Most executives and business leaders understand the value of having a coach and how coaches can help accelerate change and boost performance. Over the years, I've used many different coaches in various areas of my life including sports, physical training, professional development, leadership, business, even my personal relationships.
I've learned that there are many types of coaches each with their own style and approach. And choosing the right one can be a difficult and confusing process. If you're looking for a coach, one of the first things to understand is the types of coaches that are out there and the types of things they focus on with their clients.
Before you start meeting and interviewing specific coaches, it's a good idea to figure out what type of coach you need and make sure the people you speak to focus on that type of work.
1. Personal coach
If you're struggling with work/life balance or how things in your personal life are affecting your professional performance, consider a personal coach. These coaches are more general and can help with an array of personal and professional challenges and situations. If your really unsure where you need help, I have found these are a good place to start.
2. Accountability coach
Do you create great plans, but put off starting or meeting your deadlines? An accountability coach can be a great option. These coaches focus on setting clear goals and commitments, and they help troubleshoot both the logical and emotional challenges that get in people's way.
3. Career coach
If you're looking to map out their career path or are struggling with a decision around a career change, these coaches can help you get clear on long-term goals and possible professional paths. They will help with creating options and evaluating potential positions. For those who need structure, they can provide plans and accountability as well.
4. Executive coach
As you move up the ladder, your focus needs to shift from "doing the work" to organizing projects and teams and making harder and harder decisions. Executive coaches work with senior folks on everything from communication to critical thinking to personal productivity.
Executive coaches are a great choice If you're stepping into a new, more demanding role or taking a position at a new company. They can give you a higher perspective, help you prioritize, and develop new strategies.
5. Leadership coach
Once you reach the highest level of management, the focus shifts from directing people and projects to developing the strategy and setting organizational priorities. It's not an easy transition to make. And it's one which few people can easily make successful.
A leadership coach helps executives make the move to "leading teams of leaders" and focusing on long-term planning and strategy. Many of the most successful CEOs have leadership coaches who are close and trusted partners. For some great insights into leadership coaching, read the story of Bill Campbell in Trillion Dollar Coach.
6. Strategic coach
For a leader or team who is charged with developing a company or a department business strategy, there are many challenges. Strategy is hard and having a coach who specializes in facilitating the process of defining customer focus, analyzing market needs, and developing strategic plans can help structure and accelerate the work. These coaches are experts at helping leadership teams not only create an effective plan but also communicate and implement that plan throughout the organization.
7. Team coach
The vast majority of business work today requires solid teamwork. Unfortunately, developing a high-performance team is not always a natural or easy thing to do. Team coaches focus on helping define a team's purpose, set goals, clarify roles and responsibilities, and work through interpersonal dynamics that inevitably come up when groups of people are working together in high-pressure situations.
8. Specialty coaches
There are many coaches who specialize in specific areas. Everything from business partnerships, to multigenerational business, to conflict resolution situations. If you have a specific challenge or are in a unique situation, finding a coach with experience in that situations can be highly effective.
Once you've figured out the type of coach you need, you can then focus on style and personal fit. While you're not looking for a friend, it's important to find someone who shares your core values and has a common perspective if you want to build trust and rapport.
In the end, you need a coach that is familiar with your situation and challenges, but also one you are willing to open up to and dig into your issues and challenges with. You need have the difficult conversations if you want to address to root issues that are holding back you and your team.