By now you may be beginning to see the value of having a leadership coach who will work with you and guide you along the journey of life. But, how do you choose a coach? What are the criteria that you should consider?
Unfortunately, selecting the right leadership coach is often a decision that is made based on a flawed set of criteria.
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Let me just say quickly, in this article, I am going to be dealing with non-technical criteria. Certifications, degrees, and experiences are all technical criteria when it comes to what may make a good coach. I want to focus today on less technical selection criteria.
So, what is the selection criteria?
When possible, you should select a coach with whom you do not already have an established and personal relationship. Why do I suggest such a selection criteria? Don’t you want a close relationship with your coach? Yes. I just don’t feel it is best for it to be a pre-existing relationship. When you have a pre-existing and personal relationship with a potential coach or mentor, they already have formulated an opinion about your leadership ability (or lack thereof).
Here is how that existing relationship will impact the coaching experience.
They already know you and they like you.
This is not ideal because they already have existing positive feelings that may color the tenor and tone of the feedback that you get from them. It may even cause them to not provide key feedback and an objective analysis of your leadership strengths and weaknesses.
When we like someone we tend to overemphasize the “good” in them and minimize the “bad” in them. Tendencies that are holding us back may be seen as “just the way we are” and excused accordingly. “Grace” is much more easily and readily extended toward those that we truly love.
They already know you and they don’t like you.
This is equally problematic to you as the one seeking a quality coach and coaching experience. Just as those that already love us tend to overlook our shortcomings, those that may have a hidden harmful or hurtful experience from your past may tend to want to take this opportunity to “tell you everything that you are doing wrong.”
Why then, would anyone choose someone that they know doesn’t like them? The short answer is that they may not know that those feelings exist. And once they open themselves up and are vulnerable to someone close to them, they may suffer harm from someone who may not have their best interest at heart.
So, how do you choose?
Let me tell you what I have found most successful in my recent history. I have recently asked several gentlemen that I have a great deal of respect for. to help coach me through some challenging times. I do not know either of these individuals very well . . . yet. But, I know enough about them to truly believe that they can speak words of wisdom into my life. And make me a better leader.
My goal in this process is for them to really get to know me through this coaching experience. We will spend our time getting to know one another and my new coach will develop a perspective of my true abilities and capabilities that are free and clear of any predisposed notions about me. They will be based on their own observations and experiences that are gained up close and will be revealed over time. These guys will see me in a variety of situations and will be able to offer their thoughts and provide insights into my challenges that are based upon similar challenges that they have faced.
Through this exploration process, a mutual trust and accountability relationship will develop that will make the advice that they will offer all the more valuable since I see it as being offered from a well thought out position and ultimately from someone in whom I have absolute trust.
And isn’t that what you want?
[reminder preface=”What about YOU?” ]Are you looking for a coach? If so, I have some excellent coaches that I know and can provide an introduction for you.[/reminder]