These days everyone seems to be adding ‘Executive Coaching’ to their portfolio of skills and services. When you’re tasked with finding an executive coach or a team of executive coaches to work with your senior people, how do you make the best possible selection?

In this article, we explore the key points to consider when sourcing executive coaches:

Account Management

This is especially important when you are looking for coaches to work with a team. Look for a coaching company which has a structure for managing your business. On smaller projects it is possible to work with independent coaches, however when you are organising coaching for more than 3-4 people, it can become an administrative nightmare to have to manually track who has taken their coaching sessions and when they are due to meet with their coach again. Unless managing the coaching process is part of your on-going role, it’s best to find an organisation that can do all of this for you. In addition, think about what would happen if the coaching isn’t progressing in the way that you hoped. A well structured coaching company should be able to explain who to speak to and how any issues will be resolved.


If you are going to ‘sell’ the idea of coaching within your organisation, you need to be sure that the coaches you put in front of your senior have the credibility factor. Are they used to coaching at an executive level? Do they understand the language that will be used? Are the people having the coaching likely to take them seriously? In the case of particularly feisty coachees, can the coach be assertive and manage the relationship in a respectful way without either party losing face? You can usually tell this just from speaking to one of the directors/partners in the coaching company and trusting your gut.

Cultural Fit

The executive coaches you choose should be able to quickly understand the culture of your organisation and adapt their style accordingly.

Relevant experience

This is an interesting one because of course you would expect executive coaches to have experience, but what makes experience relevant to the individuals being coached? Despite what you might think, it is not absolutely vital for the coach to have held the same position as the person being coached. What is important however is that the coach has experience of the kinds of challenges that the coachee is facing and knows how to handle them. Ideally, look for coaches who have themselves held senior positions within organisations and can demonstrate success with similar clients.


Any self-respecting executive coach should be more than happy to put you in touch with other clients who you can contact for a reference. When you follow up on the reference find out about the aims and objectives of the coaching programme they were engaged in – did they achieve the outcomes they were looking for? What was it like to be coached by them?


The chemistry between the executive coach and their coachee needs to be right to have an effective coaching relationship. Ask the coaching company whether they are willing to meet or talk with the individuals being coached to make sure it’s right before the programme starts.

With the right partners, the Executive Coaching process can be an incredibly effective way of developing the skills of your senior people.

© Copyright Hannah McNamara HRM Coaching Ltd

Hannah McNamara is the Managing Director of HRM Coaching Ltd an Executive Coaching company based in London, UK with clients all over the world. They have a team of Executive Coaches available to choose from and will manage the coaching programme for you from start to finish.  To arrange a meeting to discuss your executive coaching needs and request a proposal, call Hannah McNamara on +44 20 7939 9910 or visit

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.