“What I look for before accepting the ideal coaching client.
Often my potential clients will ask me what I consider to be the ideal client who will succeed with my unique brand of leadership development coaching. After developing hundreds of leaders I've worked with every type of personality, leadership style and have witnessed all sorts of behavioral quirks. This experience has taught me what characteristics to look for in a leader who is about to receive coaching from me.
Here are the top three qualifying attributes I look for when deciding to accept a new client.
1) Teachability - If you are a leader who feels the leadership coaching was forced upon you, or you dislike learning of any kind, then you are not going to be teachable. Our work will be a struggle right from the start. So first and foremost I look for teachability in all the leaders I coach. The determining factor for me to assess teachability is the leader's attitude about coaching. If they are telling me of a strong desire to learn, grow and become a better leader, then I know I am working with a good candidate.
2) Willing to Commit - Coaching with me is at minimum a three-month commitment, but for most of my clients the engagement is far longer, sometimes years. So I look for the leader's (and company's) reaction to the three-month commitment concept. If they were hoping to "quick fix" their leadership issues in a few sessions or a few weeks, then we are not a good fit to work together. Behavioral change is a journey, not a race. Like a long journey, to reach the destination of real change, my clients understand the commitment needed and are willing to dedicate an hour or two a week for three months or more to achieve their desired result. In fact, they are eager to do whatever it takes to become a better more effective leader.
3) Willing to Be Honest - Leaders are already in a very select club. Executive leaders have an even smaller group of people with whom they can discuss challenges. What this means is that most leaders feel unable to be vulnerable, honest about their deficiencies, and overall have very few other people to talk with about core issues. In my sessions honesty is critical. I push leaders to dig deep into their lives, past, and attitudes about specific issues. By being completely honest with me and themselves in our sessions, leaders I coach achieve breakthrough results. A leader unwilling to bring honesty to our discussions will become frustrated quickly when my proposed solutions miss the mark because they left out critical and honest data about themselves. Want a great example, read about one of my clients Tom, here. So if we commit to working together remember I will push for your honesty always and will call you out when you are holding back. I also work in total confidentiality.