This article is part of The Ascender, the Highrise platform for articles and resources.

Finding an Executive Coach: The Ultimate Guide.

Andrew Langat
January 22, 2024
Read our case studies document and learn how Highrise helped other individuals to improve their professionnal skills and careers.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Who, exactly, seeks out a coach? If you ask a coach the answer is usually the same: Winners who want even more out of life.-Abigail Pickus,

An Executive Coach serves as a partner to refine leadership skills for senior executives. These individuals have already proven their leadership acumen by rising to these positions. However, like a top athlete who regularly works with a performance coach, working with an Executive coach ensures that you are ready to face the dynamics of the modern workplace. 

The right executive coach for professional growth and development can be hard to find, but the benefits gained can be endless if you get it right. According to Forbes, 70% of individuals who received executive coaching improved work performance, and 86% of companies recouped their investment in executive Coaching.

Therefore, How does executive coaching differ from mentoring and Leadership Coaching?

How can you find the right Executive Coach?

What strategies can you use to identify an executive coach?

We will break it down in this article and find answers to our questions. 

<div id ="one">

How Does Executive Coaching Differ From Mentoring?

Executive Coaching and mentoring are critical elements for individual and organizational leadership development. However, the two differ, but how?

Coaching is "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential."

On the other hand, mentoring is a reciprocal and collaborative at-will relationship that most often occurs between a senior and junior employee for the mentee's growth, career development, and learning.  

Difference between mentoring and coaching

Learn more here: What's the Difference Between Coaching and Mentoring for Businesses?

Mentoring and Coaching share some similarities, but some differences exist, too. For some context, we can point them out. Here are a few:

1. Training and Skills

Executive Coaches generally undergo formal training to acquire the necessary certification and skills to gain credibility in their students' eyes and the general public.

Mentors, on the other hand, do not go through a formal process of training or certification. Their main concern is passing on their experience and skills through mentoring relationships.

Mentors typically have established domain expertise in their chosen field, so their primary concern is how to pass on knowledge. 

2. Focus

Mentoring relationships are usually long-term relationships that sometimes last a lifetime. These relationships are often voluntary and sometimes start with one goal but evolve to tackle various issues. 

In the context of leadership, the mentee drives mentorship sessions with questions and concerns. The mentor has to sit back and listen, then give advice. 

Coaching relationships, however, take a different route. The coach typically drives training sessions in a structured manner to achieve improvement.

Leadership and executive Coaching are also done in short sessions, typically months or years. The sessions are designed around time limitations, so they can be structured to impact specific problems quickly.

3. Approaches

The approach to training is a crucial difference between Coaching and mentoring.

A Mentor takes a more relaxed approach to their mentee. There are no fixed timelines in the mentoring relationships. This can be done through in-person engagement or the use of mentoring software.

On the other hand, with Coaching,  the coach imparts specific skills using specific tools to those being coached and then lets them find solutions to problems they face. 

4. Personal Touch

Mentoring often has a personal approach. It is an extension of the informal nature of mentoring. A mentor-mentee relationship will involve personal anecdotes and elements of friendship.

Leadership coaching is personal, but many executive coaches are also formal service providers to you. They drive executive coaching sessions with specific objectives related to your career and leadership development.

5. Agenda

Unlike Coaching, the coach and the coach deliberate the agenda before coaching sessions. In a Mentoring relationship, the agenda usually rests with the mentor. The mentee follows what the mentor suggests or advises.

6. Outcomes

Coaching is performance-driven, with clearly defined outcomes often to solve a problem. On this basis, a coaching relationship can be deemed a failure or a success.

<div id ="two">

What are the key differences between Leadership and Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching and Leadership Coaching sound similar and represent some fundamental principles(including professional development), but they differ. Here are a few aspects that

1. Goals and Objectives.

Leadership coaching empowers people to develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence, be more inclusive, and adapt best practices to help them thrive in their leadership roles.

Executive Coaching aims to help executives overcome habits that limit personal or organizational success and increase their skills and confidence to handle complex and dynamic business environments.

