Find Your Executive Coach Online Now
iring people is hard. You must advertise the position(s), conduct interviews, check references, confer with human resources and/or the hiring manager, and present an offer. Then you wait. If the candidate accepts, you begin another long, arduous process of paperwork, benefits, orientation and more.
Why is this important? Because this is the same amount of care and consideration that should go into the process to select an executive coach. You wouldn’t pick any person off the street to run your new e-commerce division, and you certainly shouldn’t choose a random, potentially underqualified executive coach to steer your career path.
Think about the last time you bought a car. You probably started the process by noticing ones you liked on the road. Once you had a few that you were interested in, you started to do some research online, weighing your options and forming what you believed would be a good fit for you. After that, you probably started to really shop, either looking at specific cars online or visiting the dealerships that carry the cars under consideration. All that, and you haven’t even bought the car yet!
The amount of care and consideration that should be taken into hiring an executive coach cannot be understated. Every day, we take an inordinate amount of time to hire people, buy cars or even choose what we’re going to eat for dinner. If ever there was a task that deserves a great deal of thought, it’s hiring an executive coach.
If you want to hire an executive coach, you’re in good company. Executive coaches have helped the likes of former president, Barack Obama, as well as leaders like Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. Then there are the hundreds of fortune 500 CEOs who have jumped on the coaching bandwagon, too. The point is, the greatest leaders of our time are getting coaches, so why not you?
Investing in an executive coach can be daunting, but it’s almost always money well spent. In a recent study, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that every dollar spent on executive coaching yields 7 dollars back in added employee value and performance. With returns like that, how can you not afford to hire an executive coach?
The opportunity for return is enticing, but makes choosing the right coach even more critical. Learn more about how coaches can help you, styles of coaching, what makes a great coach, and more to make the best decision for you.
Why Do You Need to Find an Executive Coach?
In the early days of executive coaching, clients typically engaged an executive coach because there was a problem. They were underperforming. They weren’t getting along with their team. They had stagnated, etc. These are all great reasons to get an executive coach, but they are by no means the only reasons to get one.
Don’t think of coaching as being a “quick fix” for areas that need improvement. Rather, it’s a means to develop areas that have yet to be honed, making needed improvements along the way. Here are a few reasons why you may need an executive coach, and how they can help.
This may be the most common type of coaching. It is specifically designed to target a negative behavior or behaviors and work with the client on overcoming the issue(s). To do this, executive coaches employ careful observation to identify the root cause of the issues. Then they engage their problem-solving abilities to creatively remediate to problem or problems.
This is an effective means to clean out what some may refer to as a “toxic” working environment. It helps isolate the cause of the toxicity and eliminates it, hopefully in such a way that it is unable to take hold again.
Every company, regardless of what it does, has at least one thing in common: its employees are its greatest asset. This asset must be treated with the utmost care and consideration, starting with their leadership. Quality leadership can make a company; poor leadership can break it.
Most executives work with a team of some kind, some directly, some indirectly. Executive coaches can provide the tools you need to lead your team with purpose and passion. Mastering effective leadership skills will enable you to maximize your team’s potential.
Middle management can also benefit from leadership coaching. (Hopefully) the goal is not to remain in middle management forever, and executive coaching that focuses on leadership is a great way to “train up” and prepare for the future.
Leadership training isn’t a once and done thing, either. It takes consistent, deliberate efforts to become and remain a great leader. The best leaders understand this and are constantly seeking opportunities to hone their craft.
It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting at the helm of the C-suite, or a groundling toiling in a cubicle – you are thinking about how you can advance your career (and you should be). What’s your next move? When and how will you get there? What is your endgame?
These are questions that every employee grapples with. Unfortunately, most of them lack the guidance of an executive coach to help them sort it all out. Executive coaches work with their clients to learn more about their ambitions, goals, strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, they can help you identify what, exactly, you are aiming for and create a reasonable plan for success.
Through this process, some may find that they’ve hit a dead end. They have reached a certain point in their career and see nowhere to go or find that it wasn’t what they were looking for in the first place. In these cases, executive coaches offer guidance and provide options, so clients can consider their next step. Some may choose to change careers completely, others may simply reinvent their positions and purpose within their current career track. Whatever they choose, their executive coach will arm them with a plan for success.
These plans aren’t full-proof, they take a lot of hard work, dedication and follow-through on the part of the client. However, creating a plan and setting reasonable goals for yourself is half the battle. When you know where you’re going, it’s much, much easier to get there.
Time Management and Balance
This is a growing sector of executive coaching. You’d be hard-pressed to find an executive who doesn’t want to spend more time with their family or thinks that they have a healthy work-life balance. In fact, a 2017 study conducted by the Boston College Center for Work & Family found that ALL working dads want more time with their children. What’s more is that 30 to 45 percent of those dads agreed that in their workplaces, it is assumed that the most productive employees are those who put their work before family life.
