How To Choose An Executive Leadership Coach - Q2 Are You An Accredited Coach?

18 Jul 2022

How to Choose An Executive Leadership Coach -Question 2

How to choose an effective Executive Leadership Coach. Question 2 – Are You An Accredited Coach? If not, why not? Another quite simple question to ask – yet you will be surprised by how many coaches squirm when asked this question. Truth is, in a highly unregulated industry like executive coaching or executive leadership coaching, every man (and woman) and their dog says they are an ‘executive coach’. But has the person in front of you taken as much time to develop their skills as they are asking to invest in yours?

A Credible Executive Leadership Coach Is Accredited

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the international governing body for coaching – and they have 3 levels of accreditation – Accredited Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC). While you don’t have to be working with an MCC level coach, you should at least work with someone who has the ACC. As a minimum, the person has then had their coach recordings assessed by another certified coach, and they will have completed over 150 hours of coach training and done more than a 100 hours of coaching (for ACC – higher again for the higher levels).

Not only do you get someone who has completed some significant hours as a coach when you choose someone accredited, you also ensure that they have signed up to the coaching industries code of ethics and conduct.

Why Work With An Accredited Coach?

Working with an accredited Executive Leadership Coach has a number of benefits.


  • are invested in professional development themselves, and will most likely respect your investment in doing the same,
  • are still seeking to learn and grow, irrespective of experience,
  • are likely not a ‘part time’ coach – this is their job and they want to attain high professional standards,
  • they have been assessed and reviewed by someone else (the ICF) to verify their basic coaching standards,
  • have signed up to a professional code of ethics and conduct, and
  • have had at least 2 recorded coaching sessions pass a peer and have completed at least 10 mentor hours with an accredited coach themselves.
International Coaching Federation ICF Member Badge
ICF Associate Certified Coach ACC
ICF Professional Certified Coach PCC

Why is all of this important? Trust and credibility. Don’t fall for the ‘I studied at ### school, or I got my coaching licence from ### academy’. Having a certificate from a coaching institution is not an accreditation. It can certainly be part of an accreditation – the hours of training (and hopefully mentoring) and part of the accreditation process – but only the ICF issues accreditation. The standard and content of coaching institutions is so varied – with some face to face, others virtual and some completely online – the completion of a coaching certificate through an institution is no guarantee or skill, competence or rigour.

In an industry full of slick marketers, bold promises and low barriers to entry, look for the person who has taken the time and effort to attain a coaching accreditation.

The 9 Questions To Ask When Choosing An Executive Leadership Coach

These 9 simple questions will help you identify the good from the bad, the amateur from the professional, the executive leadership coach worth paying for compared to the one that is an expensive waste of time.

How to Choose An Executive Leadership Coach - The 9 Questions To Ask
How To Choose An Executive Leadership Coach – The 9 Questions
  • Question 1 – Do you have a coach yourself?
  • Question 2 – Are you an accredited coach?
  • Question 3 – What is your experience as a leader?
  • Question 4 – What is your own coaching style?
  • Question 5 – Who else would you recommend?
  • Question 6 – What recommendations and success stories do you have?
  • Question 7 – What resources and tools do you have at your disposal?
  • Question 8 – What leadership assessment tool do you use?
  • Question 9 – How will you challenge me (and yourself)?

If you are talking or engaging a coach that can’t answer these 9 questions effectively – walk away! There are plenty of highly effective executive leadership coaches who can – and you deserve to work with someone that can back up what they say with action.


Focussed, personal, confidential, honest and practical – all words that have been used in testimonials to describe the Institute of Management & Leadership Development’s Executive Leadership Coaching. If this sounds like something that could be useful for you or a member of your team, get in touch with us today for a confidential chat about your needs. If you would like to read what other clients experienced and gained through the Executive Leadership Coaching process, check out our LinkedIn recommendationsreviews and testimonials.


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