If you are a D or C-Suite executive, a leader at any level in an organisation, or a subject matter expert preferring not to take on people management roles, then congratulations! Your progress thus far is impressive. But do any of the following questions resonate with you?
- Have you taken up a new role? An elevated responsibility? Does the word “Transition” say everything about what you are going through as you get to grips in the new context?
- Are you a leader who has already been in the role for some time , but feel that things could be better? Does improving “In-role effectiveness” touch a chord with you?
- Have you been identified as a high potential and are you committed to doing all it takes to realise your full potential? Does the phrase “Hunger for Growth” relate to you?
- Does it feel lonely on the top? Do you wish you could have someone who is respected and who you can trust to be available to you as a “Sounding board”?
If the answer to any of the above is YES, an Executive Coach is the one you are looking for to support you. All good so far. But how do you know who is the perfect coach for you? I am glad you asked the question.
You will find executive coaches for anything in the marketplace. Coaches comes in different flavours in terms of age, work experience, and coaching experience along with the results they produce. We need to be clear about who we choose to work with.
- Is your coach well aware of the challenges and dynamics in the business world?
Coaching, by definition focuses on listening , providing space for the client to explore and help them make their own decisions. While a coach need not be a subject matter expert in the client’s domain, a good knowledge of how the business works and the dynamics in the workplace is absolutely necessary.
- What is the “Why” behind your coach choosing to become one?
Having a purpose is not only important for you as a client, but also for the coach you choose to work with. A coach aligned with their purpose would have an infectious passion that uplifts the clients in their combined coaching journey.
- How is your coach growing in their chosen field?
Coaching credentials are just a starting point. Anyone who stops after that is making a serious mistake of not keeping up with the times. A good question to ask your coach would be “ What are few recent coaching skills you have picked up? How do you integrate them in your coaching engagement? ”
- What is your coach’s strategy in using psychometric tools and providing feedback / feedforward?
Most coaches will rely on some sort of 360 degree feedback / feedforward to get a reliable sense of the coaching agenda that would help both the client and the organisation. Coaches usually go for a psychometric assessment on a need basis. It will be a good idea to understand these before you work with them.
- What is your coach’s coaching style?
Some coaches strive to provide a comfortable coaching experience. This means that you become a little more effective within your comfort zone. However, the growth happens when your coach asks powerful and sometimes uncomfortable questions in a respectful manner. These are the moments when you stop, go silent and search internally for an answer. What coaching style are you looking for in your coach? How does this coach express this value in the way they work?
- How does your coach help you prepare for the emerging world?
The landscape is changing rapidly and continuously as the new world emerges. We have the next generation workforce who have different drivers, leaders have to lead roughly five generations of people in the organisation, humans are working side by side with AI, there is hybrid working, agile ways of leading, unending uncertainties and so on. Does your coach make you think about the current as well as the future? What has been their experience with all these?
- How does the coaching process help you grow not only in the work environment but in your personal space too?
We are not compartmentalised. We carry a part of our office when we go home, and we carry a part of our home when we go to the office. We also carry a mix of our different selves from other contexts to the wider world that we interact with. The coaching experience usually creates a ripple effect. At work, this ripple travels across and affects the people you work with. The changes and improvements have a profound impact on your personal life too. The quality of conversations and engagement usually gets richer in the family and social space. This can only happen when the coaching process addresses the individual in different contexts and the coach takes the time to understand the coachee in all of these contexts. Does your coach’s process do this?
- How does your coach ensure sustainability of growth after the engagement is over?
As long as you have your coach and you are having multiple engagements with them, you will have an accountability partner. They will make you try out new things in the workplace, reflect on the experience and then discuss what worked well, what did not and why. But what happens once the coaching engagement is over? How does your coach ensure that you are able to coach yourself beyond the engagement period? What enablement needs to happen in your ecosystem to help your changes be more sustainable?
- What is your coach’s impact on thought leadership and contribution to the wider world?
Coaches have a huge opportunity to observe and reflect on the many situations they encounter together with their diverse clients. This enables the coach to reflect deeply, connect the dots and share their ideas with the world through blogs, videos, podcasts, posts etc. How is your coach contributing and building thought leadership?
- Breadth of coach’s skills and impact magnification opportunities.
The best Executive Coaches have the flexibility to remain effective in a 1:1 coaching, one to many (group) coaching, and a team coaching environment. Your coach needs to have facilitation skills to draw out the individuals in the leadership team and align everyone together. Frequently, Executive Coaches for CEOs/CxOs end up coaching the entire leadership team following a great client experience and results. Does your coach have wider skillsets to flex?
- What does your coach’s past client have as recommendations?
One undeniable indicator for a successful coaching engagement is client experience and results. What do your coach’s clients have to say about their coaching experience? What stands out in their recommendation? What can you connect with?
I hope the above helps you to select the right Executive Coach for you. Best wishes in your growth journey.