Being An Executive Coach in 2022: 7 Characteristics You Must Have

If you have a deep desire to help others in developing and achieving long-term goals, then executive coaching might be a suitable career for you. 

Executives who undergo executive coaching and are committed to the process will typically show improvements in their leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and decision-making skills. They become better leaders for their team and become a greater asset to their company. 

Whether you are interested in transitioning from your current role and becoming an executive coach, or you just want to develop your coaching skills to help you become a better leader, it’s important to know that there are 7 main characteristics an executive coach needs to have.

1. Leadership Skills & Experience

Usually, people with careers as consultants, human resources, or corporate executives transition to become great executive coaches. Having at least 10 years of experience in a leadership role can provide you with the necessary skills to become an executive coach, such as:

  • Critical-thinking skills: Critical-thinking skills are essential in developing detailed strategies and making high-level decisions with confidence. This skill involves gathering relevant information to make an informed decision. 
  • Problem-solving skills: Problems can occur anytime and anywhere; a leader should always be ready to identify and solve problems that arise quickly and effectively. This ensures that business can run smoothly and everything goes according to plan. 
  • Teaching skills: Aside from making high-level decisions, a leader’s main responsibility is to help develop their team. This is why teaching is such an important skill to have as a leader and as an executive coach. 

To help you gain the necessary leadership experience, you could ask for projects or tasks that require you to strategize and lead the entire team. Offer your help whenever you see your colleagues are struggling with something in the workplace, and train yourself in how to become a good teacher and leader. This will help you teach leadership skills to your future executive coaching clients. 

2. A solid coaching philosophy

There are various reasons why companies hire executive coaches or seek out executive coach training for their C-level executives. However, the most common reason is that they are looking for customized support and guidance in certain areas. 

Executive coaches are expected to help individuals learn and grow in a safe space and hold them accountable for their progress and the agreed-upon goal. To do that, you have to build a solid coaching philosophy. 

Your coaching philosophy should include your philosophy on the purpose of executive coaching along with your core values, and beliefs as a coach. 

3. An understanding of the difference between coaching and advising

There is a significant difference between coaching and advising — and as an executive coach, you should understand that. The executive coaching process is focused on developing the thinking and skills of an individual whereas executive advising focuses mainly on helping clients achieve results by leveraging the advisor’s expertise and solutions. 

Understanding the difference between coaching and advising is crucial in ensuring that you and your client are on the same page when it comes to what is expected of the process. 

4. A commitment to lifelong learning

We are living in a constantly changing world, that is why it is important for executive coaches to remain dedicated to becoming lifelong learners. What you have learned 2 years ago may no longer be relevant today, and may not be able to provide your clients with what they need. 

What we mean here by lifelong learning is more than just taking classes, certifications, or reading books — lifelong learning is a mindset. You must be willing to acknowledge that there will always be something new you can learn from everything you come across in life. It might not be relevant for you right now, but it can be relevant for the executives you are coaching in the future. 

5. The right attitude

Executive coaching is specially designed for top performers who are looking to reach their highest potential. This means the executive coach needs to have the confidence to work with highly successful C-suite executives. 

These people will most likely be demanding and assertive, which is why you need to be confident that you have the right attitude and skills to deal with and influence highly accomplished executives. 

Different clients require different approaches and methods. As an executive coach, be sure to be flexible with scheduling and be prepared to customize your coaching methods to meet the client’s needs. Prepare yourself for arguments, and brush up on your communication and negotiation skills — this will help you hold your ground when coaching a highly successful executive. 

6. A proper coaching methodology

It is essential that you build or adopt a clear and customizable coaching methodology that will meet the needs of your clients and ensure the success of your coaching process. An effective coaching methodology will address the following factors:

  • Assessing the compatibility between the coach and client
  • How to set goals and expectations
  • Measuring improvement and outcomes
  • Evaluating problems that may arise during the coaching process
  • How to ensure accountability
  • What kind of assessments will be done
  • How to align and communicate with involved parties

7. Executive coaching certification

Although having an executive coaching certification is not mandatory, most companies and leaders prefer to hire a coach with credentials. Aside from providing you with more credibility, a coaching certification will also provide you with proven coaching processes, various tools, and guidance to succeed in the executive coaching industry. 

Here at Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching®, we help coaches set themselves apart from the competition using our world-renowned SCC methodology. 

Designed by the world’s #1 leadership thinker Marshall Goldsmith, SCC is the only coaching program that offers quantifiable results — allowing you to show real proof of leadership improvement.

With our award-winning Stakeholder Centered Coaching methodology, you can guarantee behavioral change and leadership improvement for your clients. We boast the world’s largest executive coach network with over 4,500 certified coaches around the globe and have improved the leadership effectiveness of top executives in Fortune 500 companies.

Is executive coaching the right career path for you? 

Download our to find out or get in touch with our program advisor today!


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