While having an executive coach used to be a luxury reserved only for the wealthy, these days professional assistance is virtually a necessity for those who want to maximize their career success. At the same time, however, practically anyone can hang out a shingle and call himself or herself a coach. With all of the self-proclaimed coaches out there, how do you know where to start?
If you’ve been thinking about getting an executive coach for yourself, it can be downright daunting to figure out how to get the best coach to help you succeed.
Luckily, I have some tips to help you to determine if you can benefit from coaching and how to pick an executive coach who is the right fit for you. Check out this video, or if you prefer, read on for some important considerations:
You can benefit from coaching if you:
- want a better understanding of your talents and areas for growth. Armed with this knowledge, you can make sure you pursue job opportunities that hit your “sweet spot” in terms of strengths, while also working to improve any areas of growth you possess.
- are under-performing relative to your potential. A coach can help you deal with obstacles that may be getting in the way of your advancement, such as style issues, confidence issues, assertiveness issues, skill deficits, for example.
- need to strengthen your leadership skills so you can coach and inspire people to achieve better results.
- are doing well in your current job, but know you need to develop additional skills to be able to advance to the next level.
- are dissatisfied with your career and want to explore their options. A coach can help you find more meaning in your current role. Alternatively, a coach can help you find other careers for which you are more well-suited based on your skills, personality, and interests.
Advantages of hiring a coach:
- A well-qualified coach can become a confidante and sounding board to you. A coaching session can provide an opportunity to brainstorm, experiment with approaches, and gain feedback in a supportive environment. A coach will encourage you to stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone to maximize your growth.
- Sometimes we can become blinded by our current organizational culture or way of doing things. A good coach has broad business experience, and as a result, can give you insights based on her experience with other companies.
- A coach can provide an objective ear and a forum to talk about issues that might not be comfortable to discuss with your boss or colleagues.
- A coach can help you clarify your goals and the required action steps to achieve them. She can also provide greater accountability to act on your goals, since you know you will have to report back about your progress.
- Most importantly, research shows that a coach can help you achieve greater performance.
Qualities to look for in a coach:
- One of the most important qualities to look for in a coach is someone with whom you have a strong relationship. In an initial consultation with the coach, pay attention to your rapport and level of comfort with that person. Does she listen? Do you feel that you can talk with her? Does she have empathy? A good coach will enable you to feel comfortable, while also being willing to challenge you.
- Consider your coach’s qualifications. What experience does he have working with similar clients? What is his educational background? Does he seem to know his stuff? Even if your coach is the nicest person in the world, if he does not have appropriate credentials, there may be limits to how much he can\ help you.
- This might seem obvious, but is important to work with a coach who has experience with business. Many people will call themselves coaches, but unless they have experience in the business world, they may not have adequate context to maximize the effectiveness of your work together.
- It is also important to look for a coach who uses data. As individuals, we all have our own perceptions of issues, but they can sometimes be skewed by our outlooks. If a coach is relying entirely on your view of the world, she might not be getting the full story (through no fault of your own – we all have blind spots). The more data the coach can bring to bear, the greater the odds are that she is getting a more well-rounded view of what is truly going on.
Think you might be interested in getting an executive coach? Click here for more information about my coaching services.
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