Business coaching has turned into a big industry, generating over $15 billion in revenue in 2019.
One sector of the business coaching industry is executive coaching. This area of coaching focuses on the development of leaders within an organization. These may be low-level employees being groomed for promotions, or executives sitting in the C-suite.
Executive coaching brings a number of benefits to employees and organizations. However, you have to start by hiring the right executive coach.
Read on to discover how you can sort through the different executive coaches and find the one that’s a perfect fit.
- What Is Coaching?
The lure of hiring a coach is pretty great, but not many people truly understand what a coach does. That’s true even for coaches. Ask them what a coach does, and you’ll get a broad range of answers.
Executive coaches work with C-suite and mid-level managers. They help the managers become better leaders through self-awareness and create a safe space to bounce ideas. Coaching is about helping people take the next step to achieve their full potential.
When that shift happens for an executive, that can trickle down to the rest of the organization. In some cases, there is a lot that happens around mindset, as that’s the differentiator between successful and unsuccessful leaders.
Is it therapy? No, there is a very fine line between coaching and therapy. Coaches aren’t licensed to practice therapy, nor is it ethical to pretend to be a therapist.
Executive coaches have to refer you to a certified therapist who is qualified to help you work through deeper issues that come up.
- Know Your Result
Why do you want to hire a coach? You’ll need to know that if you want to hire the right executive coach.
You want your result to be tied to a business outcome. That makes is much easier to measure your success.
Do you have a goal to be a better leader in your organization? Think about some of the ramifications of being a better leader. One potential ramification is that your employees are thrilled to work for you, which reduces turnover.
You can translate into dollars saved. When an employee leaves a company, the business loses about a third of that person’s salary to replace that employee.
An employee making $45,000 that leaves will cost about $15,000 in lost productivity and replacement costs.
Using this statistic, you can connect your goals to a tangible result. That’s important to have because you need to know if coaching is working for you and your business.
- Coaching Experience and Past Successes
There are thousands of coaches out there. Some are more aligned with your needs than others. Take a look at a coach’s experience.
Do they have industry experience? Do they specialize in a certain area, like leadership coaching? Coaches may specialize in helping you be a better communicator, more open to ideas, and so much more.
On top of experience, you want to know about specific results. A coach can help a mid-level manager prepare for a C-suite role in an organization. They can also deliver better systems and more revenue.
It all depends on what you’re looking for and what your specific needs are.
Don’t get too bogged down in certifications. There are hundreds of organizations that claim to certify executive coaches.
Since the coaching industry has no oversight whatsoever, most certification programs aren’t that good. They don’t really prepare executive coaches for the rigors of coaching.
One organization that does a great job to prepare coaches is the International Coaching Federation (ICF). This is among the first certifying bodies in the coaching industry and it’s widely regarded as the best one out there.
Look for a coach that’s ICF certified or was trained at an ICF accredited institution.
- They Have a Process
The best executive coaches have a specific process when they work with clients.
The key thing here is that the process is customizable to fit any situation. You don’t want to be stuck working with a coach that applies the same cookie-cutter method to get a result that’s not important to you.
Ask questions about how they initially assess their clients. You also want to know what strategies they use with clients to get them from Point A to Point B.
Tell them about what your goals are and ask how they see you working together to get the result.
- Your Rapport With the Coach
It’s best to interview several coaches before hiring one. You’ll get an idea as to how they work and how compatible they are with you.
For a coach-client relationship to work, there has to be trust and respect between the coach and client. A coach has to work hard to keep that trust.
Look at the little things that they do. For example, if they promise to send over a worksheet to you by a certain time, how do they move forward if they don’t follow through. They should own up to the mistake and take responsibility for it.
Coaches that don’t follow-through or take responsibility erode that trust and respect. It makes it harder to open up to them, straining the relationship.
- The Coaching Style
Some coaches think that coaching is all about telling people what they should do. That’s actually the antithesis of coaching.
The best executive coaches find ways to ask pointed questions. They use these questions to guide clients to find the answers for themselves.
The coach basically serves as a guide, not a know-it-all. Check with prospective executive coaches to see how they approach the coaching process.
- Executive Coaches Are Listeners
Aside from coaching style is the ability to stop talking and listen. That is the top trait that all coaches need to have. They ask the tough questions and they truly listen to the answers.
They don’t interrupt. They’re also very comfortable with silence. They are patient and give you the space you need to find your own answer.
Executive Coaches for Business Results
Do you need to hire an executive coach? Executive coaches are skilled at bringing out your best, which can also drive positive business results.
When you look for a coach, look for one with the right blend of personality, process, and experience to find the right one for you.
For more tips to improve your business, head over to the Business section of this site.
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