A study by the American Management Association found that coaching is used by over 50% of companies in their sample – both in North America and internationally. Of those without coaching programs, a significant number had plans to have something in place in the future. And research from Sherpa Coaching firmly states that “Executive coaching has arrived” – that is, 1:1 coaching services are also on the rise.
Given these trends, you too may be considering a embarking on a coaching relationship. Here are 5 tips to help you find the right coach.
1) Choose with intention. Take the time to interview a few coaches. Find someone you can trust. Remember this is a significant investment in so many ways – not just time and money; it will take up valuable mind-space and mental energy. Do you grow best working with someone whose style mirrors yours? Or do you need a varying style? What kind of work background would your ideal coach have? Do you want someone who has worked in your industry or function – i.e. walked in your shoes? Or someone who has been a coach for his or her entire career? Choose a confidential thought partner who you know is committed to your success and will help you achieve what you want to in a way that is authentic for you.
2) Reflect on why. Are you experiencing significant life changes? Career changes? Are you going into a new role? Do you want to differentiate yourself as a leader? Such introspection will help you better understand what you are committing to change and what success means to you.
3) Ask about process. There are many ways to successfully deliver executive coaching. Some coaches use assessments. Some conduct key stakeholder interviews. Some start with a questionnaire. And some have a blended approach of the above. All these approaches can work. The important thing is for you to understand the approach your prospective coach will use and think about which one you feel most comfortable with.
4) Understand both your roles. Coaching requires a deep commitment on your part. You will share personal triumphs, failures, and beliefs with your coach. You may find your mindset has to change. You may find that your most reliable skill is actually working against you. And you may be presented with real challenge in making a lasting change – unlearning something is painful. Talk with prospective coaches about this and find someone with whom you feel alignment.
5) Speak to previous clients. There’s nothing like live testimonials to add color to how your prospective coach delivers her or his services. Did the reference match what the coach said? Did the reference accomplish intended goals? All good information for you to have before you begin the process.
Cheers to your leadership success!
HR Strategy | Executive Coach | Leadership Development
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