Organizations the world over are grappling with the impact of the pandemic on their workforce and the increasingly challenging business market. Executive coaching has become an effective tool to gear up the leadership so they can steer their businesses with greater adaptability and flexibility. Coaching success stories from around the world are testimony to this. Eric Schmidt credits a large part of Google’s and Apple’s trillion-dollar evaluation to coach Bill Campbell (CNBC).

So if you want to future-proof your organization,  you should consider executive coaching for your top leadership.

What Is Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching is an engagement between an executive coach and a leader (usually C-suite and a rung below). The executive coach partners with the leader to maximize their potential as leaders and individuals. Executive coaching aims to achieve any one or more of the following objectives (only a few have been listed below)- 

● Enhance strategic thinking

● Achieve specific business goals

● Develop 360-degree vision

● Ease role and career transitions

● Planning for life after retirement

● Achieve personal goals

Critical Questions to Ask When Selecting a Coach

Are you looking at executive coaching for your leaders?

The first step to making your executive coaching story a success is to select the right executive coach.

JC, a leader in the industry for over 15 years, cannot agree more. JC speaks from his experience with multiple executive coaches. Three out of four executive coaches he or his company selected proved non-productive, even disastrous. JC could find resonance with only one executive coach, and that coaching experience turned around his career and personal life.

So it all boils down to finding the right executive coach for your organization. Don’t depend solely upon second-hand recommendations from other organizations or leaders. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to an executive coach. Selecting a coach who suits your needs requires careful research aided by asking the right questions.

We’ve laid out below some critical aspects that you must question when selecting an executive coach.

1) Industry Experience as a Leader or Coach

Most organizations look for executive coaches who have been leaders or executives themselves. These coaches have been in your shoes, and they know exactly where it pinches for you! So you could begin by asking –

Do you have any prior leadership experience? If so, how many years?

 Organizations also prefer selecting executive coaches who have some working knowledge of their domain. For instance, if you are a banking firm, selecting an executive coach with a background in hospitality may not suit your needs. So ask the executive coach whether they have adequate experience in your field, either as a leader or even as an executive coach.

It would be apt to note here that while it may be preferable to have an industry-specific executive coach, it is not essential. ICF coach training and coaching competencies equip executive coaches to engage leaders effectively, whether or not they have industry experience. You could choose to hire any competent, qualified executive coach unless your objectives are domain specific.  

2) Quality of Coaching Experience

The number of executives and organizations coached will give you an idea of how experienced the executive coach is. Ask the executive coach to share their success stories. This, along with their client list would reveal the quality of executive coaching they offer. It would also give you an idea of the industry domains they cater to.

3) Resonance With Company Values, Aspirations, and Culture

Selecting an executive coach who is aligned with you makes for a mutually fulfilling coaching engagement. Asking your coach to talk about themselves, their motivations, and the values they hold dear can help you discover whether you both resonate on multiple levels. It how much passion, tells you how they are as a person and divulge how passionate or dedicated they are towards their calling. 

Here are some questions you can ask –

What motivates you to be a coach?

How do you define success?

How has been your journey as a leader and a coach?

4) Check Coaching Qualifications

The coaching space is currently unregulated. Therefore, it is good industry practice to choose coaches who have been credentialed by a credible authority such as International Coaching Federation (ICF) and European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). In fact, ICF credentialing is considered the gold standard in coaching. They renew their credentialing every 3 years to ensure coaches maintain high standards of coaching.

 Relevant questions you can ask executive coaches –

Are you a certified, credentialed coach?

Who was the credentialing authority?

Are you currently a practising coach?

When was your last credentialing renewal due? 


5) ROI of Coaching

“He came, he motivated & he went off” remarked a leader, when asked about the engagement with a coach! Hiring a Coach is not a feel-good exercise. It should make business sense. It should yield a definite ROI. 

