As I shared in previous articles, you can work with an executive coach to combat imposter syndrome, improve your communication and coaching skills, develop your executive presence and confidence, or take your career to the next level.
If you’re thinking of hiring your first executive coach, you might have some questions about the process of working with one, including:
- How much does executive coaching cost?
- How are executive coaching services packaged?
- What services are included with executive coaching?
- What should you look for in an executive coach?
- What questions must you ask to vet a prospective coach?
How Much Does Executive Coaching Cost?
An initial question that comes up when thinking of partnering with an executive coach is related to cost. According to a recent survey conducted by the International Coaching Federation (ICF):
- The average fee for a one-executive coaching session is $272, yet it varies considerably (North America).
- Coaches serving executive clients charge more on average than those serving non-executive clients.
- The more experience a coach has, the more they tend to charge.
To put it another way, rates for executive coaching vary dramatically and are impacted by several factors.
One-To-One vs. Group Executive Coaching
One of the biggest factors impacting the cost of executive coaching services is how you decide to engage with your coach. The two most common ways to partner with an executive coach are one-to-one coaching and group coaching.
- One-To-One Executive Coaching: You engage with the coach one-on-one and receive a bespoke experience that tends to be a bit more expensive since you’re receiving the coach’s sole attention.
- Group Leadership Coaching: You engage with the coach in a one-to-many meeting that can (sometimes) be less costly since the cost is divided among multiple participants. You receive less individualized attention in this format.
How Are Executive Coaching Services Packaged?
There are a variety of ways in which executive coaching services are packaged. Two of the most common are executive coaching retainers and executive coaching packages.
- Executive Coaching Retainer: You meet with your coach for a set number of times per month. Most coaches have a minimum 3-, 6-, or 12-month commitment.
- Executive Coaching Package: You meet with your coach for a set number of sessions. Most coaches set a time limit on when you need to complete your sessions.
Some executive coaches also offer á la carte sessions. However, this offering tends to tend to be less common with leadership coaching since you can’t expect significant results in a single meeting. Change takes time.
What Services Are Included With Executive Coaching?
Now, what’s included in a typical executive coaching package? Although every coach is unique, here are some of the most common items included in executive coaching engagements:
- Executive Coaching Sessions: Most coaches offer sessions that are 45 to 60 minutes in length and occur every one to four weeks.
- Resources & “Homework”: Many executive coaches also offer customized resources and assignments, which I like to call “homework,” for you to complete between sessions to deepen your learning and continue making progress toward your goals.
- Support Between Sessions: Some coaches offer email (or similar) types of support between sessions, while others limit or restrict communication to the sessions themselves. If a coach limits or restricts communication between sessions, consider whether this will work for your coaching needs.
- Leadership & Career Assessments: Depending on your coach’s training and certification, they may offer assessments, such as CliftonStrengths, MBTI, and the Strong Interest Inventory.
Note: Many assessments are only available through practitioners who have completed advanced training and are certified to administer them.
What To Look For In An Executive Coach
While executive coaching can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, it’s an investment in your career and future. Consequently, you’ll want to find the best executive coach for your needs and goals.
Documented Success In Coaching Senior Managers & Executives
If you’re a senior manager or executive, be sure to partner with a coach who has experience coaching people at your level. While there are a lot of coaches on the market, few have a track record of success in supporting leaders as they navigate change and uncharted territory.
Coaching top leaders requires a different skill set, presence, and personality than coaching professionals or new managers.
Education, Coaching Credentials, & Advanced Training
You also want to research your coach’s education, coaching credentials, and training when reviewing the cost of coaching services. Notably, a more experienced and educated coach who holds multiple credentials and advanced training in coaching – which likely cost them tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain – will bill more than an inexperienced coach.
Staying Up To Date On Coaching & Leadership Best Practices
Moreover, you want to ensure your executive coach is staying on top of the latest trends. This can be achieved, in part, by:
- Maintaining industry memberships
- Attending and speaking at industry conferences
- Authoring thought leadership articles
- Pursuing coaching certifications and other advanced training
- Mentoring and training fellow coaches
- Hiring their own coaches
I’ve always said you shouldn’t trust a coach who doesn’t have their own coach.
Questions To Ask A Prospective Executive Coach
So, how do you find the best executive coach for your needs? While this article I wrote for Forbes offers a deep dive into the topic, the following are a few questions to support you in identifying the right coach for you.
- What’s your experience partnering with top leaders?
- What support do you provide to your clients between sessions?
- What education, coaching certifications, and advanced training do you possess?
- How do you stay up to date on the latest coaching and leadership best practices?
- Can you point me to verified testimonials from former clients like me?
Final Thoughts On Working With An Executive Coach
On a final note, you’re welcome to reach out and schedule a consultation to see if working with me as your executive coach is your next best step. I’ll provide a referral to a trusted industry colleague if I’m not the perfect fit, as I want to ensure you find the best coach for your needs and goals. You’ve got this!