Top 10 tips on choosing an executive coach

HR professionals are frequently being asked by senior management colleagues to source an executive coach or a selection of suitably vetted coaches from which they can choose, says Martyn Melvin, executive coach at consultancy Purple House.

This is great news for HR, because in the past directors will have often gone out and chosen their own coach and perhaps none too scientifically at that. Being involved in the selection process also reinforces the role that HR should play in the development of talent management in the organisation and gives them a greater opportunity to raise the standards of coaching.

But with this opportunity comes responsibility and the challenge of how to develop a process that is both responsive and relevant to the company.

Here are my top 10 tips for recruiting an executive coach that will be best for you.

1. Ask your trusted contacts and network for referrals of good potential coaches.



2. Interview them to find how they work and what level of employee they work with best.



3. Aim to create a pool of great coaches from which you can match the most appropriate to each coachee.



4. Look for coaches that are flexible in their approach, not rigidly tied into one or two methodologies or ways of working.



5. Make sure they follow an ethical coaching code and establish a “coaching contract” with each assignment and always set objectives for their sessions. The key is to measure the impact of coaching by defining the position at the outcome and reviewing after the coaching intervention.



6. Look for a coach with an enthusiastic, positive attitude, someone who can inspire confidence and is well qualified in coaching techniques and models.



7. When you have selected your shortlist take out references from their previous coachees or other companies they have worked for.



8. Ask them to meet the coachees and demonstrate their coaching skills by picking an issue to discuss for 10 minutes – this will show the coachee how they might be able to work together – or not.



9. Explore with your potential coaches the range of issues they have coached on and areas of strength and weakness to you help match with the coachees.



10. Listen to the coachee and let them have a big part in the selection as the chemistry between the two is vital to its success.



If you follow these tips then you will have established a good rigorous system to decide which coach is right for you to use. But don’t leave it there; make sure you find a range of coaches with a varied mix of experience and approaches that will fit your requirements. Don’t forget to keep in touch with them and keep your list under review.

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