The value proposition (and selection) of executive coaching

May 27, 2022
Liz Luya

A lively conversation with the CEO of a Charity about the merits of coaching for his leadership team earlier this week, prompted me to reflect on the value proposition and selection of executive coaches. We discussed: 

  • Why coaching?
  • The challenge of finding coaches who can really understand you, your culture and the needs of the ‘coachee’,  
  • Being crystal clear with expectations of the coaching assignment for all stakeholders to get the best results.  In his case developing long-serving tactical/operational leaders to be more accountable and strategically focused 

‘What’s the value of working with a coach?’ 

A common question from potential clients because it can be difficult to attach tangible metrics to an assignment (6-10 months of confidential discussions) and therefore tricky to see the benefits.  There’s been a rapid growth in coaching over the past 10 years bringing more choice, different types of coaching and coaches, some more qualified and experienced than others.  Sifting out the best fit can prove quite a challenge.   At the core of a great coaching engagement is the individual relationship which must be based on trust and connection, so chemistry is vital. At the same time the coach needs to be able to quickly get familiar with the culture and needs of the organization and it’s senior leadership, so that they can focus on the areas that will really add value across the board.

An executive coach can deliver value to you and/or your organization by:

Asking the right type of questions – and importantly getting you to ask questions of yourself.  A skilled coach will enable you to arrive at your own solutions leaving you empowered and committed to delivering what you need.  For the organization the right coach will quickly understand your values and purpose, ask for your views and perspectives on the culture, individuals and outcomes you are looking to achieve.

Earning trust and confidence – trust is built on the foundations of a strong track record, reliability and the personal connection between individuals.  Creating a safe and confidential place to explore and at times challenge your assumptions, a coach will help you to think and act in new ways to help meet your goals. A skilled coach will give an organisation confidence that their investment is in safe hands, understanding and summarising objectives, explaining how the ‘coachees’ will be stretched, challenged and supported in a confidential and safe way, so that they are equipped to deliver on agreed goals.

Helping identify, agree and commit to goals.  Your coach will help you surface, refine and keep a focus on stretched yet achievable goals.  They will help hold you accountable to reaching them. There’s much research that supports this and writing goals down and revisiting them on a regular basis means you’re more likely to achieve them. For an organization it’s the commitment to identifying and clarifying the ‘right’ goals and the accountability of all parties to achieve them.

Improving self-awareness and emotional intelligence. The body of research into the links between high emotional intelligence (EQ) and success at work are undeniable.  A skilled coach will work to build confidence and skill in all areas of EQ regardless of the goals.  Successful business is based on quality relationships and high EQ sits at the very heart of building impactful and strong networks and connections

Measuring the return on investment

PWC and the Association Resource Centre found that the mean ROI of coaching was seven times the initial investment.  From experience I know it can be difficult to attach quantitative measurements to assignments, however there are plenty of qualitative measurements available including for example:  

  • 360 assessment/feedback given pre and post assignment
  • The delivery of agreed goals
  • Attrition rates
  • Faster/better decision making
  • Increased connections
  • More visible personal brand
  • Direct feedback from the individual and key stakeholders
  • Improved productivity through collaboration
  • Higher engagement of employees
  • Increased confidence in self and skills
  • Increased political savviness, improved stakeholder management

Establishing and agreeing what measurements will be in place is helpful for all parties.

Selecting a coach

There are some professional coaching bodies, however anyone can set up in business as a coach.   It’s important to check the credibility of your potential coaches and a relatively easy way is through recommendations, their professional background (and the link to your areas of focus – leadership, strategic thinking, decision making, presence, impact etc) and the number of coaching hours they’ve completed.     Technical skill in your industry is not so important. Skilled coaches will be able to lead, challenge and support without needing detailed technical knowledge. 

Here are a few questions you could ask potential coaches

  • What coaching qualifications do you have?
  • Can you describe your coaching methodology?
  • At the end of this assignment what would success look like?
  • What experience do you have coaching people with similar goals?
  • What are your views on great leadership? (insert anything that is important here)
  • Given the summary I have shared, what do you see as the challenges?
  • What makes you particularly successful as a coach? 
  • How would you know if someone is un-coachable?
  • How do you work with individuals who struggle to commit to their goals?

In summary, executive coaching is a superb way of developing talent in a personalized, impactful and focused way.  High value can be delivered by matching the right coach with the organization and individual, by setting clear expectations and leaving the coach and employee to work confidentially together with agreed stakeholder touch points where necessary. 

What to know more?  Email us at

Related Posts:

How Long Should Executive Coaching Last?

September 21, 2021

What To Expect From Our BOLDLY Coaches

September 11, 2020

The Contentious ROI of Coaching

May 10, 2021


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