1. You Need a Confidential/Unbiased Leadership Partner
I find that oftentimes people who work with internal coaches and mentors gain some skills, but the perspective is slanted back toward the organizational culture’s stagnant status quo. If the internal DNA is not healthy, you only make it worse by reinforcing the same limited vision that created it.
You wind up “breathing your own exhaust.” To effectively lead and grow you need a confidante who is an unbiased strategic partner with your best interest (and zero office politics and power plays) in mind. The right coach provides that supportive and valuable perspective and help.
My Advice: You want to be sure you trust this person and are comfortable with them on a gut level. The only way to evaluate that critical quality is to ask them for a complimentary meeting, where you can discuss your goals and assess their qualifications by asking the tough questions.
2. You Need Reliable Advice on Your Timetable, Not Theirs
Attending a seminar may be great, but when you are suddenly confronted with a leadership emergency, it is not going to be much help. You may find that you need a coach on short notice…like 24 hours before you deliver a large presentation, interview for a promotion, or face the media after a corporate scandal makes the news.
Shop for a coach who offers remote access and special private sessions tailored to specific needs or scenarios. I offer my clients, for instance, unlimited access to me via phone, email or Skype. I make it a priority to get back to them within three hours during business hours. That also enables me the flexibility to work effectively with clients who are all over the globe. I want to be there whenever and wherever they may need my brain power and help. Otherwise, what’s the point of being their coach if I do not show up for them on game day, when everything is on the line?
My Advice: Consider the amount of access and responsiveness you get from your coach. Are you a priority for them? Do they charge by the hour? Some coaches do – and if you go one minute over your hour that’s another billable hour. Quiz them before you hire them, to make sure you’re getting VIP service without paying unjustified and unwarranted VIP prices.
3. You Want the Best to Become Your Best
Today’s business world moves at breakneck speed, and those who don’t keep up and move up get passed-up. Time won’t stand still for you. Either you’re ready when the chance for promotion happens, or you’re not…and no company these days can afford to have you learn on the job after you get a new promotion.
Athletes understand. They have a limited window of opportunity to excel before younger professionals overtake them. That’s why the top players and athletes hire the world’s best coaches, with the best track records for success and the most proven success stories.
Most of my clients and I agree that investing in world-class coaching and developing yourself is better than a blue-chip investment. Superior coaching can accelerate your leadership trajectory in record time. I know it did it for me. Plus the sustained ROI is compounded, daily and annually, and can literally change your life
My Advice: Hire second best and you’ll get coached to the level of second best. But if you want to maximize your potential – and you are ready to do the intensive work that may demand of you – then don’t settle for bronze. Go for the gold. You definitely deserve it, and you deserve it and can earn it now, not in some far-away future that may never become reality.
It can be difficult to assess the leadership gaps impeding your results. Many people ask me if they need to hire an executive coach. I always tell them it depends. If you’d like to take an assessment to determine if you need a coach, complete this ( Leadership Performance Opportunity Assessment ). This tool will help you explore greater opportunities to faster accelerate your results and determine if you really need support, accountability and a success partner.