Coaching of any kind is dependent on a trusting relationship between the coach and the client. This is especially true in executive coaching because the coach is being entrusted with very personal information. In addition, the client must trust the coach enough to be truthful about themselves and their situation.
There are many different styles of coaching, some more instructive than others. Some executive coaches act more like counselors or mentors by listening to their client and letting them make the decisions about their next steps. Other coaches are more interactive, actually instructing the client about new behaviors, developing new agendas, and assigning "homework" between sessions.
Here are 5 steps for a potential client to address when deciding to engage an executive coach:
- Write out the reasons you want coaching. Do not edit, just write them down. You may have one or you may have 10. But writing them down is the first step towards gaining clarity and getting the most out of a coaching relationship. For example – I want to be recognized as a strong, agile leader or I want to think more strategically.
- Answer the questions: What will success look like for me? How will I know that I’;ve achieved what I wanted from coaching? For example – I am able to engage others in strategic discussions and to lead people toward making decisions.
- Interview at least 3 coaches. Ask as many questions as you need to help you make a decision. To be successful, there has to be a good fit between the coach and the client in terms of personality, style, and expectations. For example, ask each coach "what do you think is your best strength as a coach?"
- Come to grips with the fact that what you spend on coaching is an investment in your development, no matter what level you are within an organization. When a CEO uses a coach, it is to further develop a skill or to check on their decision making. The same is true for everyone else.
- Be prepared to tell the truth and hear the truth. If candid is not present, the coaching relationship will be a failure.
A good coaching relationship can be a key in helping anyone become more effective, stronger, more secure, and more helpful to others. It has been demonstrated that that good coaching in any field is a must in order to stay competitive and sharp. Sports figures, players, and artists all have coaches.
Coaches are different from teachers despite teaching is an important element of good coaching. Coaches work on helping an already successful person become more successful. In these lean, mean economic times, Executive Coaching is more necessary than ever because it can provide you a competitive edge.