2. Responsibilities.

Leadership Coaches help individuals develop skills to navigate evolving demographics flat organizations, such as emphasizing soft skills deep listening.

Executive Coaches aim to assist individuals with managing large organizations, boards, clients and shareholder relationships. They offer guidance, human resources, support, and skill development to executives responsible for making important decisions that impact the organization or company's success.

3. Coaching Duration.

Leadership coaching durations are often shorter and more focused, lasting only a few months. They tend to be more task-specific and goal-oriented.

Given senior executives' complex challenges, executive coaching durations may be more intensive and longer, often spanning several months or years.

4. Focus.

Leadership coaching can assist leaders in enhancing critical leadership skills, such as improving communication skills or effective team dynamics.

Executive Coaching can be valuable for navigating complex situations involving stakeholders and competing company interests. It can provide guidance and support to help executives effectively communicate, negotiate, and make decisions that align with their organization's goals and values.

<div id ="three">

Finding the right Executive Coach

To find the right coach to help you achieve your goals, you must carefully analyze the important components defining an ideal coach. Here are a few steps you can follow to guide when looking for an Executive Coach :

1. Understand Your Unique Needs(Objectives)

What do you need to achieve? This is the most important component when looking for an executive coach.

Whereas finding a good match for an executive coach is easy — a simple LinkedIn search— is all you need, you need to concentrate on finding an executive coach who will address your pain points. It would be best to clearly understand what you want to gain from the coaching relationship process.

Is it to learn how to delegate delegate better? Or manage conflicts in the workplace?

You should ensure that the coach has experience working with a leader like you and is an expert in your field. 

For instance, a new manager and a Fortune 500 executive face different leadership challenges and need other support. Therefore, identify what Coaching you require and find a great coach specializing in your industry.

 2. Review Options.

There is little regulation in the coaching industry; anyone can claim to be an executive coach, and they can scam you in the process. Therefore, you must conduct some research to review some options. 

Start by reviewing certified coaches; there are many ways to find an executive coach, such as browsing online platforms like Highrise Coaching, asking for referrals with previous experience, and joining professional networks. 

After that, review the credentials of the coaches within your industry. Look at their certifications, educational background, experience level, and reputation by checking testimonials from people they may have helped. 

 Through this, you can have a shortlist of the coaches you prefer and interact with them to gauge your preference. 

3. Interact with the Coaches(Before committing)

After compiling a list of potential coaches, you can begin their evaluation. This process will help you gauge their abilities and how best they can help you gain some skills. You can schedule one-on-one meetings, call them, or request trial sessions. 

When interacting with them, assess their approaches, styles, and personalities and gauge how they match your needs. Also, clarify some essential information like their charges(fees), availability, and expectations of the coaching process. 

Additionally, inquire about the assessment tools the coaches might use. An effective coach will employ various assessments to gain insight into your communication preferences, leadership style, and areas you can work on. 

The interaction process will help you identify an ideal coach who will respect your decisions, inspire and motivate you, and challenge you to gauge your improvements and performances. 

4. Finally, Choose an Executive Coach

After interacting with the coaches, it's time to decide. When deciding on your coach, trust your instincts and pick the coach with whom you built chemistry and rapport. Ensure they are a perfect match and fit regarding approach, personality, and communication style traits, which are crucial for a good match and a successful coaching process.

Also, remember that finding the right executive coach may take time, and you must choose someone with the necessary expertise and who understands your unique needs and challenges. 

<div id ="four">

Questions you can Ask your Potential Executive Coach. 

Leadership development coaching is the difference between you becoming better or remaining at the level you were. Therefore, you must pick someone who will equip you with the necessary skills to aid you during your leadership reign. 

Finding the right executive coach requires some due diligence. One way is by researching your options and gauging them by asking various questions. 

Here are a few:

1. What Coaching Method do you use?

Executive coaches work with different methodologies, and this question will help you identify the process they follow and how it can lead to improved results. A Coaching method is essential for clear and effective results. 

