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Your 7-Point Health Check for Engaging an Executive Coach – Part 2

Hey, Jay here from The Coaching Room, thanks for checking out part 2 of my article.


To recap part one, we covered the first 3 points which were:

  1. Filtering out what coaching isn’t
  2. Differences in the field of Executive Coaching itself
  3. How does the coach respond to difficult questions themselves?

In this article I’ll be sharing the final 4 key points of the 7-point health check for engaging an Executive Coach on behalf of more clarity on what to look for and ask about.


So let’s get straight to point 4.


Point 4. Benchmarking – going beyond experience and theory to identifying skills and capability.

Every Coach Training Schools that we have trained with and researched uses similar methods for identifying capacity.

A. Targets for hours of completed Training and Coaching

B. Subjective measures of assessing skills by watching the Coach in a coaching session.

C. Assessment tasks designed to integrate theory.

The problem with all of these methods is none of them actually measure objective behavioural outputs to an agreed standard.


For example, how does hours spent training and coaching actually measure capacity? It can’t, it’s a quantitative, not a qualitative measure. The same with Subjective feedback – it’s subjective (you did this really well, but need to improve this) rather than objective (against a set of agreed standards) measure.


The final area of Assessment tasks is also a poor measure, because knowing something and being able to do it effectively are different. As Executive Coaching is about coaching human beings, it’s complex and systemic. Each human being is unique and must be approached uniquely and systemically. Trying to bring in a learned theory and applying it in a coaching session is like turning up to a date naked – it’s presumptuous and arrogant and it probably won’t get you what you intend…


So then if these 3 mainstream approaches to identifying and measuring capacity fall short, what are the alternatives? In our experience, the very best alternative we have found is Benchmarking.


Benchmarking is the process of de-nominalising and detailing more specific descriptions of the activities (actions) that a coach engages in.  It is a way to identify evidence of coaching skills — Listening, Supporting, Questioning, etc.  It is used to create sensory measures, against a set of agreed standards, for a desired experience (like Coaching) and then enables “sensory-based” feedback to an agreed goal or desired level of attainment.


So the question is – has your coach been benchmarked to agreed standards as a part of their development? And if so, what are the standards and how do they currently rate?


Point 5. Apply to self

We’ve already posed the question – does the Coach have a coach themselves? Next, let’s take a look at why that’s so important.


Firstly, the coaches developmental stage is critical (particularly in Developmental and Transformational Coaching), but most importantly, a coach cannot talk, point to, mirror back or catch what they themselves cannot see. It’s that simple. If the coach can’t see it, because they themselves have’nt experienced it, they can’t listen for it or ask about it. This is best summed up in the saying “you don’t know what you don’t know”


Q. Tell me about your developmental process – who do you coach with and what are you working on right now?


Point 6. Accreditation and Coaching Bodies

I’ve already let the cat out of the bag about accreditation and it being largely meaningless in the field of coaching. Well that’s not completely true. It is actually quite meaningful to some; mainly to those who don’t understand the field and the nature of the accreditation in the field (of coaching).


Because Coaching is unregulated throughout the whole world, each body literally makes up their values, standards, governance procedures, processes and therefore their accreditation.


Coaching bodies are in the same boat. They are self-appointed bodies with their own unregulated standards, theories and approaches. Each body tries to regulate the industry and in the process, be seen as better and more important than the others.


The final piece in this point is that most of these bodies are set and forget. That is once accredited, you don’t need to do anything further to maintain the accreditation. The problem with this approach is that without continuous practise and development, skills deteriorate.


Q. What are the standards and governance procedures of the industry body you are accredited through, and how are they maintained through time?


Point 7. The importance of an Intake interview.

The final point is about what we call an “Intake interview”.


For us this is where the rubber hits the road and you get a chance to ask your Coach the difficult questions, experience coaching first hand, identify functional and personal fit between you and your coach. It my view, this  needs to be obligation free and a separate component to the coaching; an exploration together about an important decision.


Which brings us to the end of part two. 


Are you ready to experience coaching? Book your obligation free, fee-free 30 minute Coaching intake session now!


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