Here are 10 thoughts on how to pick the right executive coach:

The right executive coach can help you navigate complex business issues; the wrong one is a time and money waster. Here’s how to tell the difference.

An executive coach can help all businesses see problems differently as they begin transitioning from scrappy startup founder to leader. But not all coaches are created equal, and investing energy time and money into a coaching relationship shouldn’t be taken lightly if the benefits are unclear to you.

1. Find someone you share chemistry and mindset with.

Do not be afraid to ask questions. Consider this: if you were about to purchase a home, would you be too shy to voice your concern over the structure? Absolutely not! This is a major investment–you’d be asking all kinds of questions. You should treat your relationship with an executive coach similarly. Get into the finer details, see where their head is at and make sure you match up.

2. Find a couch that will hold you accountable.

As your business grows and changes, you’ll likely outgrow coaches and find new ones who are better aligned with the stage you’re at in your business. Early on, it’s important to find a coach who will keep you accountable to your major goals, not just someone who starts every call with, “So, what are we talking about this week?”

3. Ask for complete honesty.

Your coach may sometimes have to be very blunt. While your coach should try to understand that you don’t know everything, they should also be able to call you out when you are about to make a mistake. Listen to the stories they tell about their early experiences–your mentor should be relatable and trustworthy.

4. Look for someone with opposing strengths.

Look inward for your weak areas before looking outward. Find someone who’s strongest where you are weakest.

5. Ensure goodwill towards you and your company.

A good coach will take a genuine interest in your success and in you as a person. Some of the best coaches aren’t paid for their services.

6. Seek out someone eager to teach by example.

The smartest and most effective leaders demonstrate how something should be done so you can follow their example. Otherwise, you may end up with an expensive “expert” who will regurgitate “management best practices” he may have read in a textbook.

7. Be a mentor, instead of a “coach.”

A younger founder would benefit much more from a mentor, preferably a seasoned entrepreneur in a similar industry who can show them the ropes and provide intros and insight based on actual issues they’ve encountered and overcome.

8. Look for someone who admits their failures.

Your failures are the most important things you have to develop who you are as a person and a business. An executive coach should be able to talk about his/her failures openly as they’ve learned from their past mistakes.

9. Ensure they are trustworthy and objective.

No man is an island unless you are a founder. You have access to mentors, a team, investors and maybe even a board. But there are some things you may not want to share with them so as to not raise any “red flags.” An executive coach can provide support in these areas and help to build emotional awareness, navigate challenges with confidence and develop strong communication skills.

10. Ensure they bring out your best thinking.

One of your best assets is your own brain and gut instinct–it’s important to find a coach who can listen deeply and facilitate¬†your¬†best thinking, not just tell you what to do or jump straight to answers without first helping you organize your own thought process. Innovation will come from the combination of your two skill sets–look for someone who will complement, not overpower you.

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