Want to make sure you’re hiring the right executive coach? Watch for these questions during the initial meeting
Did you know that big businesses, as well as startups, often prioritize executive coaching over other learning programs? This shouldn’t be a surprise. An expert executive coach helps these organizations and their leaders uncover opportunities and capitalize on them. And, no, it’s not because the coach knows everything.
It’s because the coach asks the right questions.
An experienced executive coach will help his clients separate the chatter from Eureka! by building rapport and empathy which allows the coach to dig deep with, what can appear to be, seemingly standard questions.
So, whether you’re looking for an executive coach or you long to become one, here are 5 questions you should expect to hear when looking for an impactful executive coach:
What’s Your Definition Of Success?
When asked in an interview at Jalisco after being prompted with the question: “What does success mean to you?”, Oscar winning director Guillermo Del Toro responded,
“Success is a preconceived idea. A lure to distract us from failing often and in our own terms. It’s by failing often that one manages to make it right.”
For a prominent director like Del Toro, success is about embracing failure. That’s non-debatable. Yet, there’s more to his comment than meets the eye. Notice that Del Toro used the world “often” when referring to failure. A good coach would catch this immediately, zero in and ask, “what does failing often make right?”
An experienced coach will follow-up after a statement like that and explore further to help his client truly define what success looks like, so they can reach it together.
Yes, this should even happen in an initial meeting after you’ve given your definition of success. Why? An experienced coach won’t be selling you. An experienced coach will be coaching you.
What Is Key And What Is Expendable?
Experienced executives know that there are multiple ways to solve a problem, and every plan of action requires resources and energy to enable great execution. When an executive knows what’s key to her organization, she is keen to find which specific actions to take to reach the organization’s goal, and, putting the expendable aside is a great way to relocate resources.
However, when coaching executive leaders to greater levels of success, it’s more than just prioritizing or making a list. The coach will help their client discover what they truly value and what is non-negotiable, which then allows his client to focus her energy on what really matters and not waste energy on things that don’t.
So expect the coach to ask what you must have and what can you leave behind to reach your definition of success.
What Are The Current And Possible Obstacles?
During a coaching session, a coach will always prioritize what’s happening in the moment and will encourage their coachee to do the same, because wasting energy on things that haven’t occurred is, you guessed it, just wasted energy.
Yet, by asking about possible outcomes, an experienced executive coach will help his clients uncover things they may not have thought about, thus helping them refine their action steps and increase their chances of success. This question can also help uncover their client’s fears and concerns; it will also provide personal insights into how they will face the present.
While the current obstacles remain a priority, your executive coach now knows what may distract you from real obstacles and can provide you with the tools to overcome these hurdles.
In the case of the initial meeting, this question should uncover things that you haven’t thought about before and should get you excited about the possibilities.
Do You Want Cream With That?
Just kidding. Executive coaches aren’t as stiff as you would think.
Working with a coach requires insightful conversations to benefit the coachee – and that requires trust. The coach/coachee relationship will be a safe space where ideas are free to come and go, and where confidence and respect remain core values. It’s important that you feel comfortable to be open and to be yourself and you should be feeling this way as the initial meeting progresses.
But don’t forget about having fun.
Yes, fun. Or what is known as serious fun, which involves solving meaningful problems and enjoying the process. Apply that to your coaching bond and suddenly you’re playing a game you know you can win because you have the right allies.
Oh, and regardless of your choice, coffee is important too.
The Bonus Question
One core value that differentiates top executive coaches from the rest is curiosity. For a good executive coach, there is always one more question to be asked. He’ll even double check and ask again if it’s necessary – especially during the exploration phase.
So, if you’re the one asking, “are there any more questions?” you should probably be on the lookout for a new coach.
Start your coaching process with the help of Chris Gossard
If there’s an expert on asking the right questions and finding the answers; that is Chris Gossard.
Chris’ success and knowledge in the business and coaching world come from his ability to ask the right questions and, more importantly, listening for the meaning behind the words.
Don’t settle for an amateur coach. Find out more by contacting Chris today.