You can find out pretty instantly if you have chemistry with someone else. The conversation will flow easily, you’ll get along and find similar attributes, and you’ll enjoy what the other person has to say. 

When selecting an executive coach for yourself, chemistry and comfortability is a must. Without having a connection with your coach, the relationship will suffer and make the outcome of success much more taxing on everyone involved. 

While connecting with your coach is absolutely necessary, the relationship needs to have more substance. Once you feel you have a connection with your coach, check it off the list. Next is time to get down to the nitty gritty questions—the ones that will determine if the partnership is capable of succeeding in developing and improving a top-tier executive. 

What is your coaching philosophy?

Open up the conversation with a question that allows your potential coach to explain their approach to coaching. This question is a good way for you to get some immediate insight into what type of experience you can expect from the coach. While no approach or methodology is right or wrong, the coach should be able to answer the question in detail, including how they coach, why they coach the way they do, and how their approach produces results.  

What credentials and experience do you have?

According to an article by Forbes, “You want to make sure that the coach is certified through a certification body such as the International Coaches Federation (ICF). This certification ensures that your coach has the right skills.” On top of certifications, the coach’s specific experience should be considered. The context of their work is important, such as if they’ve coached someone in your field or position. Further, ask about the coach’s success rate with executives similar to you in goals. While no coach can promise success, as much of the responsibility will fall on the executive, you want a coach who is confident about their abilities. 

What is your typical coaching process and coaching session like?

Here, you’re getting into the specific details. You want to ask about the time commitment, quantity and length of sessions, what to expect with each session, how long the whole experience is expected to last, etc. Every coach is different in style and can inform you on what works and what doesn’t work based on their history with coaching. Knowing if your coach is more flexible or strict is important so that you can compare their style to what you like. Nonetheless, a coach should be able to prioritize their client’s needs and goals.  

How do you define and measure success in coaching?

Both you and your coach will be working to achieve the same goals, so knowing when your goals are being reached is important. Hear the coach’s philosophy on coaching success, and see if their way of defining success is something you agree with. You and your coach should be on the same page with which goals you’re setting, how to measure your progress, and what the intended outcome is. While you and your coach have input in these assessments, key stakeholders should also contribute to measuring success. 

How have you handled difficult client situations in the past?

Not every client-coach relationship is smooth sailing the whole time. While the hope is for no big bumps in the road, your next hope should be that you can get over those bumps and move past them. Knowing the types of circumstances that have challenged the coach in the past will allow you insight into whether or not you foresee the same obstacles coming up in your potential relationship. Listen to the coach’s response for insight into how they overcome difficulty. 

Finding someone who you enjoy talking to and have easy chemistry with is the first step. Listening to their responses to your interview questions comes next. Who can you picture yourself thriving with? What relationship makes you feel the most motivated? Whose philosophy and style do like align with most? Find the person who you like on paper and in person. If you’re looking for somewhere to begin your shopping for a coach, take a look at iGenCo’s coaching services and give us a call!

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