How To Choose The Right Executive Coach For You

I’m making the rather bold assumption that you might be thinking of hiring an executive life coach to help you with your personal development, leading to higher performance levels and greater satisfaction in your professional endeavours. What important factors can you consider in guiding you to making the correct decision on the person best able to help you reach your potential?

I often find myself explaining my approach and providing executives with an explanation into my particular style and methodology. I do this with the intention of helping them make the right choice. In truth it is a very personal decision, for both them and me. It’s also a very important decision, if the relationship is to be positive and achieve successful outcomes.

What type of person are you looking for? 

Do you want someone who will consistently push you to find your own answers? Or…

Are you looking for a more personalised approach – meaning that you receive feedback and ideas on how to resolve your issues, and are also provided opportunities to find your own ideas and make the solution your own?

A great coach knows how and when to use both approaches.

Five Key Questions To Determine Your Best Executive Coach Fit

1. What areas am I seeking coaching support in?

For example, you may find yourself in a situation, (a merger/acquisition perhaps), where you are experiencing challenges in the leadership of new associates. There is an abundance of ‘life coaches’ and many former executives, neither of whom are necessarily appropriate for business or organisational leadership coaching. Think carefully about what your needs are, and be clear on the areas you feel that you need support in.

2. Does my coach have relevant professional experience?

Identify a coach who has had enough experience that you feel that the person will add value. Make a choice not only on the scope of experience they have, measured by the number of years of experience, but more importantly the depth of relevant experience. The number of years of coaching experience while on the surface is helpful, cannot be all you will be focused on.

3. What results have they achieved?

Choose a coach who can answer questions about and evidence the results that they have helped their clients achieve. Also, present an area where you feel challenged and ask your coach how he or she would approach it. Coaching should take place to some extent right there and then, during your initial “discovery meeting”. Is the coach presenting a credible and convincing approach to your challenge? If so, you’re probably talking with the right person.

4. Am I clear on what the contract with my coach will cover?

Ensure there is a written contract, signed by you and the coach before commencing the program. As a minimum, this should include:

Timelines and deliverables that work for you. Most contracts are for 6-10 sessions of 60-90 minutes each. Ideally, these are held on a weekly basis.

A confidentiality clause or a non-disclosure agreement to protect your sensitive information.

Reviews on progress against objectives. There should also be a review of coaching performance in supporting you goal achievement.

5. Is the chemistry good?

This is the essentially the most important question from you that requires a resounding YES if you are going to proceed. This is often referred to as the “Chemistry Session”. This is the first 1-2-1 meeting that you’ll have with your potential coach. This is your opportunity to pose the four questions I’ve suggested, and measure the cohesion between your needs and your coach’s fit. If your coach has answered your questions satisfactorily up to this point, then you need to decide if you feel comfortable with this coach. Is their style compatible with yours?

Pay attention here – compatible means compatible, not necessarily the same! Most importantly, you need to feel comfortable enough with your coach to be able to arrive at a position of trust, otherwise you won’t be able to open up and you won’t get the most out of the experience. Without trust being established, the experience is likely to be of limited value to you. As we know, trust is earned, not given.

It is the coach’s job to facilitate the relationship with you to reach a point where you can trust each other completely during the coaching program. Once secured, then with all of the other five boxes ticked, the coaching experience will become a true partnership that can continue beyond the completion of the coaching program. The result? A rewarding and exciting partnership for both you and your coach.

 Contact me to discuss your requirements via phone +44 (0) 1144055877 or via email [email protected]

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