Having an executive coach is a huge investment of time and money. As with many things, however, people want quick, fast, and cheap. Good coaches are none of these things, even though we are sometimes led to believe that.
Before you read any further, it should be said I am biased. I earned my M.Div., MSW, and had lengthy, rigorous internships focused on human behavior and relationship dynamics. I practiced as a psychotherapist for several years before working in corporate America for seven years. I have been serving my clients as a well-trained, transformative executive coach for nearly twenty years. And so, I am not one to encourage anything but the best when it comes to the pursuit of finding the right executive coach.
These are some rules of the road:
When you choose an individual executive coach or a team coach, make sure you choose one that will give you a substantial ROI and an experience that will be transformative. Consider these four tips as you make your selection:
I recently received a call from the Chairman of a Board of Directors. Their CEO was unravelling, was emotionally unstable complete with explosive anger, and had been creating chaos for a long time. Based on what they were describing I felt very concerned. Within the first few minutes of the conversation, I hit the pause button and asked one question, “Has this person suffered any personal, childhood trauma that you know of? They sound like they are suffering from a possible borderline personality disorder.”
Without my clinical training I would not have been able to ask that question. The organization said they had other coaches that never had asked that question and that none of them worked out. Of course, not! In this particular situation, with the deep challenges associated with this CEO’s personality, Moses himself would not have been successful.
As a result, of the conversation I had with select members of the Board they decided to go a different route with the CEO: a route that would provide the appropriate psychological and psychiatric resources.
By all means pick someone with whom you feel comfortable and have good chemistry. This is critically important – just make sure that the other four tips above are explored as part of the conversation with the coach you are considering.