When selecting an executive coach, what do you want to know? When the International Coaching Federation (ICF) did a study on the reasons for choosing a coach, the top answers were rapport and compatibility, followed by effectiveness of the process, the coach’s confidence, and coach-specific training.
How do you determine rapport and compatibility? Many coaches offer a free session so that you have the opportunity to experience what coaching is like and how they work as a coach. If not, ask questions about them. Find out whether they ask you questions and focus on your interests. Start by simply saying, “Tell me about you as a coach.”
Find out about the effectiveness of their coaching process by asking them to describe it. Based on their description, does their process fit with what you want?
The coach’s confidence is conveyed by how easily and comfortably the conversation flows and their openness in responding to your questions. Additionally, ask them about their Code of Ethics, scheduling process, billing, and whether they use a written agreement.
Ask about their training – find out how much coach training they have had and where they received their training. The ICF approves training programs – ask if their training was approved.
Other factors in choosing a coach include their sense of humor, experience, referrals, and yes, cost. The best preparation on your part includes taking the time to think about what you want in a coach and what you want from the executive coaching relationship.