What Are the Risks of Working with an Executive Coaches?

Organizations considering hiring executive coaches should understand risks associated with it before making decision so they don't end up regretting it later on.

What Are the Risks of Working with an Executive Coaches?

Whether it's reflected in pop culture episodes of “Silicon Valley” and “Billions” that come to mind or when you take a quick look at your LinkedIn feed, it seems that lately everyone is looking for an executive coach or claims to be one. While it's great that the value of developing better leaders is highlighted, the popularity of coaching also has a risky side. CEOs who are thinking of hiring an executive coach should be aware of these risks in order to avoid potentially disastrous results for both their organizations and themselves. A senior partner at a major private equity firm had received negative feedback about his ability to delegate.

While he didn't really see this as a problem, the firm managed to get him to agree to meet with an executive coach to work on this essential leadership skill. The coach had been highly recommended, and the two shared an instant relationship and began meeting frequently. However, what emerged in the following weeks was not what the organization needed or expected. It turned out that the executive reminded the coach of her dear father, who recently passed away. As a result, the coach lost all objectivity and went on to play the role of advocate, which basically reinforced his client's incorrect beliefs that the negative comments he received were unfair and not based on facts.

It's possible that the coach had good intentions, but the unconscious and unrecognized feelings between them caused a deeper divide between the executive and the other senior partners. This caused lasting internal conflicts in the organization and damaged the credibility of the human resources director, who had hired the coach, but was now forced to press against this external expert whom she once supported. Because of this wrong and probably poorly trained coach, the executive saw no need to change his behavior and the whole matter was resolved abruptly and clumsily. His team's staff turnover increased in the following months, causing damage to reputation and collegial relationships that were irreparably damaged. Executive coaching is essentially a framework for helping motivated professionals learn new behaviors.

Learning and adapting to new practices requires time and effort, so be wary of anyone who offers simple solutions or quick solutions. Effectively executed, coaching results in what psychologist Dr. Robert Kegan refers to “transformational learning”, that is, a deep understanding of how people can change their behavior. Coaching involves a deep knowledge of the environment that surrounds the executive and an awareness of behavioral reinforcements and cultural variables that can act as obstacles. A credible coach must be able to identify and articulate all the forces that maintain behavioral patterns and develop a compelling plan to address them.

Finally, a good coach must not only be an expert in understanding others (their motivations, insecurities, personality strengths, weaknesses, and the like), but also in understanding themselves. An essential prerequisite is to have a coach who has not only been trained on how people can change their behavior, but who is also aware of their own motivations. A good question when selecting an executive coach is if he or she has been trained before and what that experience was like. What did they learn about themselves and what surprised them? They should know what it's like to receive 360-degree feedback, for example, and have substantial experience as part of successful organizations and teams. They should also feel comfortable talking about training commitments that didn't go well for them. One risk that a company may face when hiring a coach is the financial investment made.

Training services can cost a lot of money, and some coaches charge several hundred dollars per hour. Add in the fact that coaching services can last several months, and all the fees add up. This financial aspect becomes a problem when a company hires someone who isn't doing what a coach is supposed to do. As a client, see if your coach is working with you in an open way. If your coach is the type to ask you what you want to do on a particular business day without stating any long-term plan or an end of the game in mind, that's a clue that you're working with someone who's probably only interested in earning money.

A good coach sets a schedule for meeting goals with a final goal, and there must be a deadline for meeting objectives under the final goal. The coach must measure progress based on metrics. On the other hand, some coaches may rely on their clients depending on them to find solutions instead of making them work according to their conditions, resulting in long-term use of their services, resulting in more profit for them. Traditional workplace culture has become outdated. Technological progress, employee expectations, and modern ways of working during the pandemic have influenced how workplaces work and how we expect them to work. Getting an executive coach who doesn't have experience presents several risks for companies and for those being trained.

Undertrained or unscrupulous coaches can make false promises or follow instincts that are blatantly selfish and cause real harm to leaders and organizations. Organizations usually have good networks of people with whom they partner to check if there are good references from accredited coaches. As noted above, coaches cannot successfully work with clients unless they fully understand structure and culture of organizations they work with. Knowing risks associated with hiring executive coaches makes it imperative for organizations or hiring officers have list things that make coaches great. Uexcecelerate simplifies implementation of coaching in organizations with its flexibility and online availability. Before hiring one, interview several candidates and check if their personality, training style and ability fit intended customer and organization's goals and objectives.

Organizations themselves often hire executive coaches when they see one of their executives has performance gap needs addressing. It's also important for organizations consider financial investment made when hiring coaches. In conclusion, it's important for organizations considering hiring executive coaches understand risks associated with it before making decision so they don't end up regretting it later on...

Désirée Lejeune
Désirée Lejeune

Certified zombie lover. General internet maven. Hipster-friendly beer maven. Evil zombie ninja. Amateur internet junkie. Freelance travel evangelist.

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