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?