How to Choose A Personal Executive Coach

How to Choose A Personal Executive Coach

Things to Consider When Choosing a Personal Executive Coach


personal executive coach and business psychologist Paula GardnerIf you are picking a personal executive coach for yourself you may have a whole different set of criteria than if you are choosing one for your business or organisation. In this article I will take a look at what you should be looking for in both scenarios. In either case, it is often a significant investment and a decision that is best made with the head and the gut!

Choosing a personal executive coach for yourself

Deciding on a personal executive coach is an interesting decision. This is someone that you will need to trust. Someone with whom you have a sense of rapport but also someone who is going to challenge and stretch you.

It’s not easy to determine this, so here are my suggested steps for finding a personal executive coach who works for you.

  • Take the process seriously and yet don’t drag it out. While it makes sense to look at a number of personal executive coaches, I would advise you not to prolong the process indefinitely. Set yourself a deadline for making a decision and work towards that
  • Consider what it is that you want? Are you looking for a coach to stretch you or help you implement a new behaviour? Are you looking for a more existential approach, someone that can help you think through your current stage of life or a transition you are undergoing? Do you want someone who can help you think strategically or someone who can help you wrestle with a people issue. One coach could provide all of these, in theory, but you won’t know what you want unless you think it through and then communicate what it is you need
  • Speak to some coaches! Set up some phone calls with potential executive coaches to see if you are a good fit. Not all coaches will coach you on these introductory calls, often called discovery or clarity calls, so don’t expect to always get some coaching. What you do want to see, however, is someone that shows a curiosity combined with giving you space to say what you want to say.  A coach who asks questions is good but you don’t want to feel like this is an interrogation
  • Ask yourself if there is a feeling of rapport? This may not be full blown in 15 or 30 minutes, but you want to feel at least a glimmer
  • Do they really hear you? If you’re asking them to help you with transitioning to a new job and they’re pouncing on your relationship with your spouse, take pause. A good coach lets you explain what it is you need
  • Make sure to enquire about their fees, terms and conditions and ask yourself if you are happy with these
  • If you want more information, take a look at their website and LinkedIn profile and learn a little more about their approach, including their testimonials
  • Make a decision!

Choosing a personal executive coach for your organisation or business

If you’re choosing a personal executive coach for your organisation they may well be working with a number of different people so it’s hard to choose based on person to person fit. Here are some things to consider instead:

  • Do they have business experience? It doesn’t necessary have to be in your niche or sector, but someone who has never worked at a high level or owned their own business may not be right for you if they will be doing C-suite level or business coaching
  • Do they have a broad understanding of how organisations work? A background in corporate or a business or occupational psychology qualification for example?
  • Does your potential coach use psychometric tools? I use Saville Wave and DISC, for instance, to get a feel for my coachee’s strengths, behaviours and motivations
  • Do they seem collaborative and to value the organisation’s expectations and needs as well as those of their coachees?
  • Are they clear about boundaries and confidentiality?

The coaching relationship can be an extremely rewarding one as long there is clarity of expectations and needs, rapport, respect and a good fit for the job. I like to think I tick many of the boxes I’ve mentioned above. I am a business psychologist with extensive coaching experience eat all level and  knowledge of and qualified in psychometrics. As for the rapport, I’d like to invite you to book in for call with me by contacting me here.

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