8 Keys to Picking the Right Coach

“There’s no question that future leaders will need constant coaching,” notes Ram Charan, author of Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty (McGraw-Hill, 2008). “As the business environment becomes more complex, they will increasingly turn to coaches for help in understanding how to act.”

Willingness to be coached and a good fit are two of the key ingredients for a successful coaching relationship. This was reinforced in a January 2009 Harvard Business Review survey, in which researchers queried 140 top coaches about what companies should look for when hiring a coach.

According to the HBR article, there are two basic hiring rules:

  1. Ensure executives are ready and willing to be coached
  2. Allow them to choose the coach

Unfortunately, many executives select a coach based on referrals from colleagues, without adequately considering personal needs. The person sponsoring the engagement usually sends a few coaches for interviews and asks the executive to select one based on “fit.”

But what does a good fit actually mean, and how do you avoid hiring a coach who feels right but may not challenge you to grow?

Without a greater understanding of what happens in a coaching relationship, it’s difficult to make a fair assessment and pick a good match. As the client, you should do the choosing, but you need some criteria to make the best selection.


This is a brief synopsis of a 2000 & 1000-word article suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete 2,000 word article includes these important concepts:

Pick for Support and Ability to Challenge
Using the Coaching Relationship
Pick for Feedback Loops
Pick for Clarifying Values and Purpose
Pick for Structuring the Development Process
Pick for Broadening Perspectives
Pick for Teaching New Concepts and Skills
Pick for Confidentiality
Pick for Influencing Others’ Views of You
Roles a Coach Should Not Play


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8 Keys to Picking the Right Coach

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