As ambitious as you might be, do you have the leadership qualities to win you that dream executive career?
That’s where a leadership coach comes in. A professional coach can help you develop a practical and broad skillset for your next senior role. That might include communication, organization, and strategic direction.
However, before you hire a leadership coach, it’s worth getting a handle on what qualities to look for in the right mentor. Here are the top 5 factors to consider when choosing a leadership coach.
One of the easiest ways to start filtering out prospective leadership coaches is to concentrate solely on coaches who have a certification.
While certification won’t tell you everything about a coach’s experience and skills, it sets a benchmark in your search. All professional coaches should have relevant qualifications.
There are many options for coaches to get certified. Certifications to consider include:
- The International Coaching Federation
- IECL (Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership)
- Coach Training Alliance
- The Center for Executive Coaching
Make this the first question you ask a leadership coach. You might even find their certification details on the coach’s website when they outline their leadership training.
You will be working one-on-one with your coach, so having a fantastic rapport is essential. That comes down to personal preference, and some coaching styles (and personality) will fit better than others.
The easiest way to check for chemistry is with a phone call (or a face-to-face meet-up if you are looking for a local coach). Start talking. Good chemistry is easy to gauge from an informal chat.
There are two experience qualities you want to look for in a coach.
The first is the coach’s background in leadership roles. They must be able to demonstrate excellent examples of leading big teams in demanding environments.
The second aspect is leadership coaching experience within your field or industry.
You don’t always need a specialist. But if you work in an unusual or technical field, you’ll have unique leadership challenges. These might be issues that only someone with experience in that area will understand.
Don’t overlook values. Finding someone who shares the same values as you is essential. It will go a long way to building a trusted, respected relationship between you and your coach.
What do they value in leadership? Are they results-driven or more of a people person? Do they appreciate collaborative work, or do they thrive in more cut-throat competitive environments?
Reading online reviews is a helpful way to get a feel for a coach’s principles.
Lastly, but still essential, is the practical aspect of coaching. You’ll be committing valuable time to work with a coach, so you need to find a coaching method that suits you and your situation.
Do you want someone available over the phone or Zoom? Or do you want someone you can speak to in person?
Do you expect them to always respond promptly to emails? Or are you happy having a structured time slot with a coach to answer your pressing questions?
Choosing a Leadership Coach Who Is Right for You
There is no perfect coach. When choosing a leadership coach, the best person will be a good fit for you, your values, and your circumstances.
A natural connection with that person will be a good sign that you’ll be able to create a strong working relationship.
Of course, you don’t need to wait for a coach to start learning about leadership. Click on our lead section now for our latest articles and guides on how to lead a team.