When a leader or manager is considering using an executive coach, Marilyn O'Hearne, Master Certified Coach in the Kansas City metro area, said that person should at a minimum:
- Make sure the coach is certified and subscribes to a code of ethics.
- Ask for referrals about the coaches you are evaluating.
- Read testimonials on websites and on LinkedIn about the coaches.
- Have an introductory, no-obligation phone conversation with the prospective coaches.
- Discuss with the prospective coaches their experience and training.
O'Hearne started executive coaching in 1998 and served as one of the Vice Presidents of the Board of Directors of the International Coach Federation, which has over 15,000 members in 92 countries.
"Coaching will benefit any executive who wants to become a more effective leader," said O'Hearne. "Especially useful times to engage a coach are when a leader is moving or preparing to move into a new executive position, and when there is a merger or other cultural change," she added.
O'Hearne said she also finds many leaders struggle with setting aside time to focus on their vision when there are so many other people and circumstances vying for their attention. That's another time when coaches can help those leaders clear the needed time to hone their focus.
Executive coaching can also be useful for someone during a career change. "It can help to clarify their vision, mission, purpose, values and strengths," said O'Hearne. "A coach can support and encourage a person making a career change and can help them co-develop an action plan."
O'Hearne's favorite leadership books are:
- All those written by Patrick Lencioni and John Maxwell, such as those found on the list of the favorite leadership books by a group of Keller Graduate School of Management members of the professional social media website LinkedIn.
When working with an executive coach, O'Hearne recommends the person commit to a minimum of three months and ideally should devote six to 12 months to achieve the maximum benefit.
Her favorite type of executives with whom to work is those who are willing to take responsibility and then own results, and those who work in organizations that value service and sustainability.