Of the coaches in the market, 95 percent work at a low to middle level of organizations.
How do you get to work with senior leaders – even if you don’t have a best-selling book or don’t have a famous name in the coaching world?
I know the answer, because I’ve done it, still do it, and work with other coaches who do it, too.
Following are three steps to getting there, and they apply equally to internal and external coaches alike, after a brief Editor’s Note…..
Back to the three steps for working with senior leaders….
One: If you want to work with a “10” you have to be a 10.
We just completed another one of our acclaimed coach training intensives, and the people who attended were phenomenal, as always. Participants included a retired Marine whose helicopter squadron rescued 2,000 injured servicemen; senior Human Resource executives in global companies; a former sales executive in a major publishing firm; a physician and author focused on healthcare leadership; and some long-time consultants with track records of achieving significant results for their clients. All of these individuals are the caliber of people who can attract and engage senior-level clients.
Like it or not, you need to have a track record of achievements and substance if you want to be accepted by senior leaders. There are many ways to demonstrate this kind of credibility – including leadership roles, academic achievement, and technical expertise in an
area. With it, you will have a much easier time opening doors. Without it, you have to start building that track record now, and it
will take time.
Two: Be able to deliver value as a coach.
Coaches tend to go off track when it comes to delivering value. They get hung up in philosophies, academic jargon, pseudoscience, and superficial applications of recent research. These things fascinate coaches to no end, but are not so interesting to busy executives. This is one reason why so many executives still resist hiring a coach, and why we teach our students to focus on offering results and solutions, not on selling coaching or a specific philosophy.
The way to deliver value is simple. If you ask the right questions, the client tells you how they define value. What is the problem they want to solve? What is the challenge they want to overcome? What is the opportunity they want to seize?
From there, provide a practical, efficient, effective process to help the client reach their goals. Executive are smart, already-effective people. They can find their own way if you know how to assist them and serve as a catalyst to help them overcome their challenges.
The Center for Executive Coaching stands out from other programs here, because we go way beyond the ICF core competencies to show you how to address the most pressing situational challenges that your clients face. Value is baked in. Results are tracked and measured. Our content shows you how to get your clients from where they are to where they want to be –
whether for their own careers and leadership, for their team’s performance, or for the strength of their organizations. If your clients face a challenge, we have an approach to help them address it.
Three: Get visible through proven business development strategies.
Finally, you have to get visible in your market. Building a practice is not difficult if you have the above two criteria in place. People who are meant to be executive coaches tend to have a network of leaders and decision makers, or feel comfortable building one.
There is no magic bullet to attracting clients. You develop your network through introductions, referral conversations, and alliances. You educate your market by writing and speaking. You
get visible as a leader on association boards and committees. And you have a solid web presence and use LinkedIn to add to your network in a substantive way.
Coaches who succeed commit time to getting visible until they are well-known in their target market. There are no short cuts here. You either do it or don’t, and many coaches hide out and don’t make the required time or do the required work.
I hope that you found the above advice to be valuable. If you are considering a coach training program and believe that you will be successful, the Center for Executive Coaching is your best choice.
Founder and Director
Center for Executive Coaching, USA