Internal or External Executive Coach?

Which makes the most sense?  On Monday the blog post explored the pros and cons of an internal executive coach plus the process for arranging it.  Today’s post focuses on an external executive coach.

Start with considering the pros and cons of an external executive coach.


  • Offers different perspective because experience is external
  • Ability to talk about everyone and everything without internal political implications
  • Coaching expertise is highly developed because that is their focus


  • Fees for service come out of the budget
  • Scheduling time is more formalized
  • Additional time may be spent on explaining relationships and logistics

How will you source an external executive coach?  There may be coaches the company has used previously, recommendations from colleagues of the coachee, or tap a referral service such as or  When choosing an executive coach, consider their training, experience, coaching competence, and their ability to serve as an effective sounding board and provide perspective.

The agreement for coaching services may be done between the executive coach and the coachee who pays using a company credit card or expense account.  Often there is an agreement between the executive coach and the company plus and agreement between the executive coach and the coachee.  Address what information is reported to the company and what is confidential before coaching begins.  The level of confidentiality is important to ensure the coachee is able to openly discuss all considerations.

Many companies like to have objectives established before coaching begins and often there is discussion on how the ROI of the executive coaching relationship is measured.  An executive coach works with the coachee to develop a list of goals and to write the report for the company.

Both internal and external executive coaching has value and often a combination of both provides an ideal balance.

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