executive coach

4 Signs You Are Not Ready to Work with a Coach


We’d be lying if we said executive coaching was the right move for every CEO. It would be like saying everyone should go gluten-free just because it’s really helped some people. Yes, an executive coach can change the way a founder leads a team, solves problems, or grows a company, but it won’t be a great fit for everyone at all times. Here are some cases where an executive coach probably won’t help a founder.

1. Not Ready to Ask for Help

If you’re planning to sneak out of the office for weekly check-ins or meeting your coach under a false name, you might not be the best candidate for coaching. You don’t have to tell everyone you know that you’re working with a coach, but being unwilling to acknowledge that you need help could stifle the growth you would experience with a coach.

When you’re willing to ask for help, you’re more likely to take feedback constructively and solve problems effectively. Going into work with a coach with an “I don’t need this attitude,” will make the whole process a lot harder, and less rewarding. If you enter every session with your CEO coach thinking, “I don’t need to be here,” you’re not only wasting your own time, but you’re also wasting the efforts of your coach.

2. Lack of Curiosity

Curiosity killed the cat, but a lack of it will kill your chances of working productively with a coach. Working with an executive coach will be a two-way street. That means you’ll need to be curious and inquisitive about your own experience.

A coach can’t read your mind. That means your experience and growth can only go as far as your curiosity guides you. If you’re not curious, you may shut down ideas that seem out of reach or unattainable. But curiosity can transform the way you see yourself and your venture.

Expect your coach to suggest a novel approach or something that sounds a bit unconventional. Approaching the idea with curiosity, instead of doubt, can dramatically change the outcome.

3. There’s No Motivation

A coach can be a great sounding board, and even someone to vent to, but they can’t make you improve–that task is entirely up to you. Meeting your coach once a week will help you better visualize your growth and talk about issues, but what happens the other 6 days? It’s like going to a personal trainer and expecting results when all you do during the sessions is watch them do push-ups.

Unless you have your coach trailing you 24/7, implementing what you talk about with them is your responsibility alone. Of course, the assistance they offer during your sessions together can feel like a relief, but you won’t see changes just by going to your sessions. You have to have the motivation to practice what you preach when you’re not with your coach.

4. You Don’t Gel With Your Coach

A coach isn’t going to be your best friend, no matter how much you like them, but that doesn’t mean every coach will be the right fit for your personality and needs. If you’ve met with your coach a few times and just don’t feel the “spark,” you might want to consider finding someone new to work with.

That doesn’t mean ghosting your current coach. Instead, try explaining that it might not be the right fit for your needs. They can recommend another coach, or even change tactics with you. The first coach you meet with might not be the best coach for you, and that’s okay.

With the right mindset, approach, and dedication, founders and CEOs will find they get a lot out of coaching. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the right fit, or the right time, for everyone to try coaching.

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