If you are considering engaging an executive coach, good! Yes, we are biased, but we believe it’s an exceptionally smart thing to do — you are making a wise investment in yourself, and actively seeking a higher level of professional excellence and accomplishment.

There are numerous executive coaching options to choose from. You are a unique combination of talents, interests, strengths, and opportunities — with your own distinct personality. You should select a coach who will work most effectively with YOU. Below are three critical things to consider when evaluating an executive coach:

1. This may sound odd, but are you REALLY sure you want an executive coach?

Coaches are not consultants. A consultant will tell you what they think you should do. Coaches are partners that work with you to evaluate the underlying motivations for your patterns of thinking, which in turn, serve as the key to lasting change. You then take what you’ve learned and put it into action.

At Arden Coaching for example, our executive coaching process is focused on combining enhanced awareness with tangible actions to create measurable results. When you experience greater self-awareness and have access to pathways and opportunities that were once hidden, “aha” moments happen regularly. You will be able to establish tangible shifts in behavior and generate new results and higher levels of performance.

This means you must want to change! You also need to know, in general terms, what you want to accomplish. The work requires a commitment from both sides of the team. Expert professional executive coaches do not provide pre-packaged solutions and are not merely cheerleaders. If you are looking for formulaic answers, or quick ego-boosting pats-on-the-back, you need to look elsewhere. Learn more about what executive coaching is here.

2. Coaching style and personal fit matter.

You will be working with someone very closely. You’ll be sharing your innermost thoughts and your coach will be looking at your most ingrained behaviors. You need to be comfortable lowering barriers. Trust is absolutely essential, so the chemistry between you and your coach needs to be strong.

Coaches are people too, and we all have our own coaching style. You should meet with several coaches to get a feel for each one’s approach to coaching. You’ll find that you work better with certain styles. For example, some coaches have a nurturing approach, while others are more direct. What manner and method brings out the best in you? By meeting with several executive coaches, you can decide whose approach will best meet your needs.

3. Seek out experience, knowledge, and professional training.

There are no specific licensing requirements for executive coaches, so make sure an executive coach has the qualifications to help you succeed. Seek a coach who has many years of experience and expertise in executive coaching and professional development.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) offers important and highly regarded professional certifications. A coach certified by the ICF has demonstrated certain levels of excellence and ethics. There are also various certification levels within the ICF, so look for executive coaches with higher level certifications. In addition, it can be advantageous for an executive coach to hold an advanced degree in psychology or organizational development.

Executive coaches are proven difference-makers. But it is critical to choose a coach that best meets your needs and your situation. For more, please feel free to download our brief eBook, 7 Most Common and Costly Mistakes Businesses Make When Choosing an Executive Coach.

To learn more about executive coaching, contact us at admin@ardencoaching.com or 646.844.2233.