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Finding a Credible Leadership Coach: What to Look For

by | May 16, 2023 | Leadership Tips

If you have ever been passed over for a promotion, you are not alone! Thirty-five percent of workers plan to ask their employers for a raise or promotion in the next 12 months.(And that’s not even accounting for those who think they’re ready for a promotion, but who won’t ask for it!) If you’re waiting for your boss to offer it, you may be missing out on opportunities. Don’t let the perplexity and frustration of a rejection hold you back — partner with a credible leadership coach to identify a path toward promotion.  

You may wonder, however — who should I choose as my coach?

Not All Coaching is Created Equal

Personal leadership coaches vary widely in approaches and quality. You may wonder what your expectations should be for your coach and your coaching experience. Let’s discuss what you should be looking for before you hire a coach, along with the key experiences you should have during the coaching process. 

For a quick look at our "CREDIBLE COACH CRITERIA," you can download 
the infographic here.

Finding a Credible Leadership Coach

The Priority is You

When you research a coach or a coaching company, it’s imperative to consider whether their approach is truly focused on the client. With the rise of coaching as a profession, it’s important to avoid self-proclaimed gurus who are more interested in selling themselves and their silver bullet “secrets” than taking an interest in you. You are a talented, capable professional that deserves respect and undivided attention on your specific leadership development needs. 

Real discussion comes as the coachee and coach co-create a relationship founded on trust. A leadership coach should inspire confidence, maintain confidentiality, and be a great listener.2  If the coach is truly present in your conversations, you’ll both be gaining insights into the various solutions you could pursue.  

Here are a few ways you can determine if a coach will keep their focus on you

  • First, read their reviews on their website. What have their clients said about their own personal growth? Do former clients mention key moments of empowerment and transformation? 
  • Book a consultation call and see what questions they ask about you and your aspirations. What is their “bedside manner”? Are they more interested in talking about their services than understanding your needs? Do they practice reflective listening? Do they probe to see whether you are coachable, and whether you are a good fit for their services?
  • Last, take a look at their website. Are they clear in their messaging about how they hope to benefit your personal development? 

Curious to find out how leadership coaching can help you and your leaders? Simply book your consult here.

Credible Leadership Coaches Need Credentials and Industry Experience

While you’re researching coaches, it is common for coaches to promote affiliation with official coaching associations (e.g., the International Coaching Federation [ICF], the Association for Coaching [AC], etc.) Each of these organizations touts a robust curriculum and rigorous training3, and this can be an okay measure of credibility from a coach’s point-of-view. 

However, a fancy certification with a coaching association likely isn’t enough as a stand-alone credential for real leaders. If you’re wanting to move up in a highly-competitive environment, you need support from a coach with robust exposure to leadership situations. Instead, you may ask yourself:

  • Does the coach have years of relevant industry experience?
  • Do they have advanced education in business or psychology?
  • Have they climbed a corporate ladder, or held various management positions? Better yet — have they helped others to do so?
  • Have they worked with a substantial number of clients from reputable organizations?

Coaching certifications are more accessible to inexperienced professionals than ever before. It’s up to you to ensure your coaching investment is worth it! Do your research. Your leadership coach should be effective, dependable, and trustworthy.

After You’ve Hired Your Leadership Coach

Your Coach Uses Evidence-Based Materials and Information

While methodology may differ from coach to coach, executive leadership coaches should also be using data-driven strategies and tools to help you investigate your needs. This is not the time for trial-and-error advice-giving!

A coach’s credibility hinges on their ability to utilize high-quality assignments, assessments, and lessons suitably along with their experience. These tools in combination with personal coaching provide a rich environment for growth.

Here are a few examples of types of assessments coaches can use for your benefit:

  • 360° Feedback (such as The Leadership Circle Profile®, TalentSmart): this assessment helps you understand how others perceive your leadership strengths and challenges.
  • Personality Assessments (eg. Birkman Method®, Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI], Thomas-Kilmann Type Indicator [TKI]): these help you understand your tendencies and proclivities in your work approach, and how this meshes with other team members’ personalities. 
  • SWOT (or as Peridot says the “TOWS” analysis): to see how you approach different high-pressure situations with strengths and weaknesses.  
  • Researched-based Psychology Models: such as Information Processing Theory, Covey’s Sphere of Influence (and Control), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) principles, and The Johari’s Window.

This is a brief compilation of models and assessments that coaches can use. Regardless of the chosen tools, it is important that they are research-based and used to foster self-awareness, awareness of others, and skill development throughout the coaching process.

It’s not all on them though—paramount to your growth will be your intrinsic motivation and commitment to growth.4 Your own investment and accountability can play a huge part in your experience. Trust that the information shared in your sessions and your ‘homework’ will be carefully curated, but that you also are accountable to any assignments given to you by your coach. 

The Proof You’ve Found a Credible Leadership Coach

You Notice a Difference in Yourself and How Others Respond to You

If you are putting in the work with your coaching, you can start to see results fairly quickly. Typically, within three months of personal coaching you should be experiencing greater confidence, great productivity, a heightened mindset, and your colleagues likely will be reacting more positively toward you.5 If you feel no change with yourself, you should consider whether your coach, your commitment to improve, or your goals need adjustment. 

Partnering with a Credible Leadership Coach Can Be Transformational

As you ignite your capacity for growth, you’ll experience change that’s exciting and fulfilling–and hopefully, your desired promotion will come as a natural result. If you are interested in a quality coaching program, click on this link to reach out to Peridot Circle Consulting.

Curious to find out how leadership coaching can help you and your leaders? Simply book your consult here.

Don’t forget to download our “Credible Coach Criteria” infographic here.


  1. Brown, P., Mukherjee, C., Sethi, B., Stubbings, C. (2022) Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/hopes-and-fears/downloads/global-workforce-hopes-and-fears-survey-2022-v2.pdf
  1. Boysen-Rotellie, S., Cherry, M. (2016). What Theories Of Leadership Are Implicit In A Coach Approach? Philosophy of Coaching: An International Journal. 1(1), 43-62. http://dx.doi.org/10.22316/poc/01.1.05
  1. International Coaching Federation. (2019). Updated ICF Core Competencies. International Coaching Federation. https://coachingfederation.org/credentials-and-standards/core-competencies
  1. Boysen-Rotellie, S., Cherry, M. (2016). What Theories Of Leadership Are Implicit In A Coach Approach? Philosophy of Coaching: An International Journal. 1(1), 43-62. http://dx.doi.org/10.22316/poc/01.1.05
  2. Time to Change for Mental Health and Well-being via Virtual Professional Coaching: Longitudinal Observational Study J Med Internet Res 2021;23(7):e27774 doi: 10.2196/27774

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