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ATD Blog

Selecting an Executive Coach


Wed Jun 19 2013

Selecting an Executive Coach-9f1dd3b5ca33770fce83f68e8be49535ad9bf5756e3dea50e21ff15b6c5a6d67

Choosing the right executive coach for you is important. There are many people who offer coaching services; some have completed formal training, while others offer specific business experience. Whoever you choose to work with it is important that you feel comfortable and confident that the investment will enable you to successfully achieve your goals.

Use whatever guidelines you feel appropriate—including your gut reaction! This is all about YOU, and only you can decide if the partnership is likely to be successful. However, be sure to consider the following elements as you search for your coach:

  • Chemistry – You need to feel comfortable sharing your thoughts, concerns, frustrations, and results achieved. You need to enjoy talking with this person. After all, you will be working together regularly for six to 12 months.

  • Credibility – Your coach should have a level of background and experience that will support the coaching process. This should include formal training as a Coach as well as any relevant business experience you feel important.

  • Confidence – Your coach should be self-aware, polished, and professional. They should be articulate and effective at listening to you. They should be able to challenge you; coaching is not about providing you with the answers that you want to hear and are safe.

  • Confidentiality – You should specifically discuss confidentiality with your coach. What will and will not be shared with your manager or other leaders in your company (even if you have personally hired the coach). A coach may use anecdotes from other coaching conversations, however, confidentiality should still be respected, and you should not expect your coach to mention client names or client companies specifically.

Most coaches offer an introductory conversation (there may or may not be a fee associated with this). This is an opportunity to interview your coach to assess if they will match your specific needs and expectations.

Questions you should consider asking prospective coaches include:

  • What formal coaching training have they completed?

  • What other qualifications or experience do they have?

  • What is their philosophy for coaching?

  • Have they coached people in your industry? At your level?

  • How will they assess your current strengths and weaknesses?

  • Which tools and assessments are they certified to administer?

  • How will your coach measure the success of the coaching with you?

  • How does the coach measure their own effectiveness?

  • What have they done to support their own continuing professional development?

  • Do they have their own coach?

  • How long does the coach expect the relationship to last?

  • What should I do if I don’t feel that the coaching is adding value?

  • How will confidentiality be handled?

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