1. Has the coach been through a professional training program, and does he or she hold a professional coaching certification?
2. Was the coach trained in a Christian or secular coach training program?
Coaching has become something of a buzzword in Christian circles, and many individuals with no professional training call themselves coaches. Formal training isn't everything, and some people have a knack for coaching even though they have little training. On the other hand, would you want to hire a lawyer with no legal training, or have your home appraised by someone who isn't certified? We didn't think so. A professional certification usually means your coach has been through 150 or more hours of formal coach training. Ask about your coach's credentials.
3. How much coaching experience does the coach have?
Some pastors may actually prefer a coach with secular training, just to get a completely different perspective on their world. However, there are advantages to working with a coach that has been trained to function from a biblical worldview and value system. Think through which approach would be most comfortable for you.
4. What kind of career or ministry experience does the coach have?
Coaching titles reflect the experience level of the coach. The standard language in the coaching industry is 250 hours of experience for a "certified coach", 800 for a "professional coach" and 2500 for a "master coach". The best coaching is generally going to come from more experienced coaches—but usually at a higher rate as well.
5. Does the coach offer a free complimentary session?
While a good coach can work with almost any kind of situation (coaches are change experts, not subject-matter experts), as a pastor you may prefer someone with extensive pastoral, pastoral oversight or Christian leadership experience. Generally, a coach who knows and understands your world will be able to coach you more effectively. Look for someone with experience in the kinds of things you want to be coached in.
Chemistry is an important part of a coaching relationship. Your coach should be someone you look forward to talking to; someone you'd naturally open up and share with. Your coach should also be someone you respect and trust. And many coaches report that a disproportionate percentage of their clientele are gift types like their own: in other words, people tend to be attracted to a "like-gifted" coach. A complimentary session that lets you "try before you buy" is a great way to check out the chemistry before you make a commitment.