How to Choose an Executive Coach

Much has been made about the ROI of business coaching with most studies returning a 5-to-8 times return on investment, as well as numerous intangible benefits. Additionally, the stocks of companies that spend aggressively on employee development and training outperform those that do not, further evidence for the dollars and cents value of coaching and development.

However, it is worth noting that “coach” is not a protected term the same way that “psychologist”, “doctor” and others are. Inasmuch as anyone who wants to call him or herself a coach can, it’s wise to have a systematic way of vetting potential coaches before making the sizable investment (the average executive coach charges over $300/an hour).

Here are some tips for selecting a coach that can bring about some of the positive outcomes we discussed at the outset:

  • What Are Their Credentials? – If your would-be coach does not have advanced training, education or experience, keep looking.
  • Do You Click? – A good relationship is a better predictor of coaching outcomes than education or coaching philosophy. Nothing is more important than hitting it off when you meet a potential coach. If you can’t imagine spending time with them socially, look elsewhere.
  • Is There A Process? – Skilled coaches follow a process for assessing and developing talent. Sure, coaching is part art and science and being formulaic and stuffy is not the answer. However, neither is flying by the seat of your pants.
  • How Will They Exit? - Unethical coaches make a habit out of fostering dependency, ensuring that their services are needed indefinitely. Good coaches work with you to meet specific needs and then pack their bags.
  • What Are The Results? – Quality work always leaves a trail of results. Happy clients, improved performance metrics, and increased skills are all evidence that a coach has done her job. Ask your would-be coach what measurable results have occurred as a consequence of their previous engagements (and then fact check).

Whoever you decide to work with, I hope this guide to vetting potential coaches serves you well!




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