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When to Hire a Management Coach

There seems to be an endless number of coaches out peddling their services these days -- fitness coaches, life coaches, and, of course, management coaches. The Enlightened Manager blog, written by Emergence Consulting but surprisingly objective nonetheless, yesterday offered some tips on when coaching may be fruitful.

The blog lists four necessities for a healthy coach-client relationship:

  1. Desire for Change: Does the client have a genuine desire to change and are they willing to put in some time and effort to do so?
  2. Transparency: Will the relationship be transparent?.... Any feedback I give a client's manager also needs to be given to the client. Otherwise there can be no trust.
  3. Time Commitment: Coaching is not a short term intervention. Behaviors change over time, and for a coaching relationship to be successful it needs to unfold over weeks and months, not days.
  4. Clear Goals: Are there clear goals for the coaching relationship, and do all parties agree to them?
With so many coaches around, how can you choose between them? Though there are few certifying bodies, the obvious checks will help you find a qualified experts -- make sure to look at a coach's references, experience and educational background. Also, be wary of anyone charging an extreme amount. Dirt cheap or outrageously expensive fees do not bode well.

The blog also offers some examples of situations when coaching can be genuinely beneficial:

  1. You have a manager that is technically strong but who has some communications problems or "people skills" deficits
  2. A leader who is mired in organizational politics or complexity and who needs an outside perspective
  3. Leaders being groomed for a promotion.
If your team is struggling with any of these situations and meets the four qualifications above, coaching may be the right fix.