Some Thoughts on Working with an Executive Leadership Coach
The purpose of working with a personal coach is to establish a relationship with someone you can trust who is accountable only to you, providing advice and counsel to you on your effectiveness and the way you do your job.
The benefits of working with a personal coach in this way include:
you establish a relationship with your coach that allows you to be frank about the parts of your job that you're worried or dissatisfied about, and to openly talk about the doubts and insecurities that are a part of every job, especially a senior level job like president or CEO;
you develop a relationship that supports honest feedback from a neutral perspective, both to and from someone who is skilled at listening and observing both themselves and others;
the person you are working with can be maximally effective if they are otherwise deeply involved elsewhere in the change process, so that they have multiple perspectives on your work and your impact upon others.
The process of working with a personal coach varies, but typically involves something like the following:
you interview or consider a couple of candidates;
you select the person with whom you feel most comfortable, and engage them in a contract to work with you, typically for 1/2 to 1 day per week, lasting for 6-12 weeks. Then, depending upon when you feel comfortable enough to change the frequency, and then declining in frequency over time;
you set some personal goals with the coach, based upon those tasks in your job that you feel you're doing well, and those tasks that you'd like to do better on;
your coach would typically interview periodically a few of the key people who report to you, collecting their impressions of you and the way you're doing your job, and then fashion their input and his/her own observations into some actionable feedback for you;
your coach would occasionally shadow you for a half-day per week, observing how well you're doing in achieving the goals that you have set, and give you feedback;
the process continues until you or your coach determine that it's time to recontract or to stop.