Professional & Organizational Development

Selecting a coach or consultant

The University Consulting Alliance offers internal expertise through POD as well as dozens of external consultants who have been formally vetted through an RFQQ process and pre-approved with University of Washington Purchasing.

As a self-sustaining enterprise, the Alliance charges fees for our services (learn more about how the Alliance works).

Finding a coach or consultant who meets your needs, budget and timeline is integral to the success of your project, development or objectives. The information below is designed to help you with the selection process, and our Consultation Services Coordinator is also available to support you through this process.

Step 1. Identify your needs and objectives.

For coaching: Ask yourself, What are my coaching goals and intended outcomes? Where do I want to grow and develop professionally? What skills or competencies do I need to work on? For instance, you might identify improving leadership or interpersonal skills, increasing employee engagement or accountability, or better time management. Have a list of your top areas of focus ready.

For other consulting work: Think intentionally about your objective for hiring a consultant for your project, retreat, etc. What is your intended outcome? Be ready to describe your project in big-picture terms as well as being able to drill down about your key needs, specific deliverables or event details (when, where, length, number of attendees, site logistics, etc.). Consultants will appreciate background on team dynamics, dysfunctions, successes and growth needs.

Step 2. Review available coaches and consultants

Invest some time in reviewing the profiles of Alliance members. This is a key step in your journey and will help to acquaint you with available consultants. Tip: Using the filter will help narrow the search.

For coaching: Focus on philosophy statements, areas of expertise and selected clients.

For other consulting work: Look for areas of expertise and credentials that match your objectives, and review selected clients to find out if a consultant has experience in your school, department or field.

Please note that there are dozens of consultants to choose from, and it is typical to screen 2–3 for coaching or for consulting work. If you need guidance in narrowing down your list, the Consultation Services Coordinator is available at and can assist with recommendations.

Step 3. Contact us.

Once you have identified 2–3 coaches/consultants you wish to screen, send your email request to The Consultation Services Coordinator will connect you to each via an introduction e-mail and then will assist with coordinating the screening appointment.

Step 4. Screen candidates.

Up to 60 minutes is standard for a screening appointment — at no charge — so make the most of it.

Topics for your screening appointment:

  • Ask about hourly rate, travel costs, parking fees (when applicable) and any miscellaneous costs.
  • Mention budget limits up front and be willing to negotiate. Many consultants will consider “bill to budget” rates.
  • Find out more about the coach’s/consultant’s style and approach, background, preferences, etc. Ask them to elaborate on their philosophy statement.
  • Ask about similar work with past UW clients or about similar projects.

Tip:  Ask each candidate the same question(s).  Take notes during your chat.

Step 5. Make your selection.

Once you decide on a coach/consultant, inform them of your intent to move forward with them. Per POD’s process, they will provide you a detailed scope of work that should include the terms and conditions discussed, length of coaching engagement, a fee breakdown, total hours, etc.

Please do not proceed with a project without an approved proposal and POD contract in place.

Please note that POD recovers costs by charging fees for our services, including an administrative fee of 15 % added to all coaching/consulting contracts. Learn more about how the Alliance works.