4 Ways To Make Your Executive Coaching Experience More Successful

If you are a leader already engaging with an executive coach, or contemplating engaging one, here are four ways to make  your coaching experience a success, as reported in a relatively recent issue of Fortune magazine:

  1. Find the right match.  Find someone to push and challenge you.  To encourage you and to hold you accountable.  Be sure the person you engage with is a person you can trust and can talk to easily.
  2. Be aware of your company's expectations.  If your boss hired the coach to work with you, make sure your boss, and your boss's boss, share their expectations and hoped-for outcomes with you.  Then, make sure your coach knows that those things belong at the top of your goals list.
  3. Get your money's worth.  Work with your coach on issues or questions that have a direct correlation to success in your job. 
  4. Be sure your coach sees you in action.  Allow your coach to observe you interacting with your peers or direct reports.  This also gives your colleagues a sense that you're seen as valuable and promotable.  And, it shows them that you're working on improving yourself.


  1. Hi

    As a professional and certified executive coach (www.coaching-executive.co.uk), I think this is a good "starter for ten" when considering an executive coach.

    Before I became a certified coach, I had two executive coaches, paid for by my employers.

    They were okay. Just okay. I didn't feel a particular rapport with them, but I did feel comfortable in opening up to them and sharing my views & dilemmas with them.

    After becoming a certified coach, I looked around for another certified executive coach to act as my coaching supervisor, and my experience with him was a completely different. He was somebody I immediately connected with, a definitive rapport, somebody on my wavelength. This helped me actually look forward to my coaching sessions and also more easily accept his challenges and prompts.

    I also agree with the second point, as its a difficult balancing act for any executive coach. They have to balance up the nature of the coaching contract (usually agreed with the company) and the coachee's need and topic of coaching. Mostly the two are indistinguishable. But sometimes there is clearly a disconnect, where the employer is looking for something that no matter the amount of coaching, will deliver. Sometimes they are hoping that some coaching will sort out a disgruntled employee, or that they will work out that this is not the best place for them to work. I guess this really depends upon who is making the request for coaching. If the coachee is asking for coaching from the company, then this is extremely relevant.

    I would also agree on the third area, but actually sometimes a coach is needed to work out what I needed a coach for! I had a client once who after three sessions I thought was wasting his time with coaching, depiste a very strong rapport. I sensed there was something else bugging him that he wanted to discuss but never could. A few months after our last coaching session, he called me to ask for some more sessions. I highlighted to him what my intuition was telling me and he immediately sighed with relief as he had been bottling something up for a long time that he couldn't quite work out how to express and was looking for a coach to help him express his feelings, so that he in turn could work through those feelings with a coach.

    The fourth point, in my mind, could be dangerous. As much as I wish it wasn't (and it certainly isn't the way I approach it), coaching can sometimes be seen as a form of therapy or intervention to correct inappropriate behaviour(especially in the UK althought that is changing). Also what message does it send to the wider workforce if only some employees are receiving coaching and others are not. I would recommend that coaching is only done in confidentiality and that both the organisation and the coachee consider any "public displays" of coaching before going public. By all means, the coach can accompany the coachee in their work, but they don't always need to be indentified as their coach.

    I would also add to the list that you should seek out a certified and qualified coach from a strong academic institution. Ideally any coach you consider should have a broad understanding of the psychological basis of coaching and has a solid reputation, a level of supervision and also professional indemnity. These factors help to highlight those who take coaching seriously and have invested in their skills, so you can be assured of getting great value for money.


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