Hiring an executive coach is the best thing you can do for your organization. But only if you pick the right one.
While there is no absolute way to find the right executive coach, here are some essential dos and don’ts. From executive coaching to leadership coaching to business coaching, these guidelines will serve you well in your search for the perfect coach.
So here are five things to remember when you go ‘coach shopping.’
Checklist to choose the suitable Executive Coach
1) Understand your needs
Before you begin your search, spend some time getting to know what you need help with and why. Once you are clear about your needs, it will be easier to select a coach. Clarifying your needs also helps to set clear objectives for your coaching engagement. Know that an executive coach can accelerate your growth and steer you on the right path only when you know what you want.
“I remember when I started looking for a business coach, I wasn’t clear about exactly what I wanted help with. And as fate would have it, I never really did find a perfect fit in anyone”, confessed Sriram while talking about his early experience finding a coach.
2) Look for Executive Coach Certification
Coaching is an unregulated industry where coaches are a dime a dozen. The last thing you’d want is an unqualified, untrained, self-styled coach tinkering with your life. So first look for their coaching certification. That’s the only way to weigh your coach’s credentials.
Internationally acclaimed accreditations & certifications add so much more authority and credibility to your coach. Besides, it ensures accountability as you can escalate malpractice, if any, by your coach to the certifying institutions.
3) What is the coach’s professional experience?
Like any job, relevant work experience is a must here too. Reach out to businesses in your network & get referrals. Also, check the coaches’ references.
This not only gives you an idea about the coaches’ credibility & capability, but it also helps identify any congruency in a niche or specialty that might benefit you.
For instance, if your business is in the hospitality field, a coach with expertise in dealing with the financial sector may not be suitable for you. Similarly, an executive coach with zero experience working with start-ups may not be relevant if you run a start-up.
That said, be open to cross-over expertise too. An ICF coach worth their salt will be able to coach you regardless of whether they are familiar with your domain. That’s because the ICF coaching process is universally applicable.
“As long as I was unclear about what I wanted, none of the coaches made sense. But once I sat down and made a list of the areas I needed help with, some of the coaches I had met earlier became good fits. Referrals from similar businesses helped me narrow the search for the right coach,” adds Sriram.
4) Ask the right questions
A friend refers you to a coach she has worked with. She loves this coach. But is that a good enough reason to pick the same coach? Certainly not.
What must you do then?
Prepare a list of questions to ask any prospective coach you will meet while coach-hunting. To know what questions you should ask, this blog, Crucial Questions You Must Ask When Selecting an Executive Coach, will immensely help.
As you ask the prospective coach your questions, converse with them about your needs, struggles, and dreams. Make mental notes of how you feel when you express yourself to them. Observe.
Is the coach a good listener?
Do you resonate with your coach’s responses?
Finally, remember to ask them about their experiences & success stories. Have they coached leaders with profiles like yours? How many?
They certainly aren’t right for you if their ‘best’ can’t convince you.
5) Dip your toes first
So, you finally found a coach who seems like the perfect partner for your coaching journey.
Well, don’t dive in headfirst. The prudent thing to do is dip your toes first. It’s good to be thorough in your research. Follow the prospective coach on social media. Find answers to the following pertinent questions that should crop up in your mind.
What’s their persona like? Their ideas & outlook? Do you feel both of your values are aligned? Do they inspire you? Can you work with them?
If the answers to these questions are encouraging, take your research to the next level. Attend some free workshops and webinars to gauge your coach further. Knowing them better will help you decide whether you can trust the coach.
Remember, at the end of the day, a coach-coachee relationship is based on trust. So, if you can’t trust your coach, nothing else matters.
“I tell everyone that a coach-coachee relationship is very crucial. So, look before you leap. Like any other relationship, weigh your options before you commit. And once you have committed, stick to it as your life depended on it. And, if you ask me, your life does depend on it”, counsels Shilpa, who credits her coach for the transformative life changes she underwent after finding the ‘perfect’ coach.
Unlock Your Potential: The Power of Executive Coaching
Coaching is a path-breaking, life-altering process. It is also a very personal and personalised journey. Therefore, what works for one person may not necessarily work for another.
JC, a seasoned leader, shares that his first executive coaching experience did not go well, making him very cautious. Out of the three executive coaches he interacted with, he hit it off with only one. And that particular coaching engagement took his professional and personal life to another level. JC still keeps in touch with his executive coach. He feels grateful to have a caring, non-judgmental partner on his side, no matter what.
So if you are looking for an executive coach for yourself or your leaders, be diligent and do your homework well. Your/your leaders’ well-being and your organization depend upon it.
We wish you a fruitful & fulfilling Coach Hunt!
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