A key coaching trend

One trend that we see on the ground with our clients and with some very successful coaches is the convergence of a variety of professional services – training, consulting, facilitation, and coaching – to serve client needs.

While you can be successful as a pure coach, you can be even more successful if you position yourself as a complete advisor to your clients, willing and able to combine a variety of approaches. Clients want solutions to their pressing problems. They don’t wring their hands worrying about whether you are a coach or a consultant the way that some coaches tend to do.

Here are some examples:

1. Strategic planning. Executives are tired of hiring consultants for huge fees only to get what one of my clients called “young arrogant brains who get off the recent MBA school bus.” A coaching model, combined with a bit of facilitation and some interviews, allows clients to come up with their own answers about strategy while respecting their knowledge and experience. Also, the coach is there to make sure the organization is aligned to implement strategy, and that accountability and action follow agreement about the actual plan.

It is a less invasive, less costly model that has more impact and brings more value to clients. I know, because I’ve been using this approach with clients for over a decade in my own practice, and teaching this methodology as part of the Center for Executive Coaching curriculum.

2. Leadership development/succession planning. Coaching can play a key role in helping organizations develop leaders and implement succession plans. However, why not position yourself at the highest strategic level? Why not be the strategic partner who helps clients shape and implement the overall leadership development and succession planning strategies?

You can, with only some slight adjustments to how you position your services. Instead of being a pure coach, be a strategic advisor to clients who offers a variety of approaches to help strengthen organizations, bake succession planning into the culture, and develop a pipeline of leaders.

3. Performance improvement initiatives. Many coaches feel uncomfortable rolling up their sleeves and getting involved in performance improvement. However, the most successful coaches attach themselves to practical initiatives that are crucial to a client’s success. Through coaching you can help clients navigation change and political landmines associated with improving performance, making tough decisions, setting new standards, and having difficult conversations.

With approaches that go beyond coaching, like training and facilitation, you (or members of your team) can also help employees learn new skills, work better together, and present ideas so that they are embraced throughout the organization. That way, you can broader your reach and the client sees you as a more strategic resource.  

4. Large-scale culture change. Sometimes your client knows that he or she has to change the culture of the organization in order to survive and thrive. Here, coaching alone can make a difference, and we teach a powerful approach to culture change. However, usually large-scale culture change requires changes in structures, systems, skills, and the capacity of the people.

Why not take a lead role in some of these opportunities so that your work is coordinated at the highest level and so that you can have maximum impact? Again, you can see how the convergence of different approaches, when coordinated, can make a huge difference to clients – when the coach is prepared.

Let me ask you a question: Would you rather have the client's most trusted advisor control where you are deployed, or would you rather be the most trusted advisor in control of where you and others are deployed?

5. Non-profit Board development. First, it is a myth that non-profit organizations don’t have funds for coaches. Foundations and donors often provide funds for outside experts. I know this to be true, because this is how my practice started. You can certainly

coach non-profit executives via a pure coaching model.

Why stop there? Non-profits often need help with facilitated board retreats to help boards think about how they can be better. They need help setting strategy. Leadership teams need support recharging and gaining alignment. A pure coaching model would force you to give up these wonderful opportunities.

Coaching is a profession with clear boundaries and competencies. However, in the “real world,” clients want complete solutions to their problems. The savvy coach is prepared to offer a range of solutions and wear multiple hats.

The Center for Executive Coaching may be the only coach training program that prepares you for this reality. If you want to be a pure coach, we prepare you with a practical curriculum that shows you how to gain credibility with clients as an external and/or internal coach. If you want to prepare for the above trend, we show you how to do that, too.

To learn more, please visit http://centerforexecutivecoaching.com and, if you are ready to take action, I would be delighted to speak with you at anytime. My personal email is:



Andrew Neitlich

Founder and Director

Center for Executive Coaching

Author, The Way to Coach Executive & Guerrilla Marketing for Coaches


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