Executive Coaching – 6 Tips to Help you Choose the Best Coach

Choosing an Executive Coach is an absolutely critical decision. Executive Coaching is a significant investment in time, energy and money, and the right Executive Coach will have a huge impact on your future.

Great coaches do much more than just ask questions. A great coach will ask lots of questions to get you thinking and working things out for yourself. Of course they will ‘teach you to fish’ rather than feed you.

Here at Southern Cross Coaching & Development (SCC&D), our best coaches will be your closest confidante and your most trusted, non-judgemental sounding board; your mentor; an advisor; your support person; an advocate if need be and more. They will be able to seamlessly and intuitively switch hats between all these roles as appropriate.

The best Executive Coaches will also be your ‘unreasonable professional best friend’, they will support you completely and without judgement. But they’ll also be honest with you, tell you what you need to hear, challenge your thinking, and push you to develop and fulfil your potential. They’ll stretch you and you’ll grow professionally and personally. You’ll never be the same again!

Your coach needs to be someone you trust implicitly from the start of the process to get the best out of the time and financial investment.

At SCC&D we’ve developed our innovative Coach/Coachee Matching Matrix™. It works and has never failed! We’re proud to say that across our team of 35+ Executive Coaches and Consultants, we’ve never got a coach match wrong since we started our business in 2006.

We take all of our coaches through our unique Coach/Coachee Matching Matrix™ to determine their coach profile. We then take our coachees through the same process to establish their unique profile. As a result we get the coach best match for each individual coachee.

6 useful tips when choosing an Executive Coach for yourself or someone in your team:

1. Choose the coach you need to stretch and develop you, not just the coach you like.
This can be a problem as often coaching is around discovering a blind spot, and/or developing political or emotional intelligence related to that blind spot. This makes it hard to choose what you need, when that awareness lens is cloudy or missing.

2. Make sure you get the right balance between someone you’ll get on with and someone who’ll stretch, challenge, and develop you.
After all, it is Executive Coaching, not dating :-).

The first time I had the opportunity to be coached and to choose my own coach, I initially dismissed an Executive Director… I respected and liked her, but frankly thought she’d be a nightmare to be coached by! Thankfully I gave it more thought, considering what I actually needed, and I ended up deciding to challenge myself (which was the whole point of the coaching really!), and chose her to coach me. It was the best decision I made!

3. For Organisational Coaching, we recommend you get a clear picture of what you want to achieve from the coaching and what the measures of success will look like, before you choose your coach. 

How can you choose the coach you need, the coach to help you get results, if you don’t have at least some idea of the objectives and measures of success?

At SCC&D we have a proven 12-step process around our organisational Executive Coaching programs. Part of that is to interview the coachee and key stakeholders to clarify and define between 1-3 key objectives. It is just as important to be clear on what the measures of success look like from both the key stakeholders and the coachee’s perspective. This ensures that everyone knows, what’s expected, what’s being worked towards, and removes any ambiguity from the coaching program which is great for the coachee and the organisation.

Only then do we match the coach to the coachee, by using our unique Coach/Coachee Matching Matrix™. This process ensures that we’ll find right coach with the right professional experience, the right personality, the right values, and the right coaching style for the coachee.

4. Be brutally honest…are you, or the person you’re considering offering coaching to, really willing to be coached? Is coaching the right intervention?
Great coaching can do a lot of amazing things, it can develop people in a myriad of ways. But coaching is not always what someone needs. As much as we’d like to think it is, it’s not always a panacea. We always say “we’re coaches, not miracle workers!” That said, we have achieved the ‘impossible’ on some occasions. However, miracles do take a little longer ;-).

We have check points for all of our Executive Coaching programs. One check point comes after the 3rd hour of coaching when we discuss and assess with the coach if their coachee is “coachable” or not.

If the coach suggests that a person is not coachable (not necessarily because they’re resistant – they may need counselling instead, or more structured skills development training for example), we’ll stop the program and openly discuss our reasons for that decision with all parties. It’s a great risk mitigation strategy for the organisation who will only pay for the process up until that point. It’s also a good accountability tool.

5. If the organisation chooses the coach, be confident that feedback and reporting parameters are crystal clear.
Neuroscience proves our brains are hard-wired to be wary, it is a survival instinct. We’re hard-wired to run away from potential threat (an ‘away’ state), and walk cautiously towards reward (‘toward’ state).

We’ve found that people who have a coach chosen by the organisation usually take longer to open up and build trust. When they do eventually open up, they may never be fully open. Hence they don’t always get the very best out of the coaching.

6. Be wary of having the same coach to coach several team members in the same team.
While knowledge of the team and dynamics may be useful, having the same coach can subconsciously (or consciously) put people’s brains into a degree of threat/away state as there may be an underlying, unspoken concern about confidentiality and trust.

In many teams there are difficult working relationships. It’s human nature to be concerned about sharing the difficulties you may have in working with another team member if you know that the person you’re confiding in is also going to have a private conversation with that very same team member.

About our Executive Coaching

SCC&D is a recognised industry leader in Executive Coaching. A measure of the calibre of our Coaching expertise is our CEO, Simon Smith, who was awarded Coach of the Year by the International Coach Federation Australia (in 2013). All of our coaches are highly qualified and deeply experienced across many different coaching methodologies.
Our best practice 12-step process around our Executive Coaching receives consistent positive client feedback, and is universally respected across the Public and Private sectors.

“I’ve never come across this process before – it’s excellent, it gets results and makes such a difference”
Deputy Secretary and Key Stakeholder driving the coaching

Another point of difference that puts us at the forefront of the Coaching industry is our completely unique, innovative Coach/Coachee Matching Matrix™ (patent pending) which we’ve developed exclusively in-house to match coaches and coachees.

We’re proud to say wematching_matrix_executive_coaching_southern_cross_coaching__development’ve never got a coach match wrong since we started in 2006.

Our process matches coaches and coachees based on 20 parameters, including Personal Style, Organisational Focus, Operational and People Focus and key areas of Values and Motives. All coaches are individually matched to a coachee’s requirements.

When appropriate, we integrate a range of Emotional Intelligence and Leadership 360° tools, or other employee capability development, strengths or personality styles assessments into the coaching. Our coaches are accredited in a huge range of psychometric and 360-degree assessment tools, including the entire suite of GeneSys assessments.

Our coaches are seasoned professionals with experience in coaching at all different levels of the organisation, from new managers to experienced middle managers and C-suite executives and SES level leaders.

Depending on the required objectives that are to be met, the outcomes and objectives can include an array of professional and personal development skills, capabilities and performance improvement across every aspect of leadership. Performance improvement can range from stepping up into a new role, career development or developing good performers to excellent performers. There is very little that our veteran coaches have not dealt with.

Our clients and coaching expertise spans the Private and Public Sectors, including ASX top 200 companies, multi-national corporations, privately owned entities and well established SMEs. Our Public Sector experience spans State, Local and Federal Government, including NSW Public Service Commission and the Department of Premier & Cabinet.

For more information on our Executive Coaching Program please visit https://www.southerncrosscoaching.com.au/program/executive-coaching/.

Alternatively you can call us on (02) 7901 5618, or email us to have a complementary initial discussion about how we can help.

Your Team at Southern Cross Coaching & Development

Making the world a better place through better leadership™