When coaching is done properly, it can be the best investment you'll ever make in yourself.

But the coaching profession is growing like crazy - an estimated 150,000 people now call themselves,"coach". (Back when I took my first coach training in 1978, there wasn't even a name for this work. Now there are dozens of types....)

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

1Are you a certified coach? 

If yes - ask if they're certified with The International Coach Federation (ICF). If you have a choice, choose someone who's certified and has been coaching for at least a few years.

2. How long have you been actively coaching? Do you have 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 client move forward more quickly than others - so a low hourly rate doesn't always mean you'll save money.

Ask the coach: "How long will this take?"

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. And some coaches provide their clients with written materials developed to help you move forward more quickly. These will reduce the amount of time (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.