The Top 7 Reasons to Get an Executive Coach

As an executive coach, I have helped many clients in the US, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. From my experience, here are the 7 most common problems or opportunities that lead people to seek executive coaching. 


You Want Good Start in New Role – People can get a new job by joining a new organization or by making a move within an organization (e.g., as a promotion or lateral move). Either way, a fast start in the first weeks and months in a new role can be critical to long-term success. An executive coach can help clarify and track goals for the first 100 days, navigate relationships with new colleagues, and identify skills needed to pick up to succeed in the new role. Hiring an executive coach at the start of a new role can be a smart, well-timed investment.

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You Want to Get a New Role – Career advancement often means getting a promotion or new role with your current employer or finding a new employer. Either way, an executive coach can be particularly helpful in securing a new role. Coaches can help clients clarify goals and target jobs. They can also help clients put their best foot forward in applying and interviewing for new jobs. That can include reviewing your resume to doing practice job interviews with you.

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Your Employer Identified You as “Hi-Potential” – Some employers identify employees with the highest potential as future leaders in the company and target them for investments in their development as leaders. This identification process can often be synchronized with performance assessment cycles. These investments often take the form of training programs and executive coaching. Many times, training and coaching are offered as a pair to get the biggest impact in learning and applying new skills. Employers may have a set of executive coaches for their employees to choose from, or they may reimburse coaching fees paid to a coach the employee finds.



Your Employer Identified You as “Needs Improvement” – Employers will sometimes offer coaching to employees who have been rated as needing improvement in their current roles. Coaching may be part of a spectrum of services employers offer to employees who are not meeting the expectations of their job to give them the best chance of an improvement in performance. In this case, the HR/People department often finds and pays for the coach to work with the employee.

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You Need to Fix a Challenging Work Relationship – People often seek a coach to help them work through problems they are having with a difficult relationship at work. These difficult relationships can be with a manager, direct reports, colleagues, or even with customers or other external parties. Coaches can help work through problematic relationships by helping identify points of conflict, role playing to prepare for difficult conversations, and identifying tactics and strategies to solve underlying problems.

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You are Facing a New Opportunity / Challenge – Sometimes people seek a coach when a big problem or opportunity presents itself at work and they want help to make sure they handle it as best they can. For business owners, this can be when new competitors, partners, or investors (e.g., private equity firms). For individuals, this can be when executive recruiters call. For executives, this can come during regular strategic planning processes. In these situations, clients often look for coaches with specific expertise in the industry or function they are in to get targeted help.



Want to Fill a Skill/Behavioral Gap – Some people proactively target themselves for self-improvement and get an executive coach to help. Maybe they have seen the benefit of having a coach to help them in another area (e.g., golf game, physical fitness, financial planning) and decide to try it at work. Sometimes their boss has told them they could benefit by improving in some area. Sometimes they have self-identified their needs. Common areas that people ask me to help with are to improve their “executive presence,” to help them prioritize and manage their time more efficiently, and to get to a more sustainable work/life balance. Experienced coaches often have a set of proven tools and frameworks to help clients with these common problems.

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