How To Find a Leadership Coach

If you’re looking to hire the best leadership coach for your next step of development, review this list and see which of the following qualities appeal to you.

There are 2 distinct experience qualifications, 3 skills, and 3 tools, that you will want to consider for your coach. Let’s review them and when to include them in your choice.

The 2 Distinct Experience Qualifications A Leadership Coach May Have

When it comes top past experience, there are two types to consider. They are:

  • Primary experience – Their experience could be from working directly in your area, field or occupation in the past. This gives them first had experience as to what it feels like to go through what you are going through. They may even share the results of things they did poorly as a learning lesson that you may learn form without going through yourself. 
  • Secondary experience – Is when a coach works with a significant number of people in an area. In some cases, they may even make it a specialty that they offer. Their experience is through the knowledge they have gained be working with a large number of similar people and situations. They may have coached some any people that they have proven models and processes that have been tested overtime and produce excellent results. I have had experience such as this with each area of our product offering and have developed many models and training courses that contribute to our client’s success. Working with thousands of similar situations will give your coach fine tuned skills to help you in areas you are not aware of yet.

The 3 Different Skills A Coach May Have

Training – training means that you will be able to get access to a solid leadership program they have. It might be something they’ve developed themselves or a big label program that they have the rights for. One thing to watch out for is the type of training that has miscellaneous handouts that they have taken from others or put together themselves. Although this material may be valuable it will not be comprehensive and will leave gaps in your learning.

Coaching – Coaching skills are specific skills that help the coachee become more aware, deepen learning, help overcome areas that you could feel stuck in, and help you move forward faster.

Although the general public put all types of leaders in the big bucket of coaches, not all people that call themselves coaches have be trained in coaching skills. Professional coaching skills take years to get and usually involve an accredited coach training program. The accreditation most sought after is with the International Coach Federation or ICF. The ICF is a high-level governing body that about 70% of professional coaches are involved with. Besides providing ethical standards and coach certification, they certify programs according to their accreditation parameters which means that programs that are affiliated with the ICF have been properly vetted. Watch out for training that has nothing to do with extensive training in coach skills. When I took my certification there were people, I worked with that were taking 2 hr courses on a weekend to get a “Masters in coaching”. In contrast, a masters with the ICF involves extensive training, specific practice and supervision as well as taking years to complete. 

Mentoring – Each coach will have experience that they can bring to the coaching environment if you are wanting that. Their experience could be from working directly in your area, field or occupation – called primary experience, or from specializing in helping many clients in those area – called secondary experience. A fitting example of these is in the past I have run and owned contracting businesses, so I have a first had experience my clients benefit from. I understand their frustrations, difficulties and what needs to be done next. I also, have helped all types of salespeople and professionals. One group I have a secondary understanding of is Lawyers and Attorneys. I have helped many Lawyers and Attorneys over the years and in fact, I am a publish author with the American Bar Association. One thing to consider is there can be a time that a coach with strong leadership and coaching skills without industry knowledge may bring you an unbiased approach to your next level of growth. Although a professional coach should be able to turn off their experience and not mentor you, it is a difficult skill for a junior coach to manage.

The 3 Tools A Leadership Coach May Have

Your ideal leadership coach will posses the following tools to help you move forward.

  • Robust training programs on leadership. You need to have a well-formed foundational leadership program to use, whether it is to go through module by module or to fill in gaps, as necessary. Having this tool available will allow you to move for=ward faster and understand what needs to happen. If your coach understand this foundational material, it will be easy for them to diagnose problems and make corrections quickly. 
  • Third party specialty assessments. These assessments may be in leadership, personal performance, self management, personality or communication. A strong experienced coach will be able to figure out what you’re struggling with by understanding what effect you are having with your leadership. Something to watch out for is for some leadership 3600 assessments. If they are not conducted properly, they can have incorrect information due to the team not feeling they can give truthful replies when they fill out the assessment of their leader.
  • Resource library. Leadership coaches are students of leadership and will have a resource library of books, articles and other information they have saved over time. For the more advanced leadership coaches, they will have an online presence with their own videos and written materials such as blogs and books, and manuals. Don’t hesitate to check them out on YouTube. Be wary of the coach to talks extensively on one particular book or plan to do a book study with you. I’ve seen other coaches do this and although it is somewhat beneficial, it will only bring limited learning unless the knowledge in the book is incorporated into a larger program.

Pick The Best Leadership Coach For You

Once you have gone through all of the qualifications that you can choose from, you ‘ll be able to quickly see what will work best for you. This will help when it comes to interviewing new potential leadership coaches. Remember to ask for what you think you need in the combination that will work for you. Also, find a coach that will be able to lead you through your growth and the parts that you’re not aware of yet. If they are not stronger than you in leadership, you won’t be able to work with them long term.


You may also like