• Dr. Rajesh Mohan Rai

Executive Coaching: Guide for the HR Professionals

Article originally published in Times of India

Unlike fields of psychiatry and social work, coaching industry even today remains largely unregulated. Anyone can call oneself an executive coach.

Even after 10+ years of executive coaching with 5000+ coaching hours, I am still amazed by how many organizations neglect to ask some of the most crucial and fundamental questions when engaging an executive coach for their leaders.

Investment, duration of the coaching engagement and years of coaching experience are all important considerations during the evaluation process, however, the genuine evaluation of a coach’s ability lies much deeper. Below are a few essential factors that separate quality coaches from others.


Experience:

To effectively support a leader in the role and goals, a coach must have both corporate leadership experience and executive coaching experience. Someone who has spent considerable time in a leadership position will better understand the structure, politics and environment in which the leadership teams operate. With a number of coaching years, a number of leaders coached should also be asked.

Knowledge of Psychology provides a coach with a deeper understanding of human behaviour. Drawing on this knowledge coach can help the leader better understand their leadership style, how their actions and demeanour affect others, and how to develop new behaviours that produce improved business results.

Methodology:

Ask the coach to explain the methodology adopted. The best methodologies are developed over time and through experience. Prior to being engaged, the coach must be willing to invest some time to understand the organization’s desired results from the coaching engagement. The coach should also be able to explain the likely new skills and behaviours the leader will develop through coaching, and how they will be applying them at work.

Philosophy:

During a pre-engagement conversation with the coach, listen for clues that their philosophy aligns well with the Organization’s goals, values and culture. Look for clear signs that the coach is a good match, such as a commitment to ethical coaching practices, and goals that the leader is inspired to work toward.

Metrics:

Organizations measure what matters and the same holds true in coaching. The best metrics to evaluate the impact of coaching to focus on shifting others’ perception of the leader. When change happens, the leader demonstrates this change before it registers with others. Therefore, others’ acknowledgement of improvement is the ultimate endorsement.