If your company is interested in hiring one or more executive coaches for those in top leadership positions, you’re not so much investing in executive coaching as you are investing in results.
Executive coaching should drive not only better leadership, but measurable positive business results.
When you want results, there is simply no substitute for executive coach experience that is built on a foundation of learning, practice, and reassessment. Coaches who are not themselves committed to continual improvement will not achieve the results that committed, inspired, well-trained coaches will.
Maybe you are the HR leader tasked with learning executive coaching options, or perhaps you’re the top-level executive determined to deliver the best possible leadership. Before your first meeting with an executive coach, you can set the stage for success and maximize the return you will receive on your coaching investment. Here’s how.
Look for Results and a Proven ROI
Can the executive coach you’re considering show you documented results in terms of ROI? They should. Sustained success in executive coaching requires that the executive coach not only help clients achieve measurable results, but also be able to demonstrate ROI for future clients. However charismatic someone calling themselves and executive coach is, if they don’t get measurable results, their career as a coach will fizzle out. Companies have neither the time nor the resources to invest in executive coaching that leaves everyone exactly as they started out. Ask any executive coach you consider about ROI, ask for references from former clients, and follow up on them.
Examine the Process and How It Has Worked for Other Clients
Coaching must be tailored to the client, of course, but it should be based on an established process that works. A successful executive coach will be delighted to talk with you about the process they use with clients and why they structure it that way. Ask how the process has worked with clients who have different needs. How can they be confident their process delivers, whether the client is male, female, older, younger, tech-oriented, charismatic, or reserved? Just as the executive chef tailors the recipe to the client, yet insists on high quality ingredients, the executive coach tailors services to the client, but always uses proven coaching elements.
Their Leadership Philosophy Should Create a Foundation for Great Results
Process matters, but so does philosophy. And that philosophy must be based upon values that apply to sound business and moral standing. For example, altruism, affiliation, achievement, and abundance are four philosophical concepts that serve executive coaching clients well whether they’re in medicine, mining, or apparel. You cannot expect sustained results and ROI from executive coaching that is not constructed on sound moral and philosophical infrastructure. Doing so is like building a structure without a foundation: it may look nice in the short term, but it won’t hold up in reality.
Results You Should Be Able to Expect
When you engage an executive coach for someone in your organization, you want to be able to see a positive ROI once the active coaching process is over. You should fully expect to see the following changes:
- Executives who reach their full potential as executives and as human beings
- Greater self-insight among executives
- Executives equipped with sound strategies that drive measurably better results
- Executives equipped with tactical tools that show positive results right away
- Better networking among executives and other stakeholders
- Better feedback processes that support continual personal and organizational improvement
- Greater leadership skills among top level executives
Additionally, you should expect an executive coach who doesn’t disappear once the active coaching engagement period has ended. The most outstanding executive coaches include periodic follow-up with clients, both so they can ensure clients are experiencing sustained, great results, and so coaches can themselves improve.
I have been an executive coach for long enough, and with enough varied clients to know that clients aren’t investing in me – they’re investing in results. No company has time or money to spend on executive coaching without expecting something great in return. Ask for information on ROI with previous clients, learn a candidate coach’s process, and ensure their underlying philosophy makes sense for long-term improvement, and you can be confident your executive coaching investment will pay off again and again.