posttrib
FLAWLESS 
Weather Updates

Questions to ask about executive coaching

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 48919990
tmspicid: 6294841
fileheaderid: 2920042

Updated: May 12, 2013 11:00PM



As May is International Coaching Month, this might just be the right time to determine if executive coaching is for you, but where do you start?

Possibly these tips or suggestions will help you make a better informed decision.

Before you do your local Internet search, ask some friend or call your local Chamber of Commerce. Ask why you desire a coach? Possibly this question might give you greater clarity:

• What has kept me from achieving or getting me or my business to where I want to be?

Answering this question is critical not only to your success as the “coachee,” but to the success of the executive coach.

Second if you believe you have found the right executive coach, consider asking to speak to his or her clients to validate measurable results. These questions may help you.

• Did you achieve your desired results?

• How long did it take for those results to be achieved?

• What was the best experience from this coaching process?

• Are you still a client of this coach?

• Would you recommend this coach?

• Why did you hire this coach over another coach?

• Were the sessions engaging and fun?

Third the time frame of the executive coaching session is important. Sessions should start out weekly with a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of two hours. Each coaching session should be scheduled to provide opportunities of reinforcement, feedback and practice. Sessions should not interfere with the productivity of the “coachee.”

Fourth, executive coaching should be curriculum centered as there will be knowledge gaps. Many coaches have incorporated audio learning into their sessions. Learning knowledge research suggests that a one-time exposure to a learning event generates 50% retention after 24 hours. Remember cramming the night before for those yearly high school or college finals? After 48 hours, retention is only 25% and drops to 2% after 16 days.

Fifth, any executive coaching that takes place without an assessment is malpractice by the executive coach in my humble opinion. Assessments establish a benchmark from which future progress can be measured and provide greater clarity for all involved.

Additionally, the results from the assessment should be integrated into both an action plan and a goal achievement process. Why take the assessment if you do not use the data? Make sure you ask the executive coach about their coaching process including other assessments, curriculum and other tools.

Sixth, be prepared to be uncomfortable. Great coaches have a way to open up the window to your fears and self-imposed limitations. You may be asked to engage in behavior that is not comfortable such as goal setting or writing daily accountability summaries.

Seventh, the investment depending upon your geographic location and the experience of the coach may range from $100 to $500 per hour. In many cases, the assessments, the curriculum, the unlimited emails and emergency phone calls are included within the hourly fee. Remember, for every hour you and your coach are meeting, the coach may have already invested 30 to 60 minutes preparing for your session. From my knowledge, most executive coaches do not charge for non-billable time like lawyers do.

If athletes use multiple coaches, then does it not make sense to consider hiring an executive or small business coach to support you in your endeavors to be the very best you can be? Possibly the words of Bob Nardelli, the former CEO of Home Depot may resonate with you:

“I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities.”

P.S. Shout Out – Tommy B’s is a new steak restaurant in Valparaiso and over in Hammond there is always Freddy’s Steakhouse.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.