It's amazing how many people out there have attached "coach" to their signature line, but when you talk to them, you realize they really don't know much about bona fide coaching. If you are looking for a good executive coach, there are 5 things to be aware of:
1. All coaches are not equal- or alike.
There are a variety of coaching specialty focus areas: high level executives, millennials, leadership, strategy, group coaching, even coaching for organizational troublemakers. If a coach tells you he or she can do it all, then you may want to hang up the phone and look elsewhere.
2. There are vastly different schools of thought in coaching.
If you ask coaches about their certification, you are likely to get odd looks. Do it anyway. Some will tell you that they were in business for 20 years and now they coach people, which means they haven't really gotten a full coaching education. Others will share their formal education and certification through bodies like International Coaches Federation ICF), Coaches Training Institute (CTI), or John Maxwell. All of these schools of thought approach the client in unique ways. For example, CTI teaches that the coaching relationship is co-active; the coach doesn't tell the client what to do, but is more of a guide and a thought provoker. Many business coaches have a preference for prescriptive advice based on their own experience.
3. Fit is important.
It's important to screen coaches for a good personal and business fit. Ask them to give you a test run of how they would coach you on a particular issue so you can understand their style. Not everyone gels together, and a true professional coach will recognize this fact. If you are talking to a potential coach and you feel uncomfortable with them or you hear them talk about things that don't align with your values, then you will be better off continuing your search.
The School of Executive Presence Mastermind Program is a good example of where there's a team of coaches with diverse backgrounds who are matched to participants. They are screened through an assessment process and matched together based on their goals, backgrounds, and personality.
4. Coaches don't make you change- YOU DO.
If you are looking for someone to fix you and give you all the answers, then coaching isn't going to be very effective for you in the long run. A true coach is going to challenge you, guide you, and present different ways of thinking. If the coach is doing more work than you, coming up with all the ideas, and basically has you like a puppet on strings, then you'll be less inclined to take ownership of the results.
5. The best coaches help you focus on 1-2 big rocks to accomplish.
Realistically, behavioral change takes months to achieve when you work at it consistently. Anyone who pushes you to have a boatload of goals is setting you up for failure. An experienced coach will sit down with you, do some exploring, then co-create an actionable plan with you. Big rocks are the goals that you absolutely need to accomplish, no matter what. Like Stephen Covey says, "if you don't accomplish these, then nothing else really matters."
One more nugget for you: I have personally found that the best coaches have a coach for themselves. When you believe in the value of coaching, you invest in it and there is a huge return. Ask your coach if they utilize a coach. If they say no, you may want to move on to someone else who stays current and fresh within their own industry.
I invite your comments, additions, and feedback.
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Executive Presence Coach and Founder of The School of Executive Presence, Angela Nuttle, is coming to Washington DC and Indianapolis in October to lead the Executive Presence Bootcamp!
What is the Executive Presence Bootcamp?
A 2-day intensive retreat style development experience where "inside out" foundational executive presence is taught, how to build your visibility success blueprint, social agility in meetings, and executive presentation. Participants will get individualized assessment and coaching during the workshop. The upcoming executive presence seminar is happening in Washington DC (October 20 and 21) and in Indianapolis(October 27 & 28). Click here to learn more and register.
Angela also does some 1:1 coaching, but does most of her formal coaching through The School of Executive Presence Mastermind Program and The Virtual Coaching Programs. You can learn more about those programs, which are now taking applications for the 2017 programs, by visiting here.
Angela Nuttle is an author, speaker, talent remodeler®, and consultant in talent and organizational development. As founder of The School of Executive Presence™, she teaches business people how to show up with executive presence and coaches them to business success. She also works directly with CEOS, Business Leaders, and HR Teams to develop people, potential, and processes that create productive and profitable business environments.