What You Absolutely Need to Know Before Hiring an Executive Coach

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When should you hire an executive coach? That’s a loaded question. The reasons can be endless. What should you look for in a coach? The answers may surprise you. Who should you consider as a possible candidate to work with a coach? It depends.

One thing’s for sure; if it’s your job to contract executive coaches for your organization, you should do your best to refrain from hiring a coach to “save” an executive’s job. A punitive approach may often times be misguided or in some cases, too little too late. Some are not willing to make the sacrifice or do the work required. Be wary of those who say they don’t have the time, or they are “just fine” on their own.That’s not to say coaching is never an option. It can help to smooth the edges of a skilled and gifted tactician who has otherwise proven themselves to be a valued asset. They may just be a little rough around the edges.

If you’re familiar with book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, he explored the major differences between companies that were able to attain levels of “greatness,” and those who did not. In particular, the organizations that were exceptional possessed what he called ‘Level 5 Leadership’. The Level 5 executive displays an appreciable balance of personal transparency and professional perseverance. Using this five-step model can help you create a foundation for the type of leaders you may want in your organization. As you go through the process of identifying the executive(s) who are thought to be of value to the organization and (more importantly) believed to have the ability to be much more – those are the ones that may be best suited for executive coaching.  

What you really hope to see at the end of an executive coaching engagement isn’t acquiring a new skill or improving a characteristic or attribute; it’s personal transformation. Through coaching, you become a much-improved version of yourself. Without transformation, whatever changes took place as a result of coaching will simply evaporate and the end result may actually be time wasted.

Personal transformation through executive coaching

So how can you achieve personal transformation through coaching? I’m glad you asked. If you’re familiar with “stretch goals,” the “stretch” in personal transformation is more than just completing an objective. It’s about becoming something or someone you’ve never been before. If all this sounds a bit lofty, it is. Lofty in the sense you cannot be afraid to accomplish something that seems out of reach. Working with an executive coach who will guide you toward transformation is an experience you will never forget; because it’s just that impactful. THAT’S how you go from good to great. Many successful executives and business owners either currently work with, or have worked with, a coach in the past. It’s also not unusual for coaches to work on a retainer-like basis; making themselves available when major projects arise, M&As, as well as many other major initiatives.

Where the magic of executive coaching happens

The relationship between coach and client is extraordinarily special. Why? Because the coach takes a vested interest in the growth and development of their client. Just as a personal trainer pushes their client to do more and be more, so does an executive coach. One major difference between the two is when the “work” takes place. Much of the transformation happens outside the coaching session. Reason being, there are tasks, exercises, and new approaches the coach and client agree upon. During the course of the coaching engagement, the changes that occur from completing the tasks, doing the exercises, and implementing new approaches will begin to take place over time. The coach offers an unbiased perspective, support, accountability, and partnership. It’s not unusual for clients to say they feel more confident, more accomplished at work, have deeper, more meaningful relationships, and even more satisfied in their personal life.

Hiring an executive coach is a decision that can pay off in dividends. Not only does the recipient of coaching benefit, the organization as a whole stands to gain a more effective, more compassionate, and more engaged officer or manager.If any of the above resonates in the least bit, consider beginning your search for an executive coach.

Are you thinking of hiring an executive coach for yourself or your organization? Click the button below to schedule an executive coaching needs assessment and get executive coach recommendations for yourself or leaders in your organization.   

By Reginald Jackson Sr

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