Knowing whether the executive coach you select fits your budget is vital. Ask the executive coaching firm/coach to spell out their package and the tangible benefits they offer.  Deciding on the primary & secondary goals of the engagement is critical. The fruition of these goals sets the base for calculating the ROI. ROI of coaching must be co-created by the coach & the client. The coach’s responsibility is to ensure that the ROI is clearly articulated. 

A critical element of ROI is the total costs incurred by the firm. 

6) Duration of Engagement

Executive coaching engagements can last anywhere between 3 months to a year. Find out the period of engagement from your executive coach. If they state anything more than a year, you would know it to be an unnecessary stretch and probably a ruse to charge more sessions.

Another key question to ask is,

What is the frequency of coaching sessions within the agreed-upon duration?

     That can be decided jointly by your leader and the executive coach. The frequency of coaching sessions is usually 2 per month. This gives enough time for the coachee to implement the objectives they decide in their coaching session, and see its impact.

7) Chemistry Between Coach and Coachee

“The meeting between two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” – Carl Jung

The same is true for a leader and their coach. Meaningful transformation for the coachee is possible only if the chemistry between them is right, that is, the coachee finds their executive coach trustworthy and compatible. 

Accordingly,  the most important part of selecting a coach is assessing the chemistry between the executive coach you’ve selected and your leader. 

So the next question on your mind should be –

Are the coachee and the coach compatible?

 The best way to settle this is to set up a chemistry session with your leader and the executive coach to discover if they resonate with one another. Decide on hiring the coach only if your leader is comfortable with them. What should one discuss in a chemistry session is an important topic we shall take up in another blog!

JC, the leader we interviewed, recalls that he had to reject an executive coach hired by his organization because he could not connect with the person in their chemistry session. Luckily, his company stood by him.

If you are a large organization with leaders from different countries, then it is a good idea to choose an executive coach who would understand the cultural and ethnic values of your leader. In such cases, a coach with a similar ethnic background might help the leader connect with them better.

 Subash (MCC), Executive Coach and Founder, Regal Unlimited, reveals how most MNCs operate when hiring a coach. He worked with an international pharma company that wanted their CEO prospects for their India office, all Indians, coached for the top post. The company scanned potential executive coaches worldwide and shortlisted three, one of which was Subash. The details of the three executive coaches were given to their leaders, who then selected a coach from the list. The coaching engagement began only after a chemistry session to establish rapport between the leader and the executive coach.

8) The Specifics of the Coaching Sessions

Executive coaching can happen in two formats, face-to-face and virtual. Both are effective. But not all coaching firms provide both options. Ask beforehand what formats executive coaching is available in. If both options are offered, you and your leader can decide the format based on location, time, distance, availability, and personal preference. 

Remember that investing in the right type of executive coaching is investing in your leaders and in your organization’s success. Do not spare any effort to hire only the best executive coaches! 

Executive Coaching With Regal Unlimited

If you are on the hunt for an executive coach, don’t look further. Regal Unlimited is one of the best executive coaching firms in India. Here’s why selecting executive coaching with us would be the right move for you.

Competent coaches with impeccable credentials: Our executive coaches are certified, credentialed ICF coaches who have been trained by us. They are all experienced leaders and executives from diverse domains such as banking, IT, hospitality, services, pharmaceuticals, educational institutions, etc. 

CTA: Check out the profiles of Regal Coaches here

Regal client list: We have coached 1000+ leaders from over 50 organizations worldwide such as TCS, Ford, Flipkart, Adobe, Dell, INSEAD, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, and IIM- Bengaluru, to name a few.

ROI of Enchantment: Our coaching engagements go above and beyond the stated ROI to provide a transformational experience. The tangible and intangible benefits for the organization and leader remain life-long.

F2F and online executive coaching: Do you find us perfect yet are concerned about where the sessions will take place? Don’t worry! Our online executive coaching program in India has options for face-to-face and online coaching per the client’s needs and preferences.

Find out if we are the Right Fit for your organization through a FREE Discovery Session. BOOK NOW!

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