You don’t want to look back and wish you spent more time with your family, or more time enjoying life. Executive coaches have the tools to help you find balance in your life. This is something to take seriously because failing to establish much needed balance can have ripple effects over the course of your life.
If you work more than 55 hours a week, you are increasing your risk for coronary heart disease and stroke. You are 66 percent more likely to fall into depression and 74 percent more likely to experience anxiety. This is no way to live. An executive coach will show you the benefits of balance and give you the tools to maintain it.
At some point in your career, you will feel as though you’ve stalled or stagnated. It can be very discouraging, especially if you have a creative position that thrives on innovation and change. Don’t lose heart, this happens to everyone and can be remedied.
Executive coaches have the necessary tools and experience to root out whatever is holding you back, highlight your strengths and help you reach the next level. They can’t give you your vision back, but they can inspire you to get it in gear and shake the stagnation.
The coach acts as a sounding board and a mirror to shine a light on areas that are overlooked and identify areas that can be played up and enhanced to improve the client’s’ image.These could include physical changes to their appearance, awareness of body language, a change in how they verbally address the public and more.
For those seeking to learn from the personal experiences of someone successful, an executive coach can be that person who mentors and acts as a role model that the client can use as an example for their own progress and success.
Throughout the course of your career, you may find that you have an underutilized or underdeveloped skill. This could be anything from public speaking to sales management. Whatever it may be for you, an executive coach can help you develop that skill to be better utilized in your workplace.
Sometimes, businesses proactively do this with their employees by offering training or continuing education. From their perspective, it’s important to invest in their people, who are their greatest resource, to achieve maximum results.
What Coaching Models Are Available?
Just as there are many makes and models of cars, there are many models of executive coaching. These models vary depending on the coach, but by and large, they fall into a few main categories.
This model focuses on identifying solutions to specific problems. It works on the premise that the client has the capability to resolve their own issues. Executive coaches guide their clients to create reasonable solutions upon which they can follow through. This model works best for those with career or vision-related issues.
Behavioral Change Based
This model works by coaches observing client behaviors. The coach challenges and tests those behaviors to see how open the client is to change. This model works best for remedial issues, like changing stubborn habits, or image development.
Reason and Planning Based
This model works by learning more about the client’s perception of success, if they believe they have achieved it, and if not, how they think they can. This model works well for intellectual clients who aren’t afraid to objectively examine their performance.
This model works by the coach observing the client in various social settings to see how people adapt to and incorporate changes. This model works well for leadership-related issues and mentoring-style coaching relationships.
Which Coaching Model is Best for You?
Choosing a coaching model isn’t easy. There are many factors to consider, including:
- Your personality
- The personality of your coach
- The reason why you are being coached
Fortunately, choosing the right model is the coach’s responsibility, although you want to be sure to engage a coach who uses models with which you are comfortable. When you begin a coaching relationship, your coach will need to spend time to get to know you and your work. They will use their gift of observation to help you identify which coaching method will work best.
You will find that most good executive coaches employ a custom combination of coaching methods, depending on the client and their needs. There are almost never cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solutions to complex career quandaries. If your coach doesn’t get it quite right at first, do not be discouraged. These relationships change and evolve with time; the more they get to know you, the more accurate their methods will be.
Qualifications of Every Great Executive Coach
There are thousands of executive coaches around the world who have a wide variety of expertise, know-how and experience. The best of the best have a few things in common. Make sure your coach has these three qualifications before beginning a coaching relationship.
Your coach should have experience in your field. They should have spent a minimum of five years in the sector before becoming a coach. You will find that many coaches have retired from your field and have a great deal more than five years of experience.
If they don’t know anything about the sector in which you work, how can the create effective plans for success? Your coach needs to know how your business operates and how you operate within it. Familiarity with the work is essential.
Proven Track Record
Your executive coach should provide references. Check them and see if their previous clients would classify their investment (of time and money) as well-spent.
If possible, don’t use an executive coach who has less than five years’ experience in the coaching field. Your career is too important to be trifled with, and you’ don’t want to be anyone’s experiment.
There are many executive coaching certifications out there, but these are the most reputable:
- International Coaching Federation (ICF): This organization is widely regarded as the gold-standard of coaching. They are the only global certification program. If your coach has an ICF certification, you are in good hands.
- Center for Credentialing and Education: This is a US-based certification program. It does not have international renown but is a respectable certification that requires a great deal of time and effort to receive.
- European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC): This certification is particularly relevant in Europe. However, with this certification comes stringent education and quality expectations. An EMCC coach won’t disappoint.
How to Find Online Executive Coaching
Now that you know what you’re looking for, it should be pretty easy to find, right? Maybe. Finding a great coach is like finding the perfect car. You must do a lot of up-front research, but once you know what you’re looking for, it’s just a matter of finding it.
