The Point: It’s lonely at the top. Ask any CEO and s/he will confirm. As a CEO, you are supposed to know all the answers, and even the slightest mishap from your end can cause you to lose your position as the C-suite executive, no matter how hard you have worked to get there. This is why the CEO is in need of coaching and leadership advice. However, studies show that more than 60% of CEOs do not receive executive coaching. The trend needs to change. But how will you select the “right” executive coach to work with, and is there such a thing? The following are 10 ways in which you can find the best centered executive coach… Enjoy!
#10 Ask for A Test Drive
One way to find out if a person is fit for the executive coaching job is to ask for a walkthrough of the leadership development process via a test drive. This usually includes a starting point, identifying key issues to be addressed, and the goals to be achieved. The coach should be able to give you specific scientific (or a flavor) for how they employ methods that will be relevant to your situation.
#9 What Coaching Methodology?
This follows from the previous point. It should be clear from the onset what kind of feedback, tools, and methods will be used. A mark of a good coach is that they listen more than they speak in order to identify which areas of your CEO-persona are most in need of immediate improvement. Also important is to identify if they are able to suggest/explore the best in class strategy development to achieve such changes.
#8 Feedback – Coaching or Conversation?
Feedback is an integral part of executive coaching. Sometimes all a CEO needs is someone identifying their blind spots. Of course, the coach will help you in this respect, but they will start by gathering feedback of what the team members and board of directors think about you. This stakeholder input is crucial to engagement success, and long-term sustainment.
#7 More than a Sounding Board
All leaders need someone they can confide in and who can act as their sounding board. However, if that is all that your prospective coach is claiming to offer, it is better not to hire him. Put another way, you want more than just a 1-sided conversation to take place if you expect results (and you better expect results!)
#6 Confidential Information – To Share or Not To Share?
This is a no-brainer. The coach needs to ensure 100% confidentiality regarding what happens during the coaching session. Working with a coach that doesn’t guarantee confidentiality could be a potential career-threatening move. Keep in mind, in the event your organization is sponsoring the initiative, they will expect to get updates regarding your progress. Simply put though these “sharing moments” should be done at a high-level (think 30,000 feet!)
#5 Track Record of Success
All the above-mentioned factors are essential, but they amount to nothing if the coach cannot refer to successful clients serviced.
When selecting executive coaching services, always ask for testimonials of past (or even existing) clients. Most importantly, follow up with this cadre of clients to find out what they experienced positive, negative, and if they had to do over again if they would. This will show just how result oriented the coach really is.
This is an important point in leadership development. You should either hire the services of the coach on a personal basis, or use company funds under your discretionary control. If the coach is being paid by the organization, then you’ll need to ensure that loyalty and accountability lies with the organization as well as you as the leader (In our Centered Executive Coaching engagements where this is the case, we typically refer to this as a “triangular” relationship between coach, coachee, and sponsoring organization).
#2 Monitoring Progress
Only a genuine coach will explain to you strategies that will be used to measure improvement in your behavior during and after the coaching program is over. In our Centered Executive Coaching programs we typically initiate the sessions by structuring a dashboard of key performance indicators (KPIs) or important metrics to measure/review at periodic intervals throughout the engagement.
Finally and most importantly, make sure that you have the right chemistry with the coach you are hiring. Ideally, look for a coach that offers a complimentary session so that you can ensure that you are comfortable with the coach selected.
The CEO of today works alone. They may collect all the praises, but then they also get all the blame. Only a sound leadership coach can help them ensure long-term success, which is why it is essential to choose the best one.
If you’d like more information on Tip of the Spear’s Centered Executive Coaching offerings, please use the CONTACT US page of this website.