In last months New Synergist Insights I discussed the “Best Places to Work”. These types of ratings can help organizations create a strategic roadmap for future success. Utilizing a Business or Executive Coach may also provide tools supporting strategies that can improve the performance of business leaders and thus, the performance of the organizations that they lead.

The business coaching industry has seen a rapid expansion in the last 15 years or so. By some measures the business coaching industry exceeds $1 billion in the United States alone. The corporate sector uses coaches to develop both executives and promising up-and-comers. Government agencies are also helping to fuel the growth of this industry.

One important note about the coaching industry is that it is not regulated. Coaches can train at a coaching institute, via various University certificate programs, or not at all. While I believe in the value of Business coaches, it is important to understand how to choose a Coach in order to get the value you desire.

First and foremost, who needs a Business Coach? Just about every leader or executive can find value when utilizing the right Business Coach. Value can be seen when attempting to ensuring top performance, developing high potential talent, supporting transitions, etc. While it is not necessarily typical, an Executive Coach can even provide support for issues such as work life balance.

Second and arguably most important is the selection of the right Executive Coach. Is the Executive ready and willing to work with a Coach? Can the Business Coach develop a relationship with the Executive that will support
progress towards established goals?

Finally, does the methodology of the Business or Executive Coach support the needs of the Executives that have been targeted for Coaching? How does the Business Coach intend to help the Executive identify real or potential issues and make any necessary corrections? Does the methodology of the perspective Business Coach support a six or twelve month engagement or is it open-ended? How does the Coach measure success?

Ultimately, customer satisfaction is the one of the most important measures of success for an Executive Coach. Organizations should also insist on quantitative measures as well. Sound measures of success can also provide a better understanding of the value of any leadership development programs your organization is using to prepare leaders for executive positions.