There is no parameter that can measure – and do justice to – the impact of coaches in the lives of people they touch. Hence, there really can’t be a simple list that mentions the best executive coaches to follow in 2021. So, what am I attempting to do with this article?
I am going to identify a few names of those who made an impact globally. This will help us to understand and learn from best practices. Learning is a continuous process and each person will take whatever they need at the moment. I have put together this list to encourage you to study the career of these coaches. You need to analyze and see what they are doing right.
If you have any questions or would like to your own story, as a top executive coach, to this list, feel free to reach out to me. You may also want to look up my earlier blog post on the strategies that top executive coaches use.
And if you feel inspired to liberate your inner coach, I may have something to offer you. Read on in the following sections.
Before you read on, it's essential to be aware that being a good coach is not the same as being able to start or run a coaching business. Less than 23% of coaches are able to sustain themselves and focus on coaching full-time.
Only a coaching business (not just coaching) gives you the FREEDOM to coach from anywhere, travel often, live comfortably, touch many lives and be rewarded and recognised for it.
This distinction is the most important one for you to be able to sustain as a coach and achieve your life goals through coaching.
Our free guide (downloaded by over 20,000 coaches till date) gives you the step-by-step to do this for yourself. You can download the guide for FREE for a limited time here.
What exactly does a top executive coach do? Is there a difference between an executive coach and a business coach?
Yes, there is.
Both business and executive coaches empower clients in the corporate sector. An executive coach is usually hired for the top brass of an organization. The top leaders are chief executive officers, directors, vice presidents and managing directors.
Effective coaching results in improved business performance. But the method of coaching and measure of impact is different from business coaching. A business coach usually focuses on strategy, financial results and operational excellence. The performance of an organization spells success for a business coach. Clients usually expect a business coach to have expertise in their particular industry.
Same industry experience may help but it is not a mandatory quality for an executive coach. The focus is on the personal development of a leader. An executive coach focuses on personal effectiveness and interpersonal relationships in a company. This leads to the improvement of work culture. It also results in better team alignment and company performance.
Graduate School of Stanford Business gives the best definition of executive coaching:
“Executive coaching is an inquiry-based approach to personal and professional development.
Executive coaching helps create awareness, generates action, and facilitates learning and growth. It focuses on improving performance. It helps individuals to develop and sustain new perspectives, attitudes, skills, and behavior.”
The website further provides a break-up of what executive coaching involves. The top tasks of executive coaches are:
The write-up also lists all the things that a top executive coach should not do. These include:
The website also lists some of the benefits of executive coaching. These include:
The duration of a typical executive coaching engagement is about 6 months. But it can be anywhere from 3-12 months, depending on the situation.
Executive coaching engagements usually follow these steps:
Seeing the benefits, companies are also extending coaching to mid-level management nowadays.
This trend has boosted the financial prospects of the business and executive coaches. But it comes with its own set of challenges.
How do you distinguish yourself in a market that is growing by leaps and bounds but is still unregulated? This is where coaching certifications, client lists, and references go a long way.
You can access my previous posts about how to build a profitable coaching business. You can also access a free webinar here: https://coachfoundation.com/blog/
Coaching today has become the accepted norm. Clients pay megabucks for a result-driven coach with a successful track record. Apart from major corporations, even mid-level businesses are realizing the power of coaching. And the stakes are rising even higher when it comes to compensation.
What does success for an executive coach mean within an organization? Here are some measurable results that top executive coaches benefit from:
There can be no one trait or habit that can make a successful executive coach. It is a combination of aspiration and passion that drives success. This is true of all professions.
According to Payscale.com, the average salary of an executive coach in the United States is $98,264. But this website states that the average salary ranges from $15.96 (Career Coach) to $81.58 (Agile Coach) per hour.
This vast difference is more evident in https://erickson.edu/blog/how-much-does-coaching-pay. The website states that the range of executive coach salary is quite large. This is because these coaches work with leaders such as CEOs, CMOs. Salaries start at $150 and can go up to $350 for most coaches. Executive coaches can also charge $1,000 per session. Such coaches offer life coaching, strategic sound-boarding, and other support.
This vast difference in salaries is partly due to the unregulated industry. The blog also offers some tips for earning better salaries as a professional coach.
The blog notes that experience is a very big factor, but not the only factor. “Building a business takes branding, niche development and attention to results-based processes”. Over time, the author says, you will have clients referring more prospects. And you will be earning the rate that feels right for you.
Now that you are an established coach, here are a few things to remember when you are approaching a new business.
You may expect the following questions, so prepare yourself.
You may also look at this as an opportunity to understand how clients look for coaches. Here is a Forbes article on how leaders choose the coach they want to work with.
Does the age of the executive matter when it comes to choosing a coach? This article published in Harvard Business Review seems to think so. The authors claim that younger and older executives need different things from coaching.
You will find several lists of successful executive coaches if you run a search on Google.
Some of these lists actually work as paid advertisements. This means that a particular coach has paid to be part of a list compiled by a media outlet or corporate identity. This makes it harder to judge a coach on the basis of merit.
There is no harm in looking up such lists. You too may consider getting a similar mention. This will help as a marketing and brand-building exercise.
This blog post online provides a list of some other names. What I liked about this blog is that the author took some pains to talk to the coaches. The coaches shared their stories and some tips for success. This makes for a great read for all coaches starting out in the business!
I ran a simple search on Google. And found several lists of executive coaches, including this list from Protoly. Some of the coaches mentioned are:
Canfield emphasizes the importance of focusing on a vision and using visualization. That is the act of creating compelling and vivid pictures in one’s mind, to achieve one’s goals. Scientists earlier believed humans responded to information flowing into the brain from outside. But today, we all know that we respond to what the brain, based on previous experience, expects to happen next. In fact, the mind is such a powerful instrument; it can deliver everything you want. But you have to believe that what you want is possible. Through a lifetime’s worth of events, our brain learns what to expect next. This is irrespective of whether it happens that way or not. And we often achieve exactly what we expect as our brain expects something will happen a certain way.
This website hosts a talk show by Feld and provides a brief introduction about her. Feld has been coaching since 1995. She specializes in career, leadership, change, and communications coaching for professionals. She pioneered the development of group coaching models for corporations and organizations. Feld is a sought-after speaker at professional conferences and workshops. She co-founded the Executive and Professional Coaching Program, the University of Texas at Dallas. The university accepted its first cohort class in September 2005. She now serves on the faculty. She also helped create the award-winning coaching initiative in UTD’s Executive MBA program. She continues to serve as an executive coach in that program.
In 2003 Feld was the President of the International Coach Federation. The 13,000-member non-profit organization serves professional coaches. She served on the Board of Directors for eight years. Feld is an ICF Master Certified Coach. She is one of the first 20 coaches to receive that designation at its beginning in 1998.
The results are amazing. Research showed 34% of people said they got better at everything. Be who you are and do your best. This is what (Bhagavad) Gita teaches.”
What is the key take away from the immense popularity and success of Robbins? It is his ability to stay relevant and to understand how to best market his skills. That is no mean feat. These are two things that keep changing as technology advancements happen. Hence keeping up with the times is tough.
Do you want to find out the best practices from other executive coaches? Use technology and ready tools at hand. This link provides a list of 100 executive coaches near you. Look it up to see how you can differentiate yourself!
And now let me tell you about my journey as a way to show that achieving success is an ongoing process. We may not build a successful business right at the start. That is the time to introspect and resurrect our business if need be.
In a previous post, I have highlighted why it is important to find a niche. Working to please everyone and target a large crowd as my clientele, I lost $100,000, and this was years ago! Then, I realized that I had something to offer that no one else at that time could think of. I could target a very niche crowd and sell them my services.
Make sure you learn from my mistakes and proceed!
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