John asks: I’m thinking about working with an Executive Coach. What criteria should I use to select the right coach for me?
Susan Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa responded:
No doubt, executive coaching is a powerful process for overcoming barriers to achieving your personal and organizational goals. The process is cumulative and builds over time through cycles of appreciation, observation, feedback, option generation, practice, problem solving and action. Developing rapport with your coach is important to the coaching process so selecting for chemistry, in addition to background experience, is key.
Your coach should both challenge and support you. As you interview a potential coach, consider the following:
- Is the coach creating a safe and confidential environment for me? Can I trust this person?
- Does he/she understand the issues? Is he/she credible?
- Is his/her approach sound? How will my progress be measured?
- Is his/her communication style compatible with mine?
Besides chemistry, also consider relevant industry knowledge, client successes, prior corporate experience, and education and certifications as they relate to your coaching goals. You’ll discover each coach offers a unique perspective based on the sum of their experiences, and this experience contributes significantly to the coaching process.
For additional perspectives on preparing for executive coaching, read the Mariposa article, When Bad Coaches Happen to Good People, and HBR’s blog post, Before Working with A Coach, Challenge Your Self-Assumptions.