I read a blog this week which talked about what to look for in an Executive Coach. Many buyers and potential recipients of coaching are ignorant of what to look in an Executive Coach let alone what best practice looks like, so I do welcome such efforts.
The blog provided a good introduction and covered areas not obvious to the uninitiated such as professional Codes of Ethics. Not sure what these are? Download the EMCC’s Code of Ethics here which all of its members must adhere to.
My single issue with the guide though was the advice to seek an Executive Coach with a Psychology qualification.
Now let me confess that my chosen education and career paths have never led me to a Psychology qualification. However, this doesn’t affect my ability to coach executives. Indeed, there are many successful if not industry leading coaches without any Psychology qualifications.
What this does help reveal though is the different backgrounds of Executive Coaches and the potential for inherent biases.
Who becomes an Executive Coach?
The majority of Executive Coaches come from three quite different backgrounds each of which will inform and influence their practice:
As Executive Coaches, they will develop their practice over time but for most their overlap with the other disciplines will not be extensive...
- What opportunities would lead to a qualified psychologist gaining experience in Executive Management and then choosing to become an Executive Coach?
- How many Executive Managers are credible practioners in the Learning & Development space and work as Executive Coaches?
- Having developed a career in HR how much study of psychology would you have undertaken before choosing to become Executive Coach choose to undertake ?
Of course there are examples of individuals who span these disciplines as Executive Coaches but rarely will you find an Executive Coach that spans all three .
By only selecting Executive Coaches with Psychology qualifications you ignore a range of excellent Executive Coaches with a different type of expertise and commercial background. Not only could this be without good reason, but you will potentially get a certain type of Executive Coach or coaching approach.
For coaching as an industry as well as for the benefits of our clients it's important that we value the different perspectives, experiences and practices that an Executive Coach can bring.
We all have an interest in human behaviour. We all want to ensure competence and good practice. However, we don't all want or need to be the same. Especially our clients.