Finding the Right Executive Coach – What You Need to Know

How the best way to select an executive coach to work with individuals, groups, or help with training? Before selecting a coach,  it is vital for you to understand about licensing, credentialing, and certification.

How the best way to select an executive coach to work with individuals, groups, or help with training? Before selecting a coach,  it is vital for you to understand about licensing, credentialing, and certification.

First and foremost, there is no legal requirement for any person to be licensed or credentialed in order to provide executive coaching. There is no state in the United States that regulates coaching. What this means for you is that anyone can put up their shingle advertising executive coaching. In fact, I have encountered too many people who are in this field who do not have the qualifications and experience to give their clients the value they pay for.

In fact, there are too many mental health therapists who provide executive coaching and should not because they severely lack the experience and training. Allow me to explain. Therapists are trained to do one thing very well – therapy. Coaching is a different way of helping people. And many therapists have zero experience of working in the corporate world.

It’s tragic when I hear of C-levels doing executive coaching with a therapist when the therapist does not understand the corporate environment. Why is this important? There is significant research showing the internal environment of an organization is greatly affected by the industry, the growth stage of the organization, the organization’s structure type, the internal culture of the company, the geographical location of the company, and so on.

Most therapists have zero training, experience, and understanding in these components.  Further, it can be very easy for a therapist to accidentally slip into the mode of doing therapy while coaching. In some states, this is illegal and could cost the therapist their license or heavy fines, or both.

If you need help with something that requires a professional therapist, then you should definitely find the right therapist for you. When it comes to working with a solid professional who understands the various components of organizations and their impact on people, then find an executive coach who knows these things.

So what about finding a licensed executive coach? You won’t find one because as stated above, there is not state that regulates coaching. Run away from any so-called executive coach who states they are licensed to do executive coaching and then report them to your state’s attorney’s office.

So what about finding a certified executive coach? This is a mixed bag of very good coaches to very bad ones. Anyone can pay the fees to become certified. Certification means very little. In fact, there are some very good executive coaches who are not so-called certified but are still highly-trained and experienced. Not that you need a bachelor’s degree to be a very good executive coach, but realize there are coaches who have zero education past high school.

There are many coaches, like me, who have earned a master’s degree directly related to this field and also have the work experience in the corporate world. And to toot my own horn a bit more, I also studied counseling and provided counseling to many people. The foundational people-helping skills I learned from counseling is just as good, and probably better, than most coaching programs.

Finally, most executive coaches will not be there for the client when the client has a complaint about the coaching service. I personally know of executive coaches who will not refund a client’s money when the client clearly demonstrated the coaching service did not come close to what was promised.

Before you sign a contract with an executive coach, make sure it’s a good fit. Make sure you have an easy out if after one or two sessions you know it’s not a good fit. Make sure the coach will be easily accessible if you have a question, comment, or concern. Make sure the coach will be transparent with their process.

I’m here for you. If you have any question, comment, or concern, reach out to me anytime.


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