While Executive Coaching is generally seen as a positive thing for upper level management as they work through the challenges of their leadership position and create appropriate strategies to move their team the next level, there is still can be stigma about hiring a coach among certain groups.
“So what kind of people use your coaching services?” It’s a question I hear from curious onlookers, family members and even coaching students. I would say it is a valid question and that a thoughtful answer helps both individuals looking to become a coach as well as executives who are considering hiring one.
Some people think the coaches are there to “fix the broken,” while others see it as a status symbol for the elite. While both of these can be true, coaching is so much more than both of these assumptions. So how do you know if you or someone in your organization should hire an executive coach? Here is a litmus test to consider.
- Is the performance of the individual you are considering hiring a coach for important to your organization? One of the goals of executive coaching is to give key individuals within your organization the tools they need to lead effectively. This typically means management and C-level executives. Individuals at this level within an organization have a lot of balls in the air. An executive coach can be an invaluable tool in helping them to realize the things that might be blocking their success and give them workable steps to reach their goals.
- Does the person hiring the coach really want to be “coached?” Even if the coach is highly talented and motivating, even if they have first rate listening skills and provide valuable insight, if a person does not want to be coached, the coaching conversations will be highly ineffective. Like and athletic coach who provides workout plans and game strategies, all of this work is in vain if the athlete does not want to follow the prescribed coaching protocols.
- Is the organization willing to support change? Similar to a coachee who does not want coaching, if an organization is not willing to implement the next steps to move forward coaching is probably not a good idea.
- Are you looking for a quick fix? Coaches are not magicians who can wave a wand and make everything better. Before entering into a coaching relationship, it is important to remember that much like a marriage, the best results come from long-term efforts that are based on open communication and trust. Additionally, the role of the coach is to support and help guide the client as they do the work of reaching their goals.
- Are you ready to hear what a coach has to tell you? The best clients are open-minded to what the executive coach has to tell them. A good coach is not afraid to say the hard stuff. They are not your friend. They are your coach…and as such, they must be willing to tell you what needs to change…a successful client must be willing accept this move forward.
In the end, an executive coaching relationship is potentially one of the hardest but rewarding aspects of a business leader’s career. It should cause them to question their processes, assess their motivations and make changes when necessary. Like an excellent athletic coach who produces championship teams and athletes, a good executive coach will spur the leader on towards success.
Do you have questions about the coach/client relationship? Give us a call, we’d be happy to discuss it further!