I have had the pleasure of coaching at some of the best places to work in the world, such as Salesforce and Cisco as well as numerous other small, medium and large organizations.

A part of the coaching selection process might include “good fit conversations” an opportunity for clients to speak with coaches prior to selecting one. Too many leaders rely on a feeling they had during the conversation or the coach?s resume. There are several factors to consider during the evaluation process to match a coach’s abilities to you and your organization.

Below are considerations in selecting the best fit leader coach.

1. The coach’s skill in moving you out of your comfort zone

In the simplest form, a client is in one of three zones: comfort, uncomfort and stress. A skilled coach is able to know you well enough to determine where you are on an issue and the appropriate resolutions. You do not want a coach who keeps you in your comfort zone. You are hiring a coach to stretch yourself and become a stronger leader. Conversely, if the coach pushes you too hard, the stress can hinder you from creating change. Find a coach who is skilled at moving you out of your comfort zone without exceeding your limits.

2. Ensure the coach can get below the surface level

A client wanted a new tool to better organize a heavy workload. There are great tools that could have been recommended but five tools had been tried before and did not work for her. This signifies there is something deeper that is preventing behavior change. Make sure you select a coach who has the capacity to go deep to discover triggers, resistance, old patterns and stories that get in the way of your success.

3. The coaches’ range of styles

Coaching styles vary from only asking questions to acting similar to a consultant, providing advice based on their experience. In our client experience, the best results come from a coach who easily moves across this spectrum. The coach knows when to ask insightful questions and how long the client benefits from exploring on their own. Only after there is enough reflection by the client does the coach offer other ideas to see if they resonate. Finding a coach who is skilled in moving through the full range of coaching styles will better equip the client to solve a variety of problems.

4. The coach’s ability to build trust

A key element of coaching success is based on the level of trust you have with your coach. The best results occur when you can fully reveal yourself with all of your success and struggles. If you find that you are holding back about work or non-work aspects of who you are, it is not a good fit. Find a coach who you can fully trust so you can be transparent about who you are both inside and outside of work to develop your whole self.

5. Methods, purpose, and process the coach uses

Our experience is that success is best achieved when the client establishes what they want out of coaching. I seek 360 input from electronic and/or interview methods to gain an understanding of intentional and unintentional impact. This often helps the leader establish coaching goals. Goals have an 85% better chance of follow-through when they are set, written and shared with an accountability partner.

I start each call by asking the client if they want to begin the session discussing their goals, homework or an issue that came up since the last call. This allows time on the coaching call for:

  • reflection on progress toward goals
  • the opportunity to see if the coaching homework led to a desired difference and
  • the choice to discuss emergent issues that often arise

Find a coach who wants to work with you on gaining clarity on the purpose of coaching, partners with you to set coaching goals and shares their coaching call process.

Coaching assignments are typically six to 12 months so that change lasts beyond the coaching time together. Selecting the right coach will make the difference between a good experience and a transformative one. As one client said, “I used to see in black and white and now I see in color.” Select a coach that can help you see the world in color. Make the investment in yourself that lasts a lifetime, at work and in all aspects of your life.

Russ Elliot will help you accelerate your influence and leadership. I can customize coaching packages to meet your needs. Please let me know if you want a complimentary 30 minute “good fit” conversation by reaching out to me at [email protected]

Russ is an experienced executive coach who accelerates the leader’s capability further than they thought possible. As the “leadership co-pilot”, he brings out the best in the client professionally and personally by creating a safe container and deep connection. Russ’ natural style of exceptional listening and his gifts of valuable insights at the right time create a powerful transformational experience for all levels and teams of leaders. Russ serves as a consultant, executive coach, educator, trainer and speaker.