Research & Thought Leadership

The problem with coaching

Naysan Firoozmand

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A more accurate statement would be -- the problem with the coaching market is that coaches are much like the gin distilleries from the 1700’s. Yes, you can find them everywhere. They’re unregulated. The quality varies considerably, and some are significantly worse for your health than others.

Understandably, the positive impact of coaching can be seen far and wide. Access to training and accreditation has become more and more available and much like the coaching itself. But the quality of the training varies dramatically. If coaches want to have a reputation as an essential thinking partner and a key component to behavior change for their clients (rather than a paid friend), becoming qualified via a reputable accrediting body like Hult Ashridge, the ICF or the EMCC is important.

Next step, choose wisely. It’s not enough to get your certificate that says: You passed. The fact is being a good listener or having 20 years as Head of a department doesn’t automatically qualify you to have the right to dabble. Bear in mind, these are people’s lives you’re affecting. Their actions impact the wellbeing of those they interact with, thus organizational outcomes.

We are complex beings. Any good coach will have anguished over how to ask the right question, noticing everything that is going on within, between, and around the person they’re coaching; recognizing their part in that complex system. Therefore, there is a raising need for greater differentiation in what to look for in a coach, so that buyers of coaching can rest assured that they are getting the ‘real deal’ and not some cheap (and sometimes over-priced) knock-off.

So, what is the problem? Perhaps the puzzle does not lie in an abundance of coaches, but rather a lack of clarity as to what makes for exceptional coaching, which has real impact at an individual and organisational level. Knowing what to look for becomes key in selecting a coach – personally or for your organisation. Here are some checks for you to make all the difference.

Ensure that your coach:

  • is suitable qualified through a world renowned coaching body (like Hult Ashridge, the ICF or the EMCC) and check they come with more than a set of frameworks

  • connects with you at an interpersonal level – don’t be blinded by the years of coaching or sector experience, it doesn’t actually make any difference

  • has regular supervision – not something all coaches have and makes a huge difference to their own wellbeing and continuing professional development (CPD)

  • takes CPD seriously

  • coaches regularly, not just part-time.

In doing so, we are more confident in what we can achieve through good coaching, what positive changes we can make in a team, an organization and even society as a whole.

Naysan Firoozmand

Head of Global Executive Coaching at Hult EF

Naysan is inspired and intrigued by human behavior and the influencing factors around why people do things the way they do them within their specific context. Naysan is a Chartered Business Psychologist and has, for the past 18 years, worked with clients around the world to design and deliver behavior change programs focused on leadership, management, and organizational development. He utilizes his knowledge and experience of different sectors, including finance, engineering, pharmaceuticals, energy, and technology, to highlight the similarities and differences between contexts that leaders find themselves in. ​

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Naysan Firoozmand

Naysan is inspired and intrigued by human behavior and the influencing factors around why people do things the way they do them within their specific context. Naysan is a Chartered Business Psychologist and has, for the past 18 years, worked with clients around the world to design and deliver behavior change programs focused on leadership, management, and organizational development. He utilizes his knowledge and experience of different sectors, including finance, engineering, pharmaceuticals, energy, and technology, to highlight the similarities and differences between contexts that leaders find themselves in. ​

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