Tuesday, February 28, 2012

23 Telltale Signs it’s Time to Fire Your Executive Coach

I’ve written about the Executive Coaching industry before. Most coaches are highly qualified and ethical professionals that can help an executive or aspiring executive reach their fullest potential. However, as with any industry, coaching has its share of charlatans, frauds, and wannabes.

Heck, some can even be downright dangerous.

In the absence of a professional license – ICF certification is the closest thing, but not all coaches even think it’s important – how do you know if you’ve hired, or about to hire a dud?

Here are 23 telltale signs, mostly based on the International Coach Federation Code of Ethics:

1. You discover that something your coach provided about their qualifications, experience, testimonials, credentials, certifications, or accomplishments was misleading or outright false.

2. You find out that the coach is taking credit for someone else’s work (i.e., research, articles, models, etc…).

3. Your coach brings bagfuls of their own personal issues to the table that are getting in the way of your coaching relationship.

4. You find out you’ve been a part of a research project or case study and didn’t give your consent.

5. You find the notes from your last meeting at Starbucks pinned to the lost and found bulletin board next to lost kittens and dogs.

6. Your coach has been coaching your biggest competitor without you knowing about it.

7. Your coach starts asking for too many personal and professional favors, to the extent that you’re starting to feel taken advantage of.

8. Your coach makes exaggerated or false claims about what you’ve get from the coaching process. In other words, it sounds too good to be true.

9. Your coach refuses to use a written agreement or contract.

10. Your coach doesn’t honor a written agreement or contract.

11. Prior to or at the initial meeting, the coach doesn’t explain the nature of coaching, the nature and limits of confidentiality, financial arrangements, and any other terms of the coaching agreement or contract.

12. You feel that your physical space is being invaded, despite your tactful objections.

13. Your coach is hitting on you.

14. You coach sleeps with you.

15. You’ve tried to “break up” with your coach, but the coach is aggressively resisting – you feel trapped.

16. Your coach starts pressuring you recommend him/her to other potential clients, including your employees and peers.

17. You coach insists on being called weird names like “Messiah” or “Prefect”, and starts referring to you as a “disciple”.

18. You share information with your coach that suggests you may need other professional services (i.e., psychiatric, legal, marriage counseling, medical), and the coach seems perfectly willing to offer their own “holistic” advice in any and every area of your life.

19. Your coach wants to use hypnosis, meditation, chanting, neuro-linguistic programming, or any other mind-altering technique on you.

20. You find out the coach has discussed the details your situation with another client, your manager, or sponsor without your consent.

21. You coach keeps canceling or rescheduling appointments, not showing up, or showing up late.

22. For whatever reason, you just don’t feel the right “chemistry” with your coach.

23. At the end of the day, you’re not making sufficient progress towards your development goals.

How about you? Are there any other signs that it may be time to fire your executive coach?


Bill Bliss, Executive Coach said...

Great post on when to fire a coach! Although it is implied, if the coach can't produce a code of ethics they follow, they probably haven't thought about it. Also, if a coach is always providing the answers or always giving you advice, they are not coaching, they are consulting. When a client becomes too reliant on the advice, approval or acceptance of the coach, the coach is doing more harm than good. One of the key goals of any coaching relationship must be to encourage and allow the client to grow in their own self-awareness, so that they can develop the confidence to do their own idea generation, problem solving and self-coaching at the appropriate time.

Another good article might be "When should a coach fire a client"


Bill Bliss

Bret Simmons said...

Another great blog post, Dan. Only 23 signs to fire one? Surely there must be a few more...

Dan McCarthy said...

Thanks. Good point on consulting vs. coaching. And thanks for the post idea.....sounds like a good topic for a guest post from one of my exec coach friends.

Thanks. I ran out f time, but I'm sure my readers can come up with more. (-:

Dave Stachowiak said...

Good list Dan...agree with all of them!

Craig Juengling said...

Dan and Bill, I like your comments. How about refining the #1 to add: Find a Coach who was trained to be a Coach... I am amazed at the number of people who call themselves coaches and never received accredited training. Also, if you need an Executive Coach, find a Coach who was an executive. Why would you use a plumber to put your roof on?

Dan McCarthy said...

Dave -

Craig -
Thanks. I agree that both formal coach training and executive experience are important, but I've worked with very effective coaches who had one and not the other.

John Baldoni said...

Good stuff, Dan. Those "supposed coaches" who fail to abide by codes of conduct not only harm their clients they harm the positive intentions of the executive coaching process.

Dan McCarthy said...

John -
Thanks. I was hoping most coaches (the good ones) would appreciate the warning signs.

Arkadiusz Dymalski said...

I'd simplify Bill's comment to one rule: If your coach speaks more than you. Alternative rule could be: If your coach asks less questions than makes statements.