by Susan Cramm

Q&A About Working With an Executive Coach

Aug 01, 20052 mins

Q: I believe your ground rules are more applicable when the coach is from outside, rather than within, the organization. How different is it when the coach and the coached are in the same company or even the same department?

A: Depending on your company, your internal coach may actually be more of a mentor—someone who serves as a sounding board with no specific performance objectives, agenda or approach. If you are, in fact, in an internal coaching relationship, then it is much more difficult to ensure impartiality and confidentiality—two elements that are critical to securing the trust that is so fundamental to productive coaching relationships. In addition, it may be much more difficult for the coach to be tough, given that the client is part of the same organizational community.

Q: What are your thoughts on the characteristics of the best coaches? Do you think someone with practical experience (such as yours) tends to make a better coach than someone without that experience?

A: The best coaches are teachers and counselors by nature. They care deeply about helping other people and are perceptive. They are able to form trusting relationships in which they can offer their knowledge and insights in ways that resonate with others. The background of a coach, from which he or she acquired skills and knowledge, is important depending on your needs and coaching objectives.

Q: How does one move into executive coaching? As a former CIO, management consultant and adjunct professor, I would enjoy helping folks become the next generation of CIOs.

A: As with any career move, do your research, establish your qualifications and marketing pitch, and start networking. Good luck!

Q: I am recruiting online coaches and would like to learn of any qualifications to become an online coach, as well as the payment and pricing structures used in the industry.

A: I don’t know anything about online executive coaches, other than to say that online advice sites have been tried and haven’t succeeded, to my knowledge. People like to get to know experts whom they pay, and that’s hard to do on a website.