What Should You Ask Your Executive Leadership Coach Before Starting the Program?


The role of coaches goes beyond mentors and trainers. They strive to turn you into not only a good leader but also a good person. Business leaders must hire an executive leadership coach to maximize their potential. 

But before that, there are some things you should clarify. There are a few questions you should ask the leadership coaches before hiring them. In this article, learn about the question you should be asking.

Why Do You Want To Take Up The Job?

Before hiring a leadership coach for yourself or your team, you must understand his or her motivation behind the desire to take up the job. Coaches are, after all, highly experienced. Most of them are financially sound as well. So their motivation is always something else.

You must have an open-ended conversation with the coaches and understand their motivation. Only work with those coaches that have definite and reasonable cause to be engaged in the project. This would ensure long-term commitment and partnership, which is a prerequisite to coaching success.

How Many Leaders Have You Coached Before?

Experience is another factor that matters when hiring executive coaches. Coaches usually possess vast experience in dealing with people. But coaches also exist who have only worked with a handful of leaders.

While you shouldn’t aim for the most experienced coach, decent experience is always desired.

Strike a balance between experience and motivation. If you can find a highly motivated coach who lacks significant experience, you may consider signing up with him.

Do You Have any Sector-Based Experience?

When checking experience, you should see if the coach has any experience within your sector. So if you’re leading an IT team, does the coach have experience in the IT sector? If you’re in manufacturing, has he coached a manufacturing leader?

While it isn’t always necessary, it’s a bonus. Coaches usually work on things that aren’t related to a specific industry. But if they have sector-based experience, they may be able to understand your circumstances better. So prefer coaches with sector-based expertise, but don’t make it compulsory.

What’s Your Educational Background?

When prospecting executive leadership coaches, another essential factor to consider is education.

Most business coaches hold a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and even a Ph.D. degree. While the subjects vary, they specialize in psychology. It’s a must for business coaches to have profound knowledge and expertise in the field of psychology. 

It will enable them to understand the thought process and mental framework of a person. They can then work towards optimizing it for greater efficiency. An article from HBR claims coaches who do not have a psychology background do more harm than good.

Other than the degree, check for accreditations. Various reputed institutes offer certificates and diplomas on coaching specifically. INSEAD has a coaching certificate program designed to improve coaching effectiveness. IMD Business School of Switzerland and SHRM have similar programs. It’s good if the coach possesses such certificates.

What’s Your Work Process?

It’s vital that you understand the work process of a coach. Usually, an executive leadership coach will follow the following methodology:

  • Involve the leaders who are to be coached. This is when the coaches determine the desired behavior and evaluate the current behavior.
  • Prepare an agreement that lists the behaviors to be changed and all the desired outcomes.
  • Develop an action plan and define KPIs.
  • Hold one-on-one meetings daily, weekly, biweekly and review the changes.
  • Review the results and modify the process if required.
  • Repeat the process.

When reviewing the results, there should be a feedback loop. This would hold both the coach and their clients accountable.

Based on their experience as a coach, they might have tweaked and optimized the conventional process. And thus, they designed a process of their own. But, would it suit your working style or your company? Dive into the nitty-gritty to find it out for yourself.

What About the Pricing Model?

Finally, you should ask about the pricing structure that the coach follows or expects. Some coaches work on an hourly model. So they get paid by the hour they put into coaching you. Coaches following such a model often coach multiple clients.

Then, there are coaches who charge a flat fee. So you purchase their program by paying the costs, and they work with you till the completion of the program.

You should have a good understanding of how you’re supposed to pay. 

Depending on your particular requirements, you might have different selection criteria. Don’t be afraid to include them when prospecting an executive leadership coach. With the right coach, you can open up your potential as a leader.