How to Become an Executive Coach

Learning how to become an executive coach could be an excellent idea if you want to put your business experience to good use, and explore a new career path. Becoming an executive coach often means earning a PCC (Professional Certified Coach) accreditation.

This certification builds on existing knowledge you may have already earned with an Associate Certified Coach certification, and requires 125 hours of coach-specific training, as well as a minimum of 500 hours of coaching experience.

What Does “Executive Coach” Mean

An executive coach is an often certified professional with in-depth knowledge capable of guiding executives and high-potential employees. These consultative experts guide the clients they work with towards their goals, providing advice and support along the way.

In an executive coaching career, you’ll be responsible for helping high-level business professionals gain self-awareness and cultivate successful paths towards their goals. Executive coaches often involve direct regular conversations with professionals, as well as brainstorming and planning sessions, to help each client find their path to success.

Becoming an executive coach is similar to learning how to become a leadership coach. In both careers, you concentrate on mentoring and supporting other professionals. However, leadership coaches focus more on building leadership skills, while executive coaches focus on helping the client to achieve their vision in both their professional and personal life.

Executive Coach Responsibilities

The responsibilities of an executive coach can vary depending on the service the client is looking for. Generally, executive coaches design their service around the specific assistance their clients need, focusing on building strategies for the client to achieve their goals. Most of the common responsibilities of an executive coach include:

  • Providing confidential and supportive consultation for clients
  • Asking questions and challenging client assumptions
  • Helping individuals achieve clarity when making decisions
  • Provide advice and deliver meaningful guidance
  • Administer and help interpret behavioral assessments
  • Conduct interviews to help the client better understand themselves

How to Become an Executive Coach

The best way to become an executive coach is to hone your skills with the right certifications. However, before you begin to pursue your accreditation, you can start improving your chances of success with the following tips:

1. Know the difference between coaching and consulting: Remember, while an executive coaching career may include some consultation and advice, it’s more about helping your clients to gain clarity and find their own solutions to problems, rather than telling them what to do. If you’d prefer to give expert advice on building a business, you might be better suited to a career as a consultant.

2. Build a sound coaching philosophy: There are various kinds of approaches to coaching you can consider as you pursue your new career. If you’re not sure what your coaching philosophy might entail, it’s worth checking out the Institute of Organization Development’s list of 15 different styles of coaching.

3. Design a coaching methodology and process: Building on your coaching philosophy, you’ll need to develop a comprehensive process if you’re planning on becoming an executive coach. This involves creating a process for assessing your client’s needs, assessing the kind of challenges you’re agreeing to solve, and more.

4. Commit to lifelong learning: As mentioned above, it helps to have the right certification if you want to succeed as an executive coach. However, you’ll also need to commit to constantly expanding your knowledge and exploring new modes of thought. The best coaches keep up to date with their landscape and pay attention to new methodologies as they emerge.

5. Build your pricing model: As an executive coach, you’ll need to determine how you’re going to charge for your service. The strategy you use for pricing will depend on a number of factors. You may consider using a lump sum or package pricing model, or a membership pricing model, depending on the kind of coaching you want to do.

What is the Best Executive Coach Certification?

An executive coach certification is an excellent way to differentiate yourself from other coaches and consultants in your industry. Currently, there are a number of executive coaching programs available online and offline. The best option will be one that’s approved by a reputable group, such as the International Coaching Federation, or ICF.

An ICF-approved course may come in a range of different formats to suit people with different levels of experience. For instance, you might start with a basic associate-level coaching certification, before eventually expanding to earn your full professional certified coach credential.

Options include:

ACC: The ACC credential requires 60 hours of coach-specific education from an ICF-approved course and 100 hours of coaching experience. You also need to access 10 hours of mentor coaching.

PCC: The PCC credential requires 125 hours of coach training from an ICF program, 10 extra hours of mentor coaching, and 