Remember to opt for coaching methods that will make it easier to achieve your goals.

2. Any Challenges faced during a Coaching Process?

Executive Coaches can encounter demanding clients who resist taking up their coaching process. Learning how they overcame such challenges and achieved success will show you how resilient, persistent, and dedicated they are to their clients. 

3. What Number of Leaders have you worked with?

An executive coach who has worked with many leaders and has more experience will always appeal to you, and you will be interested in their expertise. 

This question will give you an insight into the business coach's results and the impact of the business coach and coaching program on the business results. Having a measurable outcome, you will compare his achievements to those of the other coaches.

Want to read more from us? Subscribe to our newsletter to read our latest resources

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

<div id ="five">

Challenges Leaders Bring to Executive Coaches. 

You may face daily challenges, and you take some initiative to get assistance from an executive coach. 

So, what are some of these challenges you can bring?

They include the following:

1. Conflict Resolution.

This is one of the most frequently challenging leadership topics for leaders, vital to anyone in a leadership position. No leader likes conflict; a few like having tough conversations with the team members and staff. 

Most leadership roles involve managing feedback, performance, and difficult people. Mishandling these situations can be problematic career-wise or for the performance of an organization. 

This issue can be a challenge; hence, leaders seek professional help handling it in case it arises. 

2. Self-awareness.

We always assume that successful business leaders are full of self-confidence, but some suffer from imposter syndrome, anxiety, self-doubt, and lack of confidence from time to time. 

Such problems are typical, and they keep leaders on their toes. Addressing them will keep them from being a liability to their team members and organization. An executive coach can help you get your mojo back. 

An executive coach will help the leader deal with their insecurity, accept their situations, and transform the anxiety into something positive. With self-awareness, you can prioritize critical areas like strategic planning and work-life balance(between your professional and personal life).

For more insight: How to Improve your self-awareness. 

3. Decision Making. 

What should we do, Boss?

We have 30 new orders but need more stock; how do we handle it?

These can be some of the questions employees ask the leaders, and there is always pressure to make the right decisions. Some become indecisive due to fear, insecurity, and perfectionism. All this can derail a leader's career and performance. 

An executive coach will polish a leader's decision-making style and understand the organization's cultural and commercial context. 

4. Identifying blind spots. 

Blindspots in leadership exist, and even successful leaders face them occasionally. Everyday leadership blind spots include having a know-it-all attitude, emotional decision-making, overconfidence, flip-flopping, and avoiding difficult conversations. 

To be a better leader, one needs to identify these blind spots and work towards correcting them. Life coaching will help teach you essential skills to ensure the leader minimizes their chances of impacting their performance.

5. Work Life Balance.

Achieving the right balance between professional and personal life requires planning and dedication; sometimes, it can be difficult due to economic pressures or other factors beyond your reach.

Fortunately, finding the right business or career coach will help you find ways to create ideal scenarios for other clients and yourself.

6. Managing Change.

Life coaches can guide leaders and equip them with the skills to navigate and manage Change in large-scale operations and evolutionary projects that need some skills. Hire coaches who will help you energize and enthuse others, build momentum, and create a clear vision while supporting those more fearful or reluctant to change.

<div id ="six">

Where do you find the right Executive Coach?

The most reliable way to find the best executive coach is by researching websites such as the International Coaching Federation and well-credentialed sites. In the international best executive coach and federation, you will get the names and contact information of the best executive coaches in the coaching field.

Also, some companies have internal executive coaches or relationships with industries that provide career coaching services; you can find a top company, business, or life coach.

<div id ="seven">

How Can You Maximize Executive Coaching's Value?

To maximize a coaching experience, you should have the mentality to achieve your goals. But how can you maximize the coaching process?

Here are some ways that can help you out:

1. Identify a system and Invest in it.

The Coaching outcomes should benefit you fully, and the owners are on you to pick a system that works for you. Discuss with your own coach or executive coach how to develop a reliable, efficient, consistent performance coaching framework that works for you and can enhance your professional development.

