In a previous blog post, What is Executive Coaching, I wrote about the difference between executive coaching and coaching. For example, executive coaching is focused on the needs of the leader and the needs of the organization, rather than the leader alone. It is highly individualized and is a three-way partnership between the leader, executive coach, and the organization. The leader’s goals must always link back and tie into the organization’s strategic and organizational objectives.
In order for the executive coaching engagement to succeed and meet its goals,there needs to be a good ‘fit’ between the leader and executive coach. There isn’t one equation that guarantees an ideal ‘fit’ due to the uniqueness of every coaching engagement and the personalities of participants. Nonetheless, effective executive coaches should possess a core set of characteristics that will contribute towards establishing ‘fit’ in professional coaching relationships.
If you are considering engaging the services of an executive coach, here are seven characteristics that every effective executive coach should possess:
1. Self-confident: independent, objective, comfortable to be around, comfortable with senior leaders, and has wisdom gained through professional and personal experiences;
2. Positive thinker: optimistic, resilient, has an appropriate sense of humour, is imaginative around new possibilities and conveys hopefulness;
3. Goal-oriented: models the setting and pursuit of goals, shows persistence, and does not give up when faced with a challenge;
4. Assertive: able to assert themselves appropriately, maintains boundaries and limits, addresses conflict directly and constructively, communicates respectfully, and is able to confront senior leaders;
5. Advanced Interpersonal skills: empathetic towards others, sensitive to their own style, demonstrates tact, learns and remembers other people’s most important concerns, and uses active listening skills to pose powerful questions that facilitate reflection or problem solving;
6. Open-minded and flexible: able to understand and appreciate different perspectives, tailors approach to each situation, is inclusive and involves others, and is able to focus on the most important issues and concerns;
7. Personal Integrity: maintains confidentiality, acts ethically, and is honest and trustworthy.