How to find an executive coach

The search for executive coaches is fraught with difficulty unless you attend to some basics. Firstly, know what you want (see ‘What is Coaching’ and ‘Coaching Models & Methods’ if not certain). Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I want a primarily facilitation approach to develop solutions, new thinking/mental performance skills, new learning skills?
  2. Do I care what coaching disciplines the coach comes from?
  3. Am I prepared to pay for costly single sessions or can I spread the costs by having a coach present all day (as AMA provides)?
  4. Is there a personal development plan for the individuals that meets corporate and personal needs and has been agreed?
  5. Have I defined the scope of coaching (might in include coaching the individual OUT of the organisation or not)?
  6. Do I care to contol expenses or not?
  7. How many inition sessions am I buying & should some of these by interin telephone sessions or not?
  8. Does the individual have the will and psychological resources needed to make significant change?
  9. Where do we want the coaching to take place?
  10. Do I intend to measure efficacy by, for example, setting behavioural/performance measures on the coachee?

If you can answer these questions definitively then you are probably already ahead of the buying game. Beware though of many blue-chip consultancy suppliers you know when specialist consultants are suddenly ‘rebranded’ as coaches – you may not get coaching but will pay the highest prices for the priviledge. Be wary of ‘academic’ qualifications which may provide knowledge ABOUT coaching but may not adequeately produce people who can coach at the highest levels of competence. We recommend that you hire only from businesses that have their own (or a significant independent) methodology for certifiying their coaches BEFORE they are let loose on your account. Ideally, they will also set requirements for annual CPD also.

In all cases, look for independent comments from individuals who have been coached in a corporate setting. Though not normally of any consequence, you may wish to look specifically for positive comments from people in your sector or one that is related to your sector.

McLeod, A. 2009