5 Key Qualities To Look For In Your Executive Coach

5 Key Qualities To Look For In Your Executive Coach

There are many key qualities that an Executive Coach must possess. There should be no exceptions. In fact, over the course of the next few weeks I can gladly do a series on these key qualities. But for now, I’d like to highlight the 5 key qualities that you, as a business executive and/or leader, searching for an Executive Coach should look out for.

  1. Authentic (and honest) – in this day and age, it’s very easy to follow the crowd. But the problem with following others is that you’ll only get as far as the entity that you’re following. But if you’re original, you’re going to end up in places where no one has ever been before. And this is a very good thing! You want to be able to think differently and tackle the coaching experience in the best possible way by firstly being an authentic and genuine individual. Coaching is all about the client. That’s why it’s crucial for an executive coach to be as authentic as possible. Being unoriginal will cause stress to your body naturally. And this will show and affect the executive coaching process by not being able to guide your client in the best way possible. Humans are wired to be authentic. Being authentic translates into being honest. And this increases creativity!
  1. Knowledgeable – as an Executive Coach, it is very valuable to be knowledgeable in the field in which you’re guiding your client. However a lot of individuals make the mistake of thinking that  executive coaching is the same as business consulting — it is not! But sure, both positions can be held by the Coach at one point or another. To find more, please see my blog post highlighting the differences between executive coaching and business consulting here. The ability to identify key performance issues is a must. As an executive coach, in my humble opinion, it is very important to be accredited by the highest valued and trusted coaching body in the world — which is the International Coaching Federation (ICF). PCC (Professional Certified Coach) level is usually a must, if not MCC (Master Certified Coach.) This allows the client to know that their Executive Coach is properly equipped with the tools and the process to coach. Furthermore, as an Executive Coach, it could also be very useful to be hold certified accreditations in other development, attitudinal and personality assessments which can be useful. Mastery of assessing 360-degree feedback assessments are crucial. Most executive coaching engagements involve the sponsor — identifying and dealing with the sponsor and other key people in the company of the executive is also very vital. Experiences in learning and development and human relations within large organizations is highly prized. Also, the long years of experience in the C-suite are nothing but benefiting. What better way to understand the leadership/energy questions at the top, when you have also been there yourself?
  1. Non-judgmental – it’s easy to say that a lot of us have opinions on every little thing these days (even on subjects we may not even be familiar with!), so we may be judgmental without even actually realizing it. being judemnetal brings out negative effects on levels of anxiety, depression, and our state of awareness as a whole. As an Executive Coach, it is highly critical to never be judgmental — just because my client has a different social, moral or religious compass than mine, does not give me the right to judge him or her. I am there for guidance after all. Judgmental attitudes usually come from a toxic and negative place within. This is completely not a trait a coach (or any individual for that matter) should possess. It is important for my clients to feel completely at ease while they discuss and/or address their problems to me. Therefore, negativity is simply thrown out of the equation here.
  1. Active listener – it might not be completely obvious at first, but I have come to realize over the years throughout conversations with professionals and outside of my profession, that active listening is a far greater skill than speaking mastery. Think about it. You’re giving a keynote speech to your board members at your company over a highly important manner. They’re all listening to you as you speak, but how many of them are listening to you actively? The highest form of active listening occurs when you’re listening intuitively. And this too can go both ways. How about if you’re not listening actively? You might not realize it, but this has cost executives a lot! I know many business executives who missed out on an important detail during a very crucial meeting that they simply did not bother paying attention to. This has potential to create a corporate mess! Now imagine your own coach not actively listening to you? Not very good, is it? Intuitive listening should improve the mutual understanding in the executive coaching process. This allows my clients to address their thoughts with more depth. And for an open, trusted client-coach relationship it allows for the flow of motivational energy. This will be rewarding, as the coaching engagement will be more effective and productive.
  1. Laser Focused – not just simple plain old focus. But being laser focused. When I’m with my clients, they are my entire focus. There is no exception. Having the highest level of focus is key as being focused is the pathway to all sorts of thinking processes that we possess. As an executive coach, my reasoning, problem solving, decision-making, perception and memory are all dependent on my level of focus. I am a hundred percent committed when I work with my clients. My levels focus can be seen through my levels of commitment. If your Executive Coach isn’t focused, then you’re simply setting yourself up for a disappointing waste of your resources — both time and money. Focus brings out a more positive experience which will guide you in not only successfully reaching your goal but will also allow you to build a better model for understanding yourself. The best benefit I would say is that focus brings a lot of clarity. Continued focus, will translate into a continued stream of consistent and dedicated executive coaching experience. Clarity will allow a smoother sail towards reaching your goals, and make your energy much more manageable.


What other skills should executive coach’s possess to bring in the best possible results for their clients? Feel free to share your thoughts below!



5 thoughts on “5 Key Qualities To Look For In Your Executive Coach

  1. Love this, even though I have not gone through ICF, but hope to one day, I feel the same way which is why I was certified through ASTD as a CPLP, Certified Professional in Learning and Performance, in the D.I.S.C. Behavioral Styles, As a Certified Mastermind Executive Coach, and in Group Coaching. All this said, I am now waiting to have back surgery and due to my pain level I’m now working from home. So I have a question for you, do you think Executives would work with me through Skype or another form of transition? I don’t know if I should reinvent myself, or keep working with leaders since they’re my passion?


    1. Absolutely! You could work through remote communication modes like audio or video calling. Some research indicates that executives’s disclosure is better through non face-to-face modes. I believe if they trust you nothing will stop them to connect with you. Wish you the best for your back surgery. Such temporary obstacles should not derail your well founded passions.




      1. Thank you so much for your response. One other question please, and that is that I usually acquired work from 1. Meeting clients at events (I cannot do now) and through other consultants. Can you please tell me, I’ve tried to get onto Executive Groups in LinkedIn especially to do a 3 question survey, but they won’t let me in their group. Any suggestions as to where to find executives while I’m on my back. They’re not sure I’ll be able to go back to work as I had been, training in companies, so I’m looking for alternative methods now. I certainly appreciate your answers!


      2. You could get the same results by non-meeting interactions. How about blogging about leading issues faced by executives and then offering free sessions that could help? There are few execellent groups on Facebook as well, LinkedIn has a variety too. Also, while on your back, what other resources could you activate?

        Remember, you are unlimited! Make your current situation key part of your new story. There are enough compassionate executives out there.

        Best regards,



  2. How to leave a person when the coaching is only argument? Honestly the person is trying to learn but something is missing. It hurts me when the relation is sour or say bad taste. Coaching for a team is the cause. One person in the team is always causing trouble that is because he is authentic. Wants to go higher higher in his own way.


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