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How To Choose An External Coaching Support Partner: 9 Questions to Ask

Apple among oranges

A 4-Point Guide to Help You Pick a Coaching Provider

Here in the U.S. we truly live in abundance. Almost every time I go to the store I am overwhelmed by the choices available—who knew there were so many kinds of ketchup?! Traditional, Spicy, Homemade, Natural, Natural Organic, BBQ, Southwestern, reduced sodium, sugar-free, gluten-free...

How do you make up your mind? Price? Packaging? Or maybe you read the back label? How do you decide what to throw in the cart?

If you are responsible for seeking out an outsourced coaching provider for your organization, the choices can be just as daunting. With the explosion of corporate leadership coaching in just the last five years, you’ll have a large number of coaching providers out there to choose from. But how do you begin to make that choice? What coaching considerations do you need to add to your “coaching shopping cart”?

When shopping for a external coaching provider, here's an assist, a sort of label you can read.

Consider these criteria for selecting an outsourced coaching partner:

1) Track Record

Your people are not cookie cutter, and your coaching shouldn’t be either.

  • Does the potential vendor have a track record of providing scalable coaching solutions?
  • Can they share case studies that indicate a degree of customization and adaptation to your needs?

2) Solid Options

Not every coach is suited to every leader. A bit of time and appropriate process for finding the right fit can make all the difference in a successful coaching relationship.

  • Does the vendor’s pool of coaches have breadth and depth in their style and industry experiences so you can find the right coach to match with your individual leader’s unique needs?

3) Integration

Coaching should support your leadership pipeline and propel your high potentials towards greater levels of performance and promotion; coaches need the experience and desire to work with your emerging leaders.
  • Is the vendor experienced in and willing to work with you to integrate coaching services into your strategic plan for leader development?
  • Can the vendor tie the activity of coaching to your leader competencies?
  • Do they have a 360 assessment that can support and reinforce those competencies?
  • Will they work with your pre-existing 360 tool

4) Proven Practices

An investment in your people through coaching requires a strategic approach to the coaching relationship, proactive communications, and measurement that connects to business needs. A before-during-after approach using proven practices makes all the difference.
  • Does the potential vendor have proven practices for communicating with clients and their 1-ups to support the coaching process?
  • What sort of strategy do they bring to the table to ensure deep client engagement, active experimentation of behaviors, and direct connection to your business objectives?

These four factors are just a few of the critical considerations to include in your search for the right coaching provider. Coaching is so powerful, isn’t it worth the investment of time to figure out which flavor you want to complement the rest of your leadership development efforts?

Photo by daryl_mitchell // CC by: 2.0

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Tracy Puett

Tracy Puett is a past FlashPoint employee who's passionate about curriculum design, facilitation, and coaching.