I appreciate and am at times amazed by the success and far-reaching benefits gained from great executive coaching. Like a number of coaching colleagues, I want to ‘pay it forward’ and improve service in the field to help as many clients as possible enjoy these benefits.
At the same time, also like colleagues, I see the need in an unregulated market to help buyers avoid regrettable choices and the impact of less capable coaches. We want to arm consumers and coaches with new knowledge and decision-making capabilities, raise their expectations for professional quality, and improve coaching success and ROI.
This article briefly describes a process and related information to help both users and providers of executive coaching anticipate the future of the field and capitalize on it. Details of this information and process are one topic in the book Pinpointing Excellence: Succeed with Great Executive Coaching While Steering Clear of the Rest, scheduled for release in the spring of 2022.
The process and its underlying concepts, called the Top Executive Coach 4 (TEC4), include practical evaluation and selection steps, and a guide for interviewing candidate coaches to gauge competencies that are universally important in executive coaching – Business Depth, Psychology Depth, Coaching Depth and Ethics Depth. These competencies are keys to excelling in a coaching career and to selecting great coaching providers in a buyer-beware marketplace.
I am grateful for feedback over the years that the TEC4 meets serious needs for consumers and practitioners. It is encouraging to see how TEC4 competencies are increasingly reflected in organizations setting standards for training and certifying coaches, and for accrediting coach training programs found in commercial firms and higher education.
The Field – A Snapshot
Researchers estimate that the executive coaching industry is 80 to 100 years old – and yet it continues to lack fundamental professional qualities. Without question, for instance, the field still needs to reach consensus on:
A common body of knowledge guiding coaching practice
Global standards to enter the field and substantial, meaningful barriers to entry
Educational steps (e.g. formal, university-level qualifications) to practice
Enforceable ethical standards for serving clients
Licensure, regulation, and certification standards at state, provincial, national, and global levels to demonstrate and confirm necessary knowledge and skill
Continuing education requirements to maintain this knowledge and skill
Regulatory bodies authorized to admit, discipline and sanction members