How to Choose the Right Executive Coach for You

How to Choose an Executive Coach

Why do you need an executive coach?

Executive career coaching is a powerful resource that can be crucial to conquering your career and personal goals. It’s all about getting clarity and gaining confidence in yourself to achieve. The right executive coach can ignite the spark to improve your life and thrive in business. In today’s highly competitive business world, the right coach can be your secret weapon. When you decide to invest in executive coaching, your coach will help you get more out of yourself by helping you recognize what’s positively and negatively affecting your thinking and behavior in your career and life.

Finding the perfect coach for you can be intimidating. How to select the right one for you when there are so many Life Coaches, Executive Coaches, Personal Coaches, Success Coaches, Leadership Coaches, etc etc etc?

Some have solo practices, like me; some are in small groups, and some work with large consultancies. So how do you choose a great executive coach for yourself or a whole team? Here are some vital factors I recommend you consider when choosing.

Find an executive coach that looks at the whole person.

What makes a great executive coach? I believe the best executive coaches are the ones who look at the whole person. They are more than just “performance coaches.” The best coaches know that they working with people, not projects. Your coach should help you achieve the comprehensive perspective necessary to see that all aspects of your life affect your work.

Even the hardest working, most successful professionals have a life outside of work and take their personal growth as seriously as excelling in their career. They also understand that their personal and professional lives are inseparable. Your executive coach should enable you to become open and honest about the issues that are affecting your life and work.

Every individual I coach is different. Some are more driven than others, some need help with performance anxiety, building confidence at work, or navigating relationship or interpersonal issues at home or in the office. Over the last year, burn out has become a common complaint. All of them benefit from a holistic approach to executive coaching.

Connect with a person, not a “global enterprise”.

When you are looking for an executive coach, it’s important to remember that you are not hiring a “global enterprise”. You are hiring one person. You are creating a relationship with a person, not a corporation. The big executive coaching suppliers may have a wide range of coaches to choose from, but to succeed you must be able to form a trusting relationship with your coach as an individual. That means your coach will be there for you, not someone that may be replaced or change firms when you need them the most.

Look beyond your specialty.

Sherman Chavoor, the legendary coach who developed nine-time Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Mark Spitz throughout childhood and was his trusted advisor at the 1972 Olympic games, could not swim a stroke. And yet, he brought Spitz to the absolute pinnacle of the sport. A great executive coach will know that forming a trusting relationship is far more important than having “been there, done that”.

I tell this story because I’m an executive coach to people in a variety of professional endeavors that I’ve never been personally involved in.

It helps that I’ve been a psychotherapist to lawyers experiencing burnout, surgeons challenged by stress, and CEOs concerned about their competitive edge for years, and have thus developed a deep understanding of the insecurities and burdens that pertain to professionals. It helps that I’ve worked around physicians in a variety of settings for many years, but I’ve never practiced law or medicine, or been an architect or a traditional business consultant.

A successful career often involves first becoming a master of a narrow discipline, and then moving beyond that discipline to become a master of a broad one. In chess, the narrow discipline is tactics. In business, it might be finance or marketing. In each case the broad discipline is judgment: judgment of what you are doing that has worked, judgment of what you are doing that has failed, judgment of how to approach new problems. That judgment can be applied to almost any venture, and developing it doesn’t require a chess master or CEO. A trusting, open relationship with the right executive coach can get you there.

Trust is the key to a superlative executive coaching relationship.

The right executive career coach for you is someone you can have an honest conversation with, someone who understands both business and people well enough to ask the right questions. One way to tell whether a prospective executive coach is any good is whether he asks you questions about your goals and values early in the process. A great coach will challenge your assumptions in a way that helps you think more clearly about what you are doing. Someone who understands that the job of an executive coach is not to tell you what to do but rather to help you figure out what you want and how to get it.

Your coach must be someone with whom you can build a comfortable, trusting relationship and who provides the kind of attention and guidance that will move you toward meeting your goals.

But with all the executive coaching options out there, how do you get a feel for someone you will need to trust?

Schedule a consultation or initial appointment before deciding.

Test the waters by arranging to meet your prospective executive coach. Your coach should offer a brief consultation over the phone, virtually, or in person. Remember that even if you have to schedule a full appointment, you can always decide that a potential career coach isn’t right for you and continue your search elsewhere.

As an experienced executive coach and psychotherapist, I help leaders tackle the challenges of designing the life they want. I ask questions, challenge assumptions, and help leaders clarify what they want to achieve. Leaders who are ready for a trusting relationship; who are willing to commit to doing their part; who understand that making progress requires trust, effort, and vulnerability; and who might be interested in exploring some of the ideas I outline here.

If you’re interested in forging a path to success in business and life, schedule a free consultation and let’s see if we are right for each other.

Schedule a free introductory consultation today.

Schedule a free introductory consultation today.