent over $2.35bn on coaching in 2017. Western Europe spent $898m overall.

Though the ICF’s membership has grown from 22,135 members in 2013 to 33,739 at the end of 2018, the career coaching space itself is still largely unregulated. This unfortunately means that for every seasoned and knowledgeable coach out there, many more exist that may be practicing with considerably less qualifications (and sometimes none at all). This is the case throughout all types of coaching, from life coaching to career mentoring.

Whilst you will find many tales posted across the internet of life-changing mentorship given by coaching professionals around the world, you may also come across stories of disappointment, poor guidance and downright misrepresentation told by those who were unfortunate enough to choose an unqualified coach as their guide.

These examples go to highlight the possible pitfalls you may encounter when choosing an independent coach over one that has been certified, educated and is extensively experienced in relevant sectors.

So, just how are you to go about discovering a coach that understands your specific needs, holds the relevant qualifications and is able to fulfil your coaching needs? Well we’re going to highlight the most important things that you should be looking for in this article. Not only that, we’ve also created a handy checklist for you to download for FREE after reading that will help you make sure that your coach ticks all the right boxes!

Download your free Perfect Coach Checklist HEREHaving served as a hub for innovative and diverse coaching solutions, SEVEN Career Coaching set the benchmark for executive, career and life coaching standards in the UK. Founder Evelyn Cotter has been leading the charge, steadily building upon a team of expert coaching professionals since 2012, and SEVEN now offers an expansive range of coaching services in the UK and beyond. 

We therefore know what makes a truly great coach, and in this article we want to illustrate the key qualities that you should be keeping in mind when deciding on your future guide.


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Although professional coaching as a whole is still widely unregulated, you should still rightfully expect anyone working within the coaching sector to possess industry relevant qualifications.

This can present issues when working with independent coaches as many work with little or no recognised accreditations, often resulting in ill-informed advice and an overall poor experience for you, the client.

Be sure that your coach is educated to a satisfactory level by asking to see their certifications, or looking for them on sites such as LinkedIn. 

SEVEN coaches are trained and qualified with the highest accreditations in the industry. Holding Masters degrees in psychology, executive coaching, positive psychology, ACC and PCC to name but a few, our team of professionals are able to cultivate informed decisions when working with a wide variety of clients.


Formal education is highly important, but your coach should also possess a wealth of professional experience.

The right amount of industry-relevant knowledge often comes from having worked in a senior role and, whilst many independent coaches may possess an adequate level of industry experience, some lack the expertise necessary to offer you the high standards of service needed when seeking professional advice.

Ultimately, in order to be able to give you solid advice, a coach must be able to put themselves in your shoes. This becomes possible only after gaining experience in a line of work relevant to your personal requirements. 

As goes with education, make sure you are able to access the working history of your coach and, if their LinkedIn profile does not show them to have worked in senior positions that are relevant to you, ask yourself whether they are truly experienced enough to suit your needs.

The SEVEN team consists of dedicated coaches with valuable business and industry experience. Ex-lawyers, finance directors and psychologists make up just some of our diverse and highly knowledgeable team, and SEVEN coaches have held senior positions in renowned companies like Morgan Stanley, EY, Accenture, and Penguin Random House.


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What is the difference between education and qualifications, you may ask? 

Education makes up a large percentage of a professional coaches resume, but does not automatically mean that they are at the top of their game when it comes to a “real life” client-facing situation. 

Your perfect coach needs to be proactive in their approach to self improvement, and should be adding to their skillset on a regular basis. Only then can they remain relevant, empathetic, knowledgeable and insightful in a fast-paced and ever-changing world. 

Many independent coaches operate without a robust or objective quality assurance system. Unfortunately this can mean a lack of objectivity and professional feedback, and can stifle their professional development.

When looking for the best coach, you need to find out what your candidate is doing to position themselves as a well informed and up-to-date professional, capable of delivering the best results.

SEVEN coaches are rigorously assessed through a 7-part selection process renowned as one of the toughest in the industry. They continuously strive for improvement and excellence through ongoing training and development.


Whether you are mapping out a new career path or looking to improve your personal life, choosing to work with a professional coach can be a life-changing decision as long as you get the right guidance from the right person. 

For the coaches themselves, providing this type of service is no small feat, and coaches themselves need support systems in place in order to ensure that they can offer the best guidance possible.

When looking for a professional career coach, make sure that the individual you choose has the right amount of support in place. This can take the form of a independent coaches

Whilst working with you, your SEVEN coach is supported by a team of over 30 coaches sharing their knowledge around topics such as positive psychology, neuroscience, mindfulness, biohacking, emotional intelligence development, leadership and performance. Each coach is also supervised by a senior coaching professional and monitored by the SEVEN quality assessment process.


Download your free Perfect Coach Checklist HERE


Availability may seem like a trivial subject when looking at the broader scope of requirements that make up your perfect coach, but it is an important factor to consider.

Whilst it may be thought that independent coaches have more of a flexible approach to bookings and availability, this is often not the case. 

In fact, many freelance coaches are often not available for long periods of time, having long waiting lists or periods of unavailability.  

This is because they often bear the pressure of other responsibilities (e.g. finding clients) as well as having to complete their own administrative tasks.

As a client, you want consistent and regularly scheduled meetings with your coach in order to be able to efficiently grow. Make sure that your coach is going to be able to accommodate you consistently for the duration of your overall coaching experience, as if they cannot, you will suffer a fragmented journey that will ultimately deliver you less of a result.

With over 20 professional coaches on the SEVEN team, we are always able to deliver consistent coaching plans to our clients. SEVEN coaches utilise a tried and tested coaching framework that has been proven across a huge variety of clients and delivered by a variety of different coaches since 2012, ensuring that you get both the commitment and quality that you have paid for.


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A truly great coach is able to manage and successfully mentor a variety of clients with a myriad of professional and personal backgrounds. 

Diversity is an important quality in coaching; not only should your coach be capable of creating a high level overview of your current situation, they should also possess the intricate skills required to create a step-by-step, tailored coaching programme, as adaptable and dynamic as your circumstances may be.

One main drawback of choosing an independent coach is that if they are incompatible, or do not possess the specific skills required to meet your needs, you are unable to change to another coach without incurring personal costs.

SEVEN coaches have a diverse and wide-reaching knowledge-set. We have had a 95% success rate matching our coaches to client in the past 12 months, and have a 98% overall satisfaction rating (4.8/5 Google Reviews).

We match you with a coach that fully understands your needs, and that has extensive experience in matters that relate directly to your situation. If at any point you feel that something isn’t right, there is always the possibility to be re-matched with an alternative coach.


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To summarise, there are various qualities that make up the perfect coach, and you should be sure that whoever you are looking at for guidance fits the bill before you enter into an agreement or paid service.

Whilst you may initially be blown away by the character of your coach and say to yourself that “they sound like they know what they are doing”, if they are not backed up by the necessary framework, qualification or experience level then you may quickly find yourself in a regrettable position at your time of need.

Download your free Perfect Coach Checklist HERE