When it comes to solving the immense challenges that are an inherent part of any executive role, hiring the right executive coach—one that provides a clear pathway that matches your needs you – can really take your game to the next level.
Every elite professional and leading executive on the planet leans on a coach to cultivate constant improvement.
Having spent so much time in elite sport where having a coach is the norm I’m a little surprised when I hear executives say “nah, mate—I don’t need a coach.” Really?
The problem for executives and professional leaders is not that you need one it is actually how to find the right one.
Whether you’re combing through LinkedIn or just doing a general Google search, there’s no shortage of options—all of which claim they can help you “reach your ultimate potential” or “transform your career forever.”
And when you start meeting them, you’ll notice they all invariably claim to have the perfect solution for your pain-point.
There’s no doubt that most coaches will help you cultivate some improvement, but the type of “transformative change” they many promote in their pitch is rare.
Generating those kinds of results requires a special kind of coach—one who meshes well with you and your vision of the future.
That means you’ll need to be careful, disciplined, and patient in the hiring process.
You’ll need to avoid mistakes.
To help ensure you hire the very best executive coach you can, here are the 6 biggest mistakes to avoid.
1. Not treating the hiring process as a mission-critical activity
Does your favourite team hire a head coach without putting an enormous amount of effort into the process?
Would Jason Day choose a swing coach on a whim?
We all know the right coach can make all the difference.
By taking the hiring process seriously, you increase your likelihood of securing a coach capable driving the results you’ve been envisioning.
2. Not matching the skills of coach to your development area
A lot of coaching engagements get off on the wrong foot because executives assume any coach with a good track record and positive testimonials will do.
For example, if your Achilles Heel as an executive is in the area of understanding corporate finance, why are you hiring a coach with a background in psychology?
While most coaches will tell you they can solve any issue, the reality is they can’t. That’s why it’s so important to start every conversation by asking potential coaches to explain their processes and specialities.
See how those processes and specialities align with your development areas, desired outcomes, and ideal timelines.
3. Not insisting on a sample first coaching session
As part of the interview process, ask coaches for an abbreviated first coaching session for free so you can experience how they operate firsthand. It will help you see how tight their processes are, what systems they use, and if they can actually get you some immediate improvement.
4. Not meeting more than one coach
A lot of coaching engagements kick-off after just one meeting.
You have coffee with the potential coach, like the fit, and “don’t have time” to meet any other candidates.
Any good coach can cultivate a connection over coffee—you need more than a connection, you need results.
Raise the bar and insist on meeting at least three coaches before making any decisions.
5. Checking referrals without specificity
Positive, word-of-mouth referrals from peers often end up being the only element executives examine in selecting a coach.
They ask questions like, “Is Cam Jones a good coach?” To which they get the obvious answer.
Instead of asking if Cam Jones is a great coach, get specific:
“I need to develop my understanding of financial statements and be better at managing the numbers of my department. Do you think Cam Jones would be a good fit for that?”
Have something you’d like to see on this list, or have follow-up questions?
Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.