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Keeping Ourselves On Track As Professional Executive Coaches

By Carol Piras, Managing Partner, The Piras Group

Top 10 Coaching Insights

About a year ago, I came across three top 10 lists that have graced my office visibly.  As an executive coach, I am always on the hunt for behaviors I can include that will make me a better coach.  The 3 top ten lists were:

  1. The Top 10 Qualities of a Great Coach
  2. The Top 10 Ways to Build a Long Term Coaching Relationships
  3. The Top 10 Mistakes Coaches Make

As I read through the lists, I was happy to see I had adopted several of the top 10 qualities as a great executive coach; things such as “have a spirit of generosity”, “have uncommon compassion” and “are life-long learners”.  At the same time, I also read the mistakes coaches can make and saw myself there as well, with things like “neglecting to ask the leader being coached how you can be most helpful” or “finishing without a commitment”.

Keeping the Lists Visible

I have kept these lists prominent and review them periodically to test my skills and to focus on an area or two to improve.  I also use these lists with a leader in debriefing a coaching engagement and ask for examples so that I am aware.

I have come to realize how important it is to endeavor to be a great executive coach in every coaching engagement.  With some people, I don’t resonate as well.  With others I know the influence I am making with that person.  Each coaching relationship is different.  Hence the top 10 lists can change with each person you are coaching.

You can find a variety of these kinds of top ten lists on the internet.  The point is that it is good to remind ourselves as professional executive coaches, that we too can improve.

You’ll have your own favorite tools, lists, and parts of the list depending on your style, personality, and approach.

Here are the ones from each list that keep me being the kind of coach I really want to be:

Top 10 Mistakes Coaches Make:

2. Working too hard – I want to make it easy for the leader so I sometimes err here.
4. Neglecting to ask the leader how I can be most helpful.  Getting better at this one and I continue to pay attention.
10. Finishing without a commitment – not explicit for me and not needed.  I send the leader an email with any homework we’ve discussed, so maybe a different approach.

Top 10 Qualities of Great Leadership Coaches – My favorites below are what I am most proud of, in my preferred order of importance:

1. Spirit of generosity
7. Life-long learners
5. Are interpersonally courageous

Top 10 Ways To Build A Long-Term Coaching Relationship

3. Help broaden their world-view by constantly challenging their thinking and sharing alternate perspectives.
5. help them discover parts or rediscover the parts of themselves that are most unique and most treasured.


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