Executive coaching has many benefits, it can improve self-awareness, increase motivation and boost important leadership skills such as empathy, communication and decision making. But in order for executive coaching to be effective, the coach and client need to be a good match. Here are five questions to ask, when it comes to choosing the right executive coach for you.
What experience and qualifications do they have?
As with anything, experience counts. A good way to work out if their experience is a good fit for your needs is to ask about the type of clients and industries they have worked with in the past. Another thing to check for is accreditation. What are their credentials and qualifications? What industry bodies do they belong to and are they a thought leader in their sector?
Along with formal qualifications, positive references and past client testimonials are another thing to look for.
Do they have experience in your sector?
In addition to general experience and the correct qualifications, having experience in your particular field will also be extremely helpful, as executive coaching covers a huge array of different industries and it is important that your coach really understands the field that you work in. Someone without first-hand experience in your industry is unlikely to be able to relate to the challenges that you face on a daily basis.
For that reason, you may prefer to seek the services of an executive coach who specialises in one industry, for example, retail coaching. For this reason, many executives prefer to hire a coach who was previously a high-level manager in the same industry or someone who still works in the sector and is offering executive coaching on the side.
What coaching methodology do they use?
Different coaching techniques work for different people. Just as people can learn in different ways – visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning – the coaching methods that people will respond to best will depend on a number of factors. Thereby, it also makes sense to ask about the type of methodologies the coach plans to use.
Can you agree on desired outcomes beforehand?
You should always outline what you would like to gain from executive coaching before starting the process. After expressing your needs, discuss whether there will be any way of measuring outcomes and evaluating the results for each defined goal. This will be helpful for both you and your coach in the long run.
What is their position on ethics and confidentiality?
Coaching will only be effective if you are able to develop a trusting relationship with your coach and can communicate effectively with each other. As well as arranging a preliminary session to test the waters and get a feel for their coaching techniques etc, it’s also worthwhile to ask about confidentiality and ethics. If the coach is able to make you feel safe and at ease beforehand you will be able to gain more from the process.