March 2019

Selecting the Best Coach

Bob Young

The field of executive coaching has few barriers to entry, and it has seen an influx of service professionals marketing themselves as executive “coaches.” This surge of providers has led to tremendous variability in credentialing, assessment techniques, scope, length, quality of service, and expected outcomes. As a result, organizations seeking executive coaching services are confronted with complexity and confusion when selecting a coach.

To help organizations make well-informed decisions on executive coaching services, we strongly recommend selecting coaches with:

  • In-depth training and practical understanding of the complexities of human behavior, organizational dynamics, and business realities.
  • Knowledge of learning theories, change management principles, and the operating dynamics present within organizations like to your own.
  • In-depth assessment training, skills, and experience using objective measures of cognitive ability, personality traits, and motivations/values.
  • Experience and established reputation for offering effective assessment and consultative experience within your own organization or organizations of a similar industry, marketplace, and size.
  • Understanding and experience properly using feedback and performance measurement methods such as 360-degree surveys, interview data, and various business performance/outcome measures.
  • Experience developing and implementing specific, measurable, and practical leadership development plans.
  • Adherence to a professional ethics/integrity code of conduct that governs their coaching and organizational consulting practice.
  • Strong interpersonal skills including listening, confronting, challenging offering constructive feedback, warmth, rapport, and straightforward communication.
  • A focus on delivering results which tightly align with the organization’s desired business strategies and objectives.
  • An understanding of the importance of involving critical stakeholders including the participant, manager, human resource professionals, and internal mentors.

Client organizations we consult with share the view that developing leaders is one of the most critical factors in driving business success and growth. For them, connecting leaders to qualified external executive coaches has been shown to be a powerful method of accelerating their leadership development and equipping them to effectively handle the ever-changing business climate. Practically speaking, having clear selection criteria in place for executive coaches is viewed as a determining factor in the organization’s ability to achieve a positive return on their investment from executive coaching programs.

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