A great place to start is the executive coaching certification organizations (listed above). Each of them have an online executive coaching directory of their own certified coaches, most of which can be filtered by location, certification level and more. By starting here, you know that you are seeking the best possible coaches who are qualified to consult you on your career.
You can also start by checking the websites of one of several well-known firms that employ battle-tested executive coaches who are well-worth their salt. Here are the top coaching providers:
- Korn Ferry is one of the most well-known coaching firms, boasting high profile clients and claims to be the secret weapon for businesses and executives.
- Hay Group is a smaller organization with more than 60 years of experience and credibility among top executives.
If you are more comfortable seeking out options near you, use your favorite search engine to find executive coaches in your area. Know that the more flexibility you have with location, the more options you will have to find the best possible executive coach for you.
As you consider coaches and firms, start to see if there are any that have experience in your industry or specialize in areas in which you would like to improve. Once you’ve identified a few options, seek out references to learn more about the firm and the coach’s reputation. You may not be able to get a first-hand account without specifically asking for references (which you should do), but if you do your due diligence online you should be able to get a good idea of what the firm and coach are like.
Interviewing an Executive Coach
Schedule interviews with several coaches. It’s important to get a feel for what’s out there, for what coaching styles you believe would suit you and evaluate how your personalities mesh. You must ask them the tough questions before you hire them!
Prepare for the interview by creating a list of questions for the coach. You want to cover the same material in each interview, so you can adequately compare the candidates and make an educated decision. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Where did you go to college?
- What did you study?
- What is your highest achieved level of education?
- What certification(s) do you have?
- In what industries did you work before becoming a coach and for how long?
- How long have you been a coach?
- What is your preferred communication style?
- How often do you expect to communicate on the phone, by email and in-person?
- How do you help clients overcome obstacles?
- What is your preferred coaching method?
- Do you have references?
These are just a start and are by no means the only questions you should ask. Consider your coaching expectations and goals to come up with questions that are right for you.
Once the interviews are complete, check the references. There is no better indicator of quality than a first-hand experience. A previous client will give you the real scoop on your candidate, no matter how they represented themselves during the interview.
As you compare the candidates’ answers, you may begin to form follow-up questions or even have a front-runner in mind. A second interview shouldn’t be necessary, as you can address follow-up questions over the phone or through email.
Once you have all the information you’ve requested, all that’s left to do is to choose one.
Success With Executive Coaching
There are countless professionals who credit their success with a great coaching experience. When you choose the right coach, you can form a strong partnership that yields results. One such partnership was formed between the president of a business unit of a Fortune 150 company and a coach from Bates, a leading executive coaching and consultancy firm.
In this case, the president retained the coach to help improve his presence and communication skills, but little did he know that his position was headed for some serious change. Not long after coaching began, this client was asked to take on another international business unit. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but in this case, the company as a whole was undergoing some radical change that included new strategic initiatives and intense demands from clients.
In order to succeed, the client had to rally the troops and create a transition plan, all the while maintaining day-to-day operations of the business sector for which they were responsible. This is where the coach stepped in. The executive coach helped the client create a manageable 90-day transition plan and streamlined communications to make the change as smooth as possible. In the process, the coach taught the client a new style of communication, one that would be more effective in the new role.
Unbeknownst to the client, the coach was engaged on the cusp of a sink-or-swim moment. The client was already struggling to communicate, but with the added international responsibilities, their performance was vulnerable and could have negatively impacted the business at a time of turbulence. Fortunately, as a result of the sound coaching, the president not only survived this transition but thrived.
Executive coaching can make or break your career. It could be the difference between reaching the C-suite or remaining in a cubicle, and no one wants to stay in a cubicle. Selecting the right coach is a daunting task, but one that’s well worth the work.
But finding a coach is just the beginning. Once you’ve committed, you are starting an incredible journey of self-discovery and transformation that could lead you to unimaginable success. The commitment you make to finding the right coach should be the same commitment that carries you through the coaching process. The more you commit to coaching, the better your results will be.
Choosing an executive coach isn’t easy. Selecting a coach, when done properly, is a long, arduous process that takes a great deal of effort and patience. You may not find the right coach right away, and that’s OK. You’re better off waiting for the perfect coach to come along than settling for someone who can only offer subpar results. You deserve better than sub-par. Take control of your career and start your executive coaching journey today.
Business services firm based in London that offers executive coaching.
Leading executive coaching and consultancy firm.
Boston College Center for Work and Family
Educational organization that examines the impacts of career on family life.
Center for Credentialing and Education
Executive coaching certification organization.
European Mentoring and Coaching Council
Executive coaching certification organization.
Industry-leading business magazine that covers markets, economy and financial trends.
Executive coaching firm that is a subsidiary of Korn Ferry.
International Coaching Federation
Executive coaching certification organization.
Personnel Decisions International
Top executive coaching firm based in Colorado.
Small Business Trends
Online resource for small businesses.
Towers Watson HR Consulting
Human resources firm that offers executive coaching services.