Career coach – Executive coaching

Q As an HR manager, I know that working with an executive coach could lead to improvements in my performance as well as my career. But there are thousands of coaches in the UK to choose from. How can I make sure that I find the right person for my needs?

A Before you look for a coach, it’s important to be clear about what you want from the process. What is it that you or your organisation are ultimately trying to achieve? How would you like to be feeling in an organisational context?

Once you are clear about the outcomes required, you will need to look for a coach who is capable of getting you there. However, sometimes people don’t know specifically what they want. This is normal. It just means that you want a coach who is happy to spend some time helping you to explore your needs and who is comfortable to go with the flow.

To select the right coach, you need to understand the types of coaching on offer. Are you happy to have the number of sessions defined in advance or would you rather it was open-ended? Would you insist on face-to-face coaching as opposed to over the telephone? Do you want to be able to contact your coach in between sessions? Does it make a difference whether the coach is male or female?

Also, do you want a coach for a specific issue or do you want to explore the wider issue of ‘who am I?’. For example, ‘transformational coaching’ aims to help people develop a deep sense of self-awareness. During this type of coaching, people will gain a better understanding of their values and the deeply held limiting beliefs that impact on how they behave. Many coaches and coaching organisations are not comfortable offering this type of holistic coaching, but it may be useful for you to know that it exists and that it can be applied in both a personal and business context with great results.

When you have shortlisted a coach, it’s also important to check your first feelings when you interact with them. Good rapport and trust are essential for good coaching. A coach is there to listen and to provide you with a safe space to explore your deepest desires and vulnerabilities to help you find different ways of thinking and new solutions and possibilities.

Ask whether they have achieved results with the type of situation that you or your organisation is dealing with. Ask about the nature and rigour of their training and whether they are accredited.

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