Selecting the Right Executive Coach
Choosing the right coach for an executive—and one who's also a good fit for your organization—can be tricky. The question is, what selection criteria are relevant? As you evaluate prospective coaches, here are a few things to consider.
- Make sure the coach can see the executive, her position, and the organization from multiple perspectives—not just through the narrow lens of one methodology.
- Determine whether the coach can maintain an objective perspective, free of preexisting personal or emotional ties with the executive or organization.
- Confirm that the coach has the capacity to appreciate the complexity of your organizational structure and culture.
- See if the coach helps executives to develop short-, medium-, and long-term change strategies and to distinguish between low- and high-leverage changes.
- Make sure the coach doesn't have the tendency to become executives' new best friend.
- Establish that the coach has the organization and executive's agendas firmly in mind—not his own.
- Make sure the coach doesn't act like a psychotherapist. She isn't there to deal with domestic relationships, analyze someone's past, or heal deep-rooted emotional issues.
- Verify that the coach doesn't tend to create dependency. Good coaches support and encourage, but they also must challenge executives.
Above all, remember that executive coaching is part of an overall organizational development plan. That means the coach must keep an eye on the big picture and the endgame. It certainly helps if she or he has expertise in business, organizational development, and strategic management in addition to behavioral science training.