I'm constantly surprised by how many people today call themselves 'a coach'...

There are no global standards in this sector... and consequently, the number of 'coaches' out there is staggering - an estimated 150,000 people now call themselves,"coach". (Back when I took my first coach training in 1988, there wasn't even a name for this work. Now there are dozens of types....)

When coaching is done properly, it can be the best investment you'll ever make in yourself.  But it can also be a situation of, "buyer beware".  

Before you decide whom to work with, ask these 5 questions. You'll end up with the best possible "fit". And fit usually means great results:

1. Are you a certified coach? If yes - ask if they're certified with The International Coach Federation (ICF). If you are choosing between a few coaches, choose one who's been coaching for at least a few years.

2. How long have you been actively coaching? And then ask for testimonials from former clients. Many coaches are entering the market today, so it just makes sense to select one with a proven track record of success. Ask if those testimonials are published -seeing real feedback from real people just makes sense.

3. How much do you charge? I believe that 'comparison shopping' is always worthwhile. But I'm not suggesting that you just go with the least expensive (per hour) coach however. The best coaches offer programs to help their clients move forward more quickly than others - so a low hourly rate doesn't always mean you'll save money.

(Bonus question: Ask the coach: "How long will this take?" If (s)he can't give you a decent estimate, that's troublesome.)

4. Do you provide other tools or materials that I can use between our meetings? Most people learn better in one mode than another. Options include being able to communicate between meetings using email, texting, and / or quick phone calls. The best coaches provide their clients with written materials developed to help you move forward more quickly. These will reduce the amount of time (i.e.: money) that you spend with your coach.

5. Money Back Guarantee? This is a hot button for many coaches. My opinion is that if someone is offering a service or selling a product, then the client has every right to expect that they are getting what they pay for. If not, the client should be entitled to a full refund.

Using these questions, you're far more likely to find a great "fit". And in coaching, fit is critical.

Full disclosure:  I'm a coach. I work with women and men of all ages every day. I'm also the Founder and CEO of John McKee & Associates with certified and experienced coaches in 25 countries. I've personally selected each one. And they all meet all of my tips.

Here's to your future!