Coaching has come a long way from the times it was only for CXO’s and senior level professionals. It is now common knowledge that anyone can avail benefits of executive coaching from having a coach who facilitates their path and helps them develop their potential either personally or professionally.
There may be various reasons why you think coaching would help you including professional problems and a desire for personal growth. However, once you understand the benefits of executive coaching and decide that working with a coach may be beneficial for you, how exactly should you identify the right executive coach?
Qualification and Accreditation: When you start looking you will find the word coach used loosely by all sorts of professionals. Bear in mind that everyone who purports to be a coach, isn’t always qualified, which is why you must look for a Coach with an ICF certification. An ICF accreditation means an executive coach has trained as a professional coach and kept updated in the field
Experience – The length of coaching experience is definitely a good indicator of a coach’s expertise but one needs to look beyond just the number of years. Do check if the Coach has substantial coaching experience. If you are a newbie in your industry, you will be able to gain benefits of executive coaching by working with someone who has helped newcomers assimilate. If you are a senior professional you might be more comfortable with someone who has helped senior managers scale to CXO levels.
Style of Coaching – Taking on a coach is like agreeing to go on a long road trip with someone. It’s important to be able to open up and trust the person you are travelling with. This will not just provide you with results in the short term but help you build a deep relationship with the coach. The coach will then be able to work with you at a deeper level of trust and understanding, making for a more fulfilling engagement for both of you.
When zeroing in on a coach, look for someone who is empathetic and you can connect with. It is also important to remember that a coach should make you think. You do not need someone who gives you direction, nor do you need someone who always agrees with your thought process.
Goal Setting – Executive Coaches do not shy away from setting goals. If your coach is reluctant to work in a goal- oriented manner, that should raise a red flag.
A coach should also be clear about how progress will be evaluated. Regular progress check-ins based on your goals are important markers that a coach should be comfortable discussing.
Your comfort level – Your comfort level will probably be the most significant deciding factor in choosing the right executive coach. Most coaches will provide you with a session where you can talk about your goals and expectations as well as spend time understanding their coaching methodology. At such a session check if the Coach matches their energy to yours, provide you with comfort to open up and are empathetic to your situation. Can you imagine working with them for an extended period of time?
Ethics – Last but not the least confidentiality should figure among the top most criterion in picking the right executive coach. Your Coach should not be sharing personal information or inputs without your permission even if your organisation is sponsoring your coaching. If they have an obligation to share any data with your organisation, they must be transparent about it before taking on the engagement with you.
Speaking with coaches who have diverse coaching styles and ways of working will help you identify who you are likely to connect, like and trust. For isn’t that the foundation of any good relationship?