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(Marcin Balcerzak/Marcin Balcerzak/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Marcin Balcerzak/Marcin Balcerzak/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

How to get the best results from your executive coach Add to ...

If you’re considering hiring an executive coach to work with one of your employees, you may want to heed the advice of a premier executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith. He structures his contracts so that he is paid only if his client achieves positive lasting change as defined by the key stakeholders. This tactic has sharpened his instinct for when executive coaching will be fruitful and when it won’t, which he shares on the Marshall Goldsmith Library:

Are the client’s issues behavioural?

The purpose of executive coaching is to help effect behavioural change. Mr. Goldsmith turned down a pharmaceutical company that wanted him to work with a staff member who was not up-to-date on recent medical technology. “Neither am I,” the coach replied. Nor should coaching be used when people commit ethical violations: They should be fired, not coached. And if a business leader is headed in the wrong direction, behavioural coaching will only get him there faster.

Is the client willing to change?

“If reading diet books would make you thin, Americans would be the thinnest people in the history of the world. You do not get better because you read a self-help book or hire a coach,” he writes. “You will only achieve positive, lasting change in behaviour when you do the work required to make this happen.”

Will the client be given a fair chance?

In some cases, executive coaching is intended as a seek-and-destroy mission to document failure. In other cases, peers have written off the individual and will sabotage any effort to change.

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