One-on-one guidance during a coaching session with an experienced coach will enable you to better understand their strengths, weaknesses, and leadership styles and seek out and achieve growth opportunities while setting clear, measurable goals for improvement.

2. Always Have Your Goal in Mind.

With the help of the right life coach, prioritize areas that need much work. Focus on the aspects you need to improve; maintaining your goals is essential to ensure a successful life coaching experience.

3. Be Transparent with Your Coach.

An experienced business coach will help guide you towards improvements in your personal and professional life, but they need full transparency and honesty from you. A great business coach needs all the information to make informed decisions on how to help you.

4. Accept Change and Uncertainties.

Executive Coaching requires some degree of acceptance and patience. It might require you to take up new ideas and implement them in your leadership or managerial position. Therefore, to fine-tune your skills, you must dig deeper and focus on the long-term to achieve your goals, even though the journey is turbulent.

<div id ="eight">

What are the Benefits of Executive Coaching?

Executive Coaching can lead to great success stories, but what makes it so important? What are the returns you get from investing in the process?

Here are a few:

1. Enhanced Work-Life Balance.

Executive Coaching can enhance work-life balance by helping leaders develop effective stress reduction strategies, time management, and delegation. A good coach will work with leaders to identify priorities and help them create a work schedule that aligns with professional and personal goals.

An executive coach will help you set boundaries, learn how to delegate activities and prevent work-related stress from getting into your personal life.

2. Improved Leadership Skills.

Executive Coaching is a powerful tool for enhancing leadership skills, offering a personalized and tailored approach to professional development. Through one-on-one interactions with experienced coaches, leaders can gain valuable insights into their blindspots, strengths, and effective leadership styles.

Executive coaches help leaders set clear goals, identify areas for improvement, and develop strategies to overcome challenges. This individualized guidance fosters self-awareness and a growth mindset and encourages leaders to take ownership of their development and personal lives.

Especially now, when the workplace is changing, leaders need to be more equipped than ever, and with the right executive coach, you can add some skills to your arsenal, which can be an essential component.

3. Enhanced Networking and Relationship Building.

Executive Coaching can significantly enhance networking and relationship-building by helping leaders develop interpersonal skills and strategies and foster meaningful connections with such individuals.

Executive Coaches work with leaders to identify networking goals, expand professional networks, and provide guidance on building and nurturing relationships. They will also offer insights into effective communication, active listening skills, and empathy, vital for creating strong, lasting connections.

4. Motivation and Engagement.

Executive Coaching enhances motivation and engagement by aligning leaders with personal and organizational goals, increasing a sense of purpose, and boosting confidence. Executive coaches help leaders identify values, passions, and long-term aspirations, allowing them to connect their work to their intrinsic motivations.

<div id ="nine">

What are Some Challenges of Executive Coaching?

Even for something that has a positive impact, Executive Coaching has its challenges and drawbacks. Here are a few:

1. It's Costly.

Even though it is an investment in professional development, Executive Coaching can be costly. Company Leaders will always choose the most experienced coaches who don't come cheap, which might be expensive, especially if the company or coaching program takes longer.

2. Client Commitment.

Most coaches will want time to work and air out issues affecting mental health with their clients; they only ask for their commitment. This is a challenge because a client may be unable to commit the time required to explore and resolve mental health issues holding them back.

3. Accountability and Responsibility.

Executive Coaching is effective when the client is accountable and responsible. If they cannot, the process can waste time and money. Performance coaching requires dedication, and many coaches will struggle to gain any progress due to this fact.

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

<div id ="ten">

Partner With an Executive Coach  From Highrise

One of our goals at Highrise is to make executive Coaching accessible for everyone. Working with an executive coach accelerates the learning curve and career for growth-minded professionals, making them better negotiators, balancing work & life, giving & receiving feedback, learning how to navigate conflict, and delivering an authentic leadership style.

Join us today and experience the transformative power of executive Coaching. 

Thank you! Your Downloads is here:
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Andrew Langat
Facebook logoTwitter logo
Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.