You get a call from a prospective client. Let’s say they want you to provide executive coaching for a group of executives in the company. Here are some questions to ask to be sure you understand the opportunity. Note that the prospective client will expect you to have suggestions, and we teach you options when you join the Center for Executive Coaching for executive coaching certification. However, it is best to begin by understanding the client’s own perspective and ideas:
- Why do you want coaching for these individuals? What is driving this request? (Get to the root challenge or opportunity. It has to be large enough and strategic enough for the coaching to have meaning and significance. Exploring this questions alone can take some time.)
- What outcome do you want when the coaching is successful?
- How do you see us measuring progress towards this outcome?
- Who else besides the direct clients will be involved in the process? What updates will they want? Related to this, how willing are you to maintain confidentiality about what’s shared in the coaching sessions (results should show up outside the coaching)?
- How do you see this process working out? Examples of questions to ask to go deeper on this topic include: Will this be individual and/or group coaching? What assessment tools do you already use? Are you open to an assessment phase? How long is the coaching relationship? How often do you see the client meeting with the coach?
- How are the direct clients selected? Are they ready and excited about being coached? What communications are still needed to get them excited? (Also, confirm that this is not something other than leadership coaching and investment in top talent — for instance, progressive discipline, or coaching someone the organization already knows it doesn’t want to employ.)
- Who else is involved in the decision process to move forward and secure funding?
- What is the timing to get started?
- What is your experience with using executive coaches?
- What budget do you have for this?
- What else is important to discuss?
These are only a few questions to answer. When you join the Center for Executive Coaching we make sure you are prepared to have a dialogue with prospective clients — whether as an internal or external coach — to set your engagements up for success.