Working with an Executive Coach
By: Susan Ruhl
Working With an Executive Coach
Sometimes in life, we are lucky enough to be provided with an Executive Coach. What a wonderful compliment for a company to invest in your success within the organization. Working with an Executive Coach is an investment that will hold you in good stead throughout your career, provided that you choose your coach wisely.
Executive coaching is a tool and it can be an excellent and practical part of your overall plan to achieve great success. For coaching to be effective, you must strive to find a coach partner who is a good “fit” for you personally, and who will drive you to accomplish your goals. Look for a coach with a combination of likeability and trust, coupled with rigor and objectivity to help you grow. Remember, while your partnership with the right coach is critical to the plan, the results of your plan will only be as strong as your commitment to executing it for exceptional outcomes. The coach can help guide you and hold you accountable. When you select mentor wisely, you can accomplish remarkable results.
Ideally, you will have an opportunity to interview two to three coaches to gauge your chemistry. Asking questions consistently amongst all coaches allows you to compare apples to apples as much as possible. Focus on the following areas to gain insight into the strengths that your new coach will bring to the relationship.
Ask about methodology. What is the typical process used? Will they interview others (e.g., collect 360 degree feedback)? What other instruments or assessments will they use? What kinds of questions do they ask?
Discuss expectations, roles/responsibilities, accountabilities, etc. The coach should be able to discuss action planning, respective roles in the process, confidentiality, overall expectations, ways to monitor progress, establishing rapport, building trust, and partnering with others in the organization (while respecting the confidentiality of the relationship).
Ask probing questions of your prospective coach during the interview/selection process. Some examples include:
- Describe your coaching methodology (e.g., look for process, tools, philosophy, time commitment, resources, availability and accessibility beyond the actual meetings, etc.).
- How would your clients describe your coaching style?
- Tell me about a coaching success story. What made it a success?
- Tell me about a coaching situation that wasn’t as successful? Why wasn’t it successful?
Professional executive coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help you produce fulfilling results in your professional life. Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to your unique needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from you, providing support to enhance the skills, resources and creativity you know you already have. Ultimately, coaches help you improve your performance and enhance the quality of your work life. When you engage in a coaching partnership, you can expect to experience fresh perspectives on professional and personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, improved interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out your chosen work and life roles. When you commit to enhancing your personal effectiveness with the help of a professional coach, you can also expect to see appreciable results in the areas of productivity, personal satisfaction with life and work, and the achievement of personally relevant goals.