As an Executive Coach, I find myself answering several questions from those curious about what I do and how I do it. I thought I’d address three of the most frequently asked questions here.
1. Do Executive Coaches have to have direct experience in certain industries or topics in order to coach someone in those industries or on those topics?
No, because there’s a distinction between coaching, consulting, and mentoring. As Executive Coaches, we can coach someone without having to have the experience. And coaches don’t advise, they are ethically bound to remain neutral and help clients look at things from a different point of view by asking open ended questions (e.g., what happened the last time you tried that, what are your thoughts on that, etc.). By turning any issues back on the client and not reflecting about how we may have handled something similar in the past, it allows clients to do their own critical thinking. We just help them reframe their thoughts, answers, and perspective. We make it about them and their situation.
On the other hand, mentors and consultants do give advice, so they generally do have relevant experience. If a coach is also working as a consultant, however, they make it clear they are putting on their consulting hat if they feel compelled to advise.
2. How does an Executive Coach hold clients accountable?
Accountability is a huge component in executive coaching. To keep the client moving forward, we set goals and discuss what they want to achieve. We determine action items – which is their homework – where they take what they learn in the coaching sessions and apply it. This moves them one step closer to their goal. Then I expect my clients to debrief me at our next session as to how it went. We discuss any issues that may have cropped up, what opportunities for growth arose, how they overcame any obstacles – or, if they struggled, we work on those conflicts.
Clients are usually self-motivated – after all, they did seek out and hire an Executive Coach, which is the first big step to realizing something needs to be done – but sometimes they lose momentum. If they get stuck, we approach that as a goal to work on. In other words, we don’t need to strictly adhere to the initial goal if something else occurs during the process. This allows them – and the way we work together – to pivot. I’m very flexible and can change direction to work on something different if it’s required to meet their goals, even if those goals evolve over time.
3. How important are personality, training, and credentials?
Personality itself is very important. Clients are very vulnerable during the coaching process, so trust is paramount. Initially, there is a get-to-know-you session so authenticity is vital; clients need to know that you are trustworthy and have a great deal of integrity.
Before private clients reach out to me, they usually get to know a little about me through my content, but we still meet to discuss goals and expectations. When companies pay for executive coaching for their employees, those clients usually haven’t seen more than a short video that details what I do and those employees are able to choose from approximately three Executive Coaches. But we still always have a get-to-know-you session to ensure we’re a good fit for each other.
As for training and credentials, this is very important to corporate clients. My methodology is what interests them, as does whether I hold annual certifications. Coaching is actually not regulated, so companies typically perform due diligence to ensure what they offer their workers will help them grow. I’ve found that individual clients don’t usually ask about training or credentials.
If you have questions regarding whether you need an Executive Coach or how I work, let’s schedule a Breakthrough Session to determine how I can help you learn to master the skills needed to enhance your overall influence.