Congratulations, you have decided to hire an Executive Coach! You have chosen to get better! Take a breath and savour the sense of “committing to a decision”.

The next step beckons, and this piece may be of use at this point. How do you select the right coach, for you?

Executive coaching has been around in some form, the past 30 years. It started in the US, when Industrial psychologists were summoned to offices to work with talented Leaders who were abrasive with their subordinates. Thankfully, it has come a long way since then.

Questions are a great way to increase focus and enable you to make a decision on who to partner with. Thinking, is nothing but a process of asking questions and answering them.

The Executive Coaching Practice like any other practice will have a series of practitioners at various ends of the spectrum. Let me paint a picture – You must have heard of Lawyers who charge a bomb for a single appearance at the Court and you also must have been accosted by a bunch of Lawyers hanging around in the court premises charging a fraction of the same.

Now, there is nothing to stop an Individual from claiming to be a “coach”. In the early days, a seasoned corporate executive would hang his shingle and open up a practice. Now, there is a lot more self regulation in the practice, thanks to ICF – The International Coach federation. It has been the Federation’s role that has seen a stringent process of credentialling and ensuring adherence to a code of conduct and continued Coach Education.

The first question, in terms of hygiene could be:

1)Is the Coach ICF certified?

This is almost the base level of items to check, when it comes to selecting a Coach. The simple reason being – regardless of what the Coach has done as an Industry Leader before setting out as a coach, the process of “learning” Coaching in a systemic manner ensures there is a great deal of “unlearning” and “letting go” of what got them till here. This process is a rigorous and humbling process, that ensures that ego’s are shed, newer learnings embraced and Practice ensues.

2) What themes has the Coach worked on?

While a catchall requirement “I want to become a better Leader” is great, it doesn’t make sense unless, you figure out what aspects you need to get better at. For example – If you need to get better at Emotional Intelligence. What kind of coaching testimonials/ examples can the Coach share with you during the “Chemistry session” – This is a session you can have with various coaches to figure out the best fit for your requirement.

3)What Industry experience does the Coach have?

This is a controversial one, and rightfully so. In the Coaching practice, the Coach doesn’t need to be from the same Industry as the Coachee. This matters, because the Coach doesn’t have anything to add in addition, in fact, in some cases, it may adversely affect the process if the coach find himself being dragged into the same muddy waters. The predilection for selecting Coaches with relevant (read as similar) Industry experience is in the interest of familiarity. The Coach will come armed with the “lay of the land” information and this may be of relevance in the coaching conversations. Some organisations use this as one of the factors for coach selection.

4)What Process does the Coach follow?

This is important for the Coachee to get visibility on the journey from “where he is” to “where he can get”. For Instance, I follow the 5 A Model. Aim – Acknowledgement – Action- Achievement – Accountability. I explain the various steps in the Coaching Process using this process, I also explain the various pieces of documentation that will help us stay on course. The truism is “You coach the way you are” . It would be a good idea to find out what are the Coach’s drivers, values etc.

5)What was the Coach’s “why”?

Coaching as a practice is a fairly rewarding one, when it comes to the Human spirit. The financial rewards and quality of life is also great. But, I don’t think any Coach’s Why was “Geez, I want to become an Executive Coach to make lots of money”. Why we do what we do, is an important aspect of what we, as Coaches will bring to the Process. There is that saying “The man who loves walking will walk further than the man who loves the destination.”

How the best leaders take charge of their emotions

When you react, you lose control, when you respond, you gain control – Bohdi Sanders

Leadership in short, is getting people together, aligning them to a common goal, holding them accountable and reaching the promised land.


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