In times of recession, companies must do more with less. Providing executive coaches to high-potential performers is one way to get the most from untapped talent.
Unfortunately, many executives select a coach based on referrals from colleagues, without adequately considering personal needs. The person sponsoring the engagement usually sends a few coaches for interviews and asks the executive to select one based on “fit.”
But without a greater understanding of what happens in a coaching relationship, it’s difficult to make a fair assessment and pick a good match.
In Your Executive Coaching Solution (Davies-Black, 2007), Joan Kofodimos says a coach should achieve most of the following:
1. Pick for Support and Ability to Challenge
You’re more likely to open up to a coach who creates a safe, confidential environment. Coaches accomplish this in part by demonstrating they understand and respect your interests, values and concerns. But coaches must also provide challenges that motivate you to perform beyond your habitual behaviors; confront you directly, yet nonjudgmentally, with the impact of your actions; and probe the motives and assumptions underlying your behaviors.
Using the Coaching Relationship
The way you select your coach is significant. Do you see the coach as a subordinate? A vendor or outside consultant? An authority figure whose primary relationship is with your boss? How do gender, race or other personal characteristics influence the way you interact with your coach? Pick a coach who can raise issues impartially and show you how your behaviors affect others.
2. Pick for Feedback Loops
Your peers will rarely share authentic feedback with you, and a skilled coach can solicit important information in a way that satisfies confidentiality requirements.
Your coach should help you develop the skills needed to create relationships in which you can ask for honest feedback on an ongoing basis.
Instead of encouraging dependence, your coach should teach you how to manage your development in the future. After an initial assessment, a good coach shows you how to form links with colleagues and teaches them how to frame useful, specific feedback instead of vague judgments.
Your coach will teach you to ask for feedback and manage the conversation without being defensive. This includes learning how to determine which feedback is relevant and valid, prioritize the issues you need to address and figure out how to handle them.
3. Pick for Clarifying Values and Purpose
Skilled coaches help you clarify your developmental, career and life goals. They should also teach you how to sort out your needs, wants, concerns and boundaries in any particular situation, which allows you to become more comfortable and act more consistently when completing goals, even in complex circumstances.
4. Pick for Structuring the Development Process
Your coach must help you manage each step of the coaching project:
5. Pick for Broadening Perspective
Your coach should help you break free of any limiting beliefs and assumptions. A significant shift in perspective can occur when your coach:
6. Pick for Teaching New Concepts and Skills
7. Pick for Confidentiality
Your coach must effectively navigate risky waters filled with sensitive, confidential information. Because a coach may be engaged with several members of the same organization or team, it’s vital to respect boundaries and maintain confidentiality.
8. Pick for Influencing Others’ Views of You
Coaches help your colleagues notice the changes you make, invite them to become involved in your development and possibly change their behavior in relation to you. A qualified, e’perienced coach can influence others’ views by:
Roles a Coach Should Not Play
A good coach will consciously avoid roles that hinder your ability to take independent action:
Beware of deciding upon the look and feel of a good fit. Be sure to balance feeling comfortable with the person against your need to be challenged as you grow. You must believe a coach can help you change.
As your coach, I provide challenges that motivate you to perform beyond your habitual behaviors;
confront you directly, yet nonjudgmentally, with the impact of your actions; and probe the motives
and assumptions underlying your behaviors.
You deserve more in your life, and you can start going for it today! I have a few spots available for May coaching.
Call me right now.