How To Choose The Ideal Executive Coach For You
In a previous piece, “Why You Need To Hire A Coach in 2015,” I discussed the importance of working with a coach and why it can be a valuable and rewarding career-advancing action. Hopefully, I have convinced you to work with a coach. In this installment, I share tips for selecting the right coach for you.
In the spirit of this article, I reached out to some of the best executive coaches I know and asked them to coach me on the process of choosing a coach. Here’s premium advice from the experts.
Kathy Caprino, an international success coach based in Connecticut, dedicated to the advancement of women in business, says:
- • Talk to the prospective coach for 15 minutes as a way to gauge your chemistry. Check in with how you feel right after the talk. A good sign is if you feel really excited and inspired by your discussion, but a bit scared. This typical means that you're inspired to grow, ready to commit to the process, but part of you is "scared" because you know there will some stretching involved. That's a good sign, indicating the coach will facilitate moving beyond your comfort zone (which is essential if you want growth).
- • Find a coach who's done what you want to do in the world. Don't buy into that myth that the coach doesn't have to know a thing about what you're trying to do. If you want to make a million dollars in your new business, for instance, don't go to a "life coach" – go to a coach who possesses deep entrepreneurial experience, has lived what you're trying to do, and has had great success. If you want to transform your career, go to someone who's reinvented theirs successfully and has helped hundreds of others do the same.
- • Finally, check out their thought leadership. What does it say about them? Do you love their website, their LinkedIn profile, their articles, their guest posts, and other components of thought leadership? After watching their videos and reading their material, you should feel like you simply can't wait to work with them.
- • Get a sense of their "energy." Every coach, and every person on this planet, has a certain style, approach, worldview and energy to their work. Make sure it's a good fit with your style.
Breck Arnzen, Boston-based executive coach and CEO of Arnzen Group, suggests you look for a coach that meets these criteria:
- • Experience coaching people at your level and above.
- • An advanced degree in human relations or a related field. In some instances a degree in psychology could be valuable, along with expertise in areas that are important to you. Also, look for a coach with certifications in personal and leadership inventories and assessment tools like MBTI, FIRO-B, 360 Instrumentation.
- • A clearly defined, yet flexible, coaching approach that achieves results.
- • Skills in deep listening, asking probing questions, identifying underlying patterns of behavior, and the ability to model key leadership behaviors such as effective relationship building, emotional intelligence and establishing trust.
- • An understanding of business principles and organizational dynamics.
- • A collaborative style that will work with you and with your HR staff, as well as line management, if applicable.
- • The ability to clearly set expectations and define “what falls outside” the scope of a coaching engagement.
- • Referrals and testimonials from past clients and/or colleagues in the coaching field.
Former ICF President and Leadership Coach Karen Tweedie, who is based in Melbourne, Australia,...