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Questions to Ask Before Hiring
a Coach

The best coaching partnerships begin with a period of reflection, used to consider the key expectations, levels of commitment and stylistic preferences necessary to produce positive outcomes.  Coaching is a highly collaborative and interactive approach to professional development that relies on clarity in these areas to foster a productive relationship and drive results.  Leaders considering hiring an Executive Coach should review the following questions to effectively communicate desires, expectations and preferences at the onset of the partnership.  

What current challenges am I trying to improve or overcome?

It is helpful to accurately identify and communicate the key opportunities for professional development.  By describing the unfavorable or unrealized potential in current circumstances, leaders can provide their coach with valuable information about the performance measures that matter most and identify areas for targeted coaching intervention.     


What are my goals for a coaching partnership?

Discussions about potential outcomes for the coaching relationship at the onset of the partnership not only ensures that all parties are operating with the same goals in mind, but also provides an opportunity for the coach to introduce goals that may be beyond the leader’s current frame of reference.  Leaders should consider goals for the coaching relationship and come to early sessions prepared for collaborative discussions designed to expand the leader’s perspective of what is possible and develop an inspired approach to professional development.    

What is my current readiness for change?


Questions separating a desire for change from a willingness to change is an important exercise for anyone considering a coaching partnership.  Coaches are in a position to identify opportunities for change and develop strategies to produce successful outcomes, yet this work is only valuable if leaders are prepared to navigate change within the organizations they lead.  Leaders need to be ready for change and willing to commit to implementing the strategies necessary to fully realize organizational potential.    


How will I prioritize coaching in my professional life?

Coaching, like any other partnership, requires time, attention and commitment to ensure positive results.  Leaders are often daunted at the prospect of adding an additional obligation to their already busy professional lives.  However it is important to evaluate the short-term commitment of one to two hours per week with a coach to the long-term growth potential this type of partnership can cultivate.   

How will I respond to feedback from colleagues about my leadership approach?

Effective coaching partnerships rely on feedback from colleagues about areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Colleagues may include mentors, advisors, managers, peers and direct or indirect reports. Although care must be taken when creating the list of contributors to the coaching relationship, leaders must be prepared to disclose the coaching relationship and openly receive feedback from others regarding evaluations of leadership performance.

Am I comfortable with assessments and other objective measures of leadership performance?  

Objective assessments of leadership skills provide valuable insight about leadership strengths, blind spots and opportunities for improvement compared to a national or global normative group of those at the same professional level.  These instruments are not predictive of leadership potential.  Instead, they function as leadership evaluations against key performance metrics that can be used to capitalize on proficiencies and mitigate maladaptive leadership behaviors.      

Am I willing to commit to action when issues have been identified?  

Leaders who appreciate leadership insights but remain unwilling to act on behalf of those insights are missing a valuable opportunity to improve themselves and the organizations they lead. The single best predictor of successful outcomes from the coaching partnership is a willingness to act and implement change quickly once a leadership goal has been identified. Strong leaders gain insight, act and learn from the challenges change can present.

What metrics will I use to define successful outcomes from the coaching partnership?  

One of the disciplines developed over the course of a coaching partnership is the habit of beginning with the end in mind.  This practice goes beyond typical goal setting and considers the outcomes one can expect when the goals are fully realized.  It is essential for the leader and coach to be aligned when it comes to goals and expected outcomes to effectively design the strategies that lead to a holistic definition of success.     

If these questions have you intrigued about the benefits of coaching in your professional life, click here for more information.  

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