Over the last decade, coaching has become more recognized as one of the most effective ways to develop leaders. Coaching allows an individual leader a third party objective perspective on developing leadership capability. The coach serves as a sounding board for the leader to explore both the what and the how of their leadership. The role of the coach is to foster exploration, not to have the answer or be the expert.
In the end, the selection of the best coach for you is really about you feeling comfortable with the individual. Is this person someone you can open up to and will have your best interests at heart? Will the coach push you and challenge you to get out of your comfort zone? Are they committed to your success? Do they have experience to draw on that is relevant to you?
The questions below are some that might help you interview and assess for fit and experience.
Question 1: What is your background and work experience?
One of the first things you should look for in a coach is the depth of their work experience. You should understand how long have they been working, as well as how much experience they have working in the real world.
Question 2: Why did you become a coach?
In getting to know your potential coach, you are looking for the coach’s value statement with this question. What value does the coach feel she can bring to your success? What problems do they feel they are solving? How does that align with your needs?
Question 3: What is your coaching experience?
Similar to work experience, the coach’s actual coaching experience is vitally important. You should seek to understand the variation in the experience of the coach. What experience has the coach had that is similar to your situation?
Question 4: What is your coaching specialty or the areas with which you most often work?
Coaches typically specialize or work in certain areas consistently. Look for those areas the coach has worked in that you can relate too. Finding a coach that specializes in something that directly relates to you and your situation is very desirable.
Question 5: What is your approach or philosophy about coaching?
What you want to look for here is the coach’s emphasis on capacity building, not problem solving. The coaches overall philosophy should revolve around building your capacity to achieve your goals and objectives.
Question 6: How do you measure success?
What you want to look for here is that there is some formal mechanism to measure the effectiveness of the coaching. This could be specific development goals or a pre-post assessment. You are looking to ensure it is not simply how the coachee feels.
Question 7: How do you manage interaction with my boss, etc.? What is your approach to confidentiality?
Here you want to feel comfortable that what is discussed in the coaching session is kept confidential. You also want to feel comfortable with the level of interaction the coach might have with the organization or your boss.
Question 8: What are some coaching success stories?
Ask for some specific examples of individuals who have done well. You are looking to see if your ideas of success match. Can you picture yourself as the next success story with this coach?
Question 9: What are some examples of failure as a coach or a situation that you felt like you failed in?
Everyone, including coaches, have situations where they have had less than desirable results. You should be looking for humility, honesty and personal evaluation in your coach. These are vital characteristics that are found in great coaches.