Frequently Asked Questions About Executive Coaching With Vicki Bradley
Choosing an executive coach for yourself or someone on your team isn’t easy. Once you’re sure a coach is qualified, the rest of the decision comes down to your gut.
By the time we’ve ended our discovery call, you’ll know if we could work well together.
But until then, here are the questions most business leaders have when they’re about to hire an executive coach.
Questions that CEOs and presidents have about hiring an executive coach for one of their leaders or future leaders:
Most of my clients hire me for two reasons: I’ve got 30 years business experience in North America and they get the feeling we’ll work well together. You can find out more about my professional background here. My track record in the C-suite puts my clients at ease, but the truth about coaching is this: it doesn’t work if there’s not a good ‘fit’ between coach and client. That’s why I never start a coaching program without a discovery call with both my organizational and individual client.
Once I hire you to help someone on my team, how involved am I after that?
At the beginning of the program, you and I talk about why you’re engaging a coach for your leader, what you’ve noticed and what results you’d like to see. Throughout the program, you’ll get some updates from me on how the coaching is going. Coaching conversations are confidential, of course, but you’ll always be able to talk to me about what progress you’re seeing (or not seeing). Once you hire me to work with your leader, you don’t have to worry about the process because I take care of it all.
How long will you work with my executive or future executive?
That depends on the issues and the individual. Most clients who come to me with a specific goal are well-served by a 3-month or 6-month coaching program. Some people—the kind who continually strive to perform at an elite level— consider coaching an essential year-round investment and they tend to be most comfortable with a 12-month program.
How will I know that leadership coaching is successful?
You’ll see behaviour and attitudinal changes in your leader. You’ll see your leader with increased clarity and confidence. You may even see her walk into your office, thank you for the coaching support and tell you what project she’d like to take on next.
How do I talk to my executive about hiring a coach for her?
I can help you with this. It’s best to be direct, honest and kind, even if you’re hiring me to help someone who is ‘on thin ice’. Ultimately, providing your leader with coaching is an incredibly positive gesture. The message is, “I see your potential and I want you to have the resources you need to pursue it.”
My leadership team hasn’t really been exposed to the positive side of coaching—what’s the short business case I can give them?
Good question! In the bad old days, having a coach hired for you meant trouble! But now, executive coaches are increasingly engaged to support a leadership retention and growth strategy and to give leaders the skills they need to drive business results. My specialty is working with women in leadership roles and the business case for strong female leadership in the C-suite is simple: higher profit, increased collaboration and innovation, broader diversity of ideas and styles and a tendency towards supporting the development of future leaders. Don’t worry—if you need more, I’ll give you a cheat sheet!
What if you’re the right fit for me but not for the person I want you to work with?
This happens. If I’m not the right fit to work with your leader, I’ll refer her to a trusted colleague.
What’s the first step?
The first step is a discovery call with you. This is where I get to know you, what issues you’re dealing with and why you’re hiring an executive coach. After our talk, I’ll send you a proposal package that summarizes your objectives and includes the recommended services, program length and price. Once we get the fine print out of the way, I start the program by scheduling a discovery call with the executive you’ve hired me to work with.
When can you start?
Once we’ve agreed to work together, I can generally schedule the first session with your leader within 2 weeks, depending on her availability.
What is Unconscious bias?
So glad you asked, unconscious bias is all around us; it is the way we speak, judge, undermine other individuals. It usually happens around the water cooler or on breaks where you will hear unfair comments directed at another individual. The effects are damaging to all involved and creates a culture of distrust, disengagement, and just not a place employees want to work.
“Nearly 50% of men think women are well represented in leadership in organizations where only one in ten senior leaders are women”
McKinsey and Company, Women in the Workplace, 2017
Presidents and CEOs: click here to schedule a free 30-minute discovery call. During this no-obligation conversation, we’ll talk about your business challenges, what keeps you up at night, what you’d like coaching to accomplish for your chosen employee(s) and how to use a well-designed coaching program to help your team achieve optimal performance.
Questions that women on the leadership track have about hiring an executive coach to build the unshakeable confidence necessary to succeed in the C-suite:
How do I know it’s time to work with an executive coach?
When you’ve done your best alone and want to expedite your next set of results. Many clients come to coaching to gain the confidence required to go for their next big goal, to learn how to more effectively navigate tricky work situations and to gain clarity on their personal and professional vision. To start coaching, you don’t need to know what your obstacles are, but it works best when you’re ready to make changes and take action to overcome whatever’s getting in your way!
What’s your experience helping women navigate leadership roles?
I’ve helped women define their professional goals and pursue them for many years now. I know what it’s like to be the lone woman at the table because I was her. And even though I’m tenacious by nature, I still needed a mentor and coach to push me to be the most I could be. That’s when I realized I wanted to help other women pursue their professional goals, especially in leadership roles.
How can I become an effective and respected leader?
Jim Rohn said it best: “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” Coaching helps you with the challenge of leadership.
How can I be taken seriously in the C-suite without becoming a little man or a ball-buster who everyone secretly hates?
Now we’re talking! Just because men outnumber women on your executive team, it doesn’t mean you have to become a strange version of ‘one of the boys’. Women who succeed in the C-suite are taken seriously because they’re competent, authentic and confident. And here are the tricks you’ll need to master on your way up: communicating clearly, standing up for what you believe in, not letting yourself get wound up by other people’s drama and how to work with anyone, no matter what’s thrown your way.
I work closely with someone who undermines me at every opportunity—can you help me manage this situation effectively?
Yes! This is an infuriating situation that goes downhill fast, especially when we only focus on how infuriating it is. I’ve dealt with this myself and I’ve helped other women overcome these situations at work. It’s not easy but it can be managed firmly and graciously from the high road.
I am thinking about a career change and I am not sure where to start – can you help me figure out what I should do next?
Absolutely! Figuring out what you are truly passionate about and going after it can be stressful. You second guess yourself nonstop and the what if’s come out to play in full force, but it doesn’t have to be that way, the journey should be exciting and a great opportunity to learn about yourself and what your true gifts are so that you spend the rest of your working days doing what you love!!
How long do we work together?
That depends on what you’d like to achieve and where you are now. Most clients who come to me with a specific goal are well-served by a 3-month or 6-month coaching program. Clients who have an acute challenge—like negotiating a new promotion—prefer my à la carte program which starts with 2 sessions.
How do I find out more?
The best way to see if we’d be a good fit working together is to have a conversation!
To schedule a free 30-minute discovery call, click here. During this no-obligation conversation, we’ll talk about your challenges, what you’d like to accomplish in the next 3-6 months and how to build the unshakeable confidence required to meet your personal and professional goals.