Several years back, one of my best team members left our technology company to follow her passion to be a life coach. She took the necessary route to certification and was able to make her mark in the financial services industry. I talked with her two years ago when I decided to exit my fifth tech firm, with a successful transaction, and focus on executive coaching top executives. I asked her, “Why had the coaching market grown so much over the last few years?” Here answer does not surprise.
“We don’t live in community any longer. The days of our family members living next door and serving as sounding boards to our life choices no longer exists. Therefore, we seek an experienced, trusted person to listen to our thoughts, validate our purpose, and celebrate our successes. It is the way we were created.”
In hearing her answer, it became clear why I had an accountability partner and an executive coach in my life. My parents live approximately two hours away from our home in Charleston, and I have no family members within an hour of my home. Specifically, I don’t have any family members who have embarked in technology startups, raising capital, running large companies, or selling their companies.My coach is trustworthy, experienced, and listens. He has served as a CEO in startups and publicly held firms. By investing time in his family, he created memories. Why does this matter? From his failures, successes, and experiences, he knows the questions to ask in order to get me to think in the right way.
As an executive, if you don’t have a person to hear your thoughts, guide you with right questions, and be truthful about your blind spots, you probably need an executive coach. If your coach has never been in your area of leadership, specifically CEO, he/she may not be a good fit. Last, if you interview your executive coach and they do not have an executive coach, you are meeting with the wrong coach.