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The dos and don’ts of executive coaching

August 6, 2013

The following is the first in a series of posts by Linkage’s coaching practice area leader David Vaughn. This week, he shares his insights on common practices that the best executive coaches follow―and common mistakes to avoid. He’ll be answering more coaching questions in the coming weeks.—Ed.

“A successful coach must always keep the conversations, assessments, and feedback of a coaching assignment in confidence. And all feedback to the HR person or the coachee’s leader must always be led and delivered by the coachee. Every coaching assignment must always be aligned with the best interest of the organization and the individual being coached. So, when I’m asked how the coaching assignment is going, my response always is: “That’s a good question for you to ask the person being coached.” Then, I take the opportunity to find out more about what’s going on in the coachee’s aspect of the business.

“Meanwhile, a coach should never, ever engage in a coaching assignment when there is a sense that the organization is using the coaching work for any other reason than to help bring out the best effort of the individual being coached. When I sense my work is simply a step in transitioning the person out of the organization, I politely reject the assignment.

“Finally…when the leader of someone I’m coaching asks me the “hypothetical” question: “Do I believe a person can change?” my answer is always “yes,” with the caveat that 80% of an individual’s “best effort” comes from the leadership climate created by the person’s leader—you.”

What coaching dos and don’ts would you add to this list?

More about David

Vaughn_David_4cDavid Vaughn is a Vice President, Principal Consultant, and leader of Linkage’s Coaching practice. His recent work has focused on helping clients navigate matrix management, deploy a coaching culture, and build an internal consulting discipline.


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