Choosing The Best Leadership Coach


Did you know that about 25% of all coaching relationships have to be terminated? That’s the finding from an AMA research study. When most experienced coaches are polled, another study found that almost half felt that unqualified coaches threaten the effectiveness of coaching.

As a professional executive leadership coach, I am constantly interviewed for assignments as well as interviewing other prospective coaches for my clients. Rarely, are we put through a rigorous screening process, so it’s no wonder some poor hires make it through to the intended coachees. How do you know what to look for in a quality executive leadership coach? And what is the best fit for your organization?

Download my presentation on Choosing the Best Leadership Coach and Maximizing Results to learn how to select the best leadership coach for you and your organization. You’ll also learn how to leverage that relationship to enhance leadership development and achieve stronger results.


Guidelines for choosing an executive coach

Choosing the Right Executive Coach


Executive Coaching, once a sign of trouble for leaders, is now widely considered as a valuable leadership development tool. According to a recent American Management Association survey, coaching’s three most common uses are developing leaders, improving performance and optimizing strong contributors. The survey found that 50% of companies provide coaches only to midlevel or senior staff, while 38% make them available to anyone.

The Executive Coaching industry is growing at a rate of 18% per year, per Harvard Business Report. This increase can be attributed to the unprecedented challenges that today’s leaders face including economic uncertainties, global demands, complex technologies, and the pressures of being “on call” 24/7. Executive Coaching has proven to help CEOs manage their increased responsibilities, while enhancing the productivity, quality, strength, motivation, retention, and profitability of their teams and organizations.

Finding the best fit for a CEO is a science, so how do you choose the right executive coach? Here are some tips to consider when hiring an executive coach:

    • DUE DILIGENCE: When hiring a coach, apply the same stringent guidelines (e.g., background and reference checks) that you would for other consultants and contractors. Don’t just go with “reputation”. Conduct your own research and ask for referrals from others with similar types of issues to be addressed.
    • EXTERNAL VS. INTERNAL COACH: Qualified external executive coaches are most helpful when the level of the coachee is VP+, the developmental needs are highly complex, and the degree of change required is high. Internal coaches are most helpful when the level of the coachee is Manager or Director, the development needs are easy to moderately complex, and the degree of change is low to moderate.
    • SEEK QUALITY: Search for a highly qualified, experienced leadership coach who supports and challenges executives. Coaches who offer direct and honest feedback with an action plan for improvement are “must haves”.
    • GOOD CHEMISTRY: The personality styles of the CEO and executive coach must mesh well to maximize success. Building trust is the foundation of any coaching relationship and good chemistry can accelerate this outcome.
    • WATCH FOR RED FLAGS: If coaches appear to make unrealistic promises, such as immediate results with minimal effort, walk away. To truly improve, leaders must invest time and effort.
Selecting an experienced executive coach can be a life changing experience for the leader, team, and organization. The feedback of an experienced executive coach can help leaders develop the essential skills they need to adapt, grow, and thrive in an ever-changing business climate for continued success.