Tokyo is Not Toledo: Maybe It’s Time to Hire An Executive Coach

No one will ever mistake Bangkok for Bakersfield or Tokyo for Toledo.

It’s a very different business culture in this part of the world.  If you’re a CEO or General Manager in Asia here or headed this way, maybe it’s time to hire an executive coach.

Why?  An executive coach can help you be more successful in your work.  The coach can be a sounding board, he or she can give you a different perspective, can share prior experiences, can give you feedback that no one else will give you, can help you create a positive working environment.

What To Look For?

1. Hire someone who’s had experience working with people at your level.  You don’t want someone who usually works with fresh graduates-they won’t know the challenges you face.

2. Find someone you’re compatible with.  Set up a first meeting [sometimes there is a charge for this; sometimes not] and ask the coach some questions about what you are facing and how they would help you with them. Request that this meeting and future ones be confidential.  Most coaches will honor this request.

3. Hire someone who knows about how organizations work in the country where you work.  Some one may know China but not Japan. If you’re in Japan, hire someone who knows Japan.

4. Hire someone who understands organizations.  Coaching credentials from ABC Coaching Skill do not make the grade in my book.  Instead, find someone with a background in consulting or organizational change or systems. Avoid someone with a rigid format.  Find someone flexible who can work with you.

There might be an advantage in hiring someone who knows your industry, but maybe not.  There might  be an advantage to hiring someone who is new to your industry to give you an outside perspective.

Also consider paying for the coach out of your money.  It won’t be cheap, but it could save you a lot of stress and wasted time.  If the company pays, they will want to see a report on progress and depending on the agreement with the coach, there may be information passed on that you would prefer others not know.

When To Hire A Coach

The easy answer is when you need one, but a better answer is before you need one. I usually get calls for coaching at one of these times

1.  Getting Ready for A Promotion.  You’re going to be promoted to Regional VP and want to be able to reduce the transition time.  I call this the “Help Me Get Ready” stage.

2.  Just Been Promoted.  You’ve been promoted to CEO or Regional VP.  You want to be sure to succeed in this role.  I call this the “Help Me Succeed” stage.

3.  Trouble.  You recognize that the job is tougher than you thought. It might have taken you two years to recognize it, but you’ve got some challenges that are driving you crazy, or at least you’re not sure how to handle them.  The soup hasn’t hit the fan [yet] but unless you get some help, it could be all over.

These two words can make a big difference

Not sure you need one?  Talk to some people who’ve used a coach and ask them how or if it helped?

Ask them for recommendations.

Ask them who is considered the best in your city.

Then schedule a meeting with 2 or 3 coaches and  find one that fits.  You don’t  need to meet with 8 coaches if you do some pre-screening.

Good luck.  Don’t worry that hiring an executive coach is a sign of weakness.  On the contrary.  It shows that you’re committed to doing the best job possible.

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