Here are a Few Things You Need to Know
Becoming an executive coach may be an exciting prospect if you feel like you have good interpersonal skills and want to focus more on the human side of things. It can also be a good career alternative for those in senior leadership positions who want a change of pace. Executive coaching is more than conventional life coaching, however, and while experience in the C-suite helps, you need to understand the expectations of your clients and the type of work involved. Here are a few things you need to know before you pursue this career path.
Make Sure that You Have What It Takes
It takes a special type of person to become a coach, and you have to make sure that you have the right set of skills to flourish as one. While communication skills are essential, you also have to be a great active listener, goal-oriented, and have a generally optimistic attitude. Not only that but if you lack confidence, you might have trouble in this field. You also have to be assertive enough to be able to address conflict in a direct yet constructive matter, and not be afraid to confront senior managers.
A good executive coach also needs to be flexible and open-minded. They will be able to see issues from different angles and tailor their solutions based on the specific situation. They know how to get people involved and know which areas they need to put more focus on. Last, but not least, executive coaches need integrity, as they will need to respect the confidentiality of the people they serve, be honest, and act in an ethical way.
You Need a Sound Coaching Philosophy
There are a number of coaching styles out there, but not all of them will fit your personality. Though executive coaching might seem all the same at the surface, you can concentrate on specific areas which may be more of interest to you, or where you can employ your personal skills better.
You could become a career coach, personal coach, or leadership coach, for instance. You could then build your brand based on the philosophy you espouse. Each will also have roles that may or may not overlap. A career coach isn’t going to be brought in to teach teams how to improve their conversion rates or turn around a department with low morale, for example.
A side benefit of doing this research is that you’ll learn far more about coaching in general, and you might even realise that this career path isn’t for you. You may find that you don’t have the patience to deal with demanding C-suite executives who want to take things to the next level, for example. Or you may not be able to deliver the flexibility in scheduling and format they demand. These are all things you’ll have to consider before you start considering working as a coach.
You Need the Experience Your Clients Value Before You Can Start
You have to know that you’ll need some sort of managerial or executive experience if you want to be taken seriously as a coach. A potential executive isn’t likely to take advice from someone who has never headed a large organisation. So, if you want to become an executive coach, you will first need to get experience in management, and then get your certification.
One of the options is to get an ILM Level 7 Coaching Certificate after a few years in leadership. You can do this through an accredited course provided through the BCF Group will allow you to get your ILM Level 7 Coaching certification that will be recognised across the globe. Their ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching Courses will teach you some of the core skills you need to be a good coach, but will also help you to deliver your services more confidently and extend your field of competence. With ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring, organisations will know that you have the skills to mentor them, which will help you get your foot in the door and build a client base faster.
Recognize the Difference Between Coaching and Advising
Coaches aren’t advisors, but there is often confusion about the two roles. For example, both advisors and coaches provide leadership and help deliver results, however, their overall goals and those of the clients that hire them are very different.
An advisor may have a long-term relationship with someone, but their advice will often be very narrow and specific. A coach, on the other hand, has a client-centered relationship that focuses on the client. They may be called to cultivate talent on the sales team or teach the manufacturing leads on how to take responsibility for the quality, for instance.
As a coach, you’re there to help leaders make better decisions. The goal is to prepare them to make better decisions, whether evaluating all the options without judgment or making better data-driven decisions.
An advisor tends to give their clients solutions to particular problems or points out pending issues that need to be resolved so the organisation can accomplish its goals. You’re the one solving their problems. So, while it is possible to be both an advisor and a coach, you’ll frustrate your clients when you try to teach them how to be problem solvers when they hire you to do it for them.
Know that Not Everyone Is a Potential Client
If your clients aren’t happy with your performance, your coaching business will fail. However, the problem might be a mismatch between their goals and your philosophy. This is why you must have a process for assessing whether potential clients are a match.
Know how to evaluate the issues, problems, and challenges they have relative to what you can provide. Be willing to refer them to other coaches who specialise in those areas. They’ll typically reciprocate when someone approaches them that is not a fit.
Understand Your Pricing Model
Know your pricing model before you sign up for your first client because that’s the price others will expect you to work for. Do your research so that you set a reasonable price given your expertise, your clients and market conditions. The method of coaching you deliver and your experience may factor into the equation. For example, you might charge more for in-person meetings than coaching over the phone.
You also want to know in advance how much you’ll charge if an executive asks you to train an entire team. Determine at the onset if you’re going to have a lump sum package, daily pricing model, membership model, hourly rate, or performance-based pricing model. Don’t forget to draft the necessary contracts so that you can present this to clients ready to sign up.
Becoming an executive coach is a great option for those who are built for it, and want to help businesses in a different way. Make sure that you know what this job entails, and the steps you’ll need to take to become a respected and in-demand coach.
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