It’s been 14 years since I walked into my first coach training session in The Lowry at Salford Quays on a wet dreary Manchester Friday.


A few weeks earlier, a contact I’d met through networking (thank you Gary Spinks) had emailed me the details of the session saying he thought I’d be interested.


The course was run by the Coaches Training Institute who were running their 3-day Fundamentals course – an introduction to the principles of coaching.


It was intense.


At the end of the first day though, I had my lightbulb moment. I realised I’d discovered what I had been searching for most of my working life.


On Sunday evening I left the course and went straight home and enrolled on the Coaches Training Institute certified coaching programme. Eighteen months later I qualified and since then I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery and learning that still continues to this day.


In March 2024, I was happy to receive an email from the International Coach Federation (ICF).


“Congratulations Denise, your credential renewal application for the designation of Professional Certificate Coach PCC has been examined and approved. We applaud your individual efforts to obtain a truly global credential and your strong personal commitment to the coaching profession.”


The ICF is the leading global organisation for coaches and coaching. It’s dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals.


To practice as a coach and use the PCC letters, every member must renew their credentials every 3 years and show they’ve taken part in a minimum of 40 hours Continuous Professional Development (CPD).


No CPD = no renewal!


So, why am I sharing this and why should it matter to you?


If you’re looking for a coach to work with you or someone in your organisation, it can be confusing to know what to look for.


There are a lot of us about. We’re all different shapes and sizes, have different specialities and vary in the number of coaching hours we have under our belt.


However, a good coach isn’t all about the hours of practice and having a shiny website.


There are a lot of things to consider and one really important area to check is that a coach is committed to their own learning and development, professionalism and track record.


If you’re looking to work with a coach, here are four areas I think you should consider before you sign on the dotted line:


Qualifications and ongoing training

Check the training that your coach has completed. Is it credentialed with a recognised coaching federation such as ICF, EMCC or similar? Completing ongoing professional development is equally important as it means your coach is up to date with the latest in coaching practices and theories.


Code of Ethics

Does your coach have a strong ethical framework? Do they operate to a Code of Ethics? The ICF Code of Ethics is rigorous and holds its coaches accountable. It also gives you some reassurance that your team (if you work in an organisation) will be safe and you’ll have clear guidelines so you know what to expect.



Is your coach receiving regular supervision? Coaching is emotional work so it’s important for coaches to lighten their load. Regular supervision provides a space in which the coach can discuss client work, get perspective and be challenged about their practice.


Client stories

Can your coach share client success stories? Many coaches add client stories to their website (with permission of their client, of course) which can give a good indication of the types of people and issues they’ve got experience of dealing with. This will give you a good indication if they’ll be a good match.


Choosing the right coach is essential for your coaching to be a transformative experience. It’s worth taking the time to do these simple background checks, so you can find the right coach for you.


If you’re looking for a coach, you can read more about me here About Denise – Denise Chilton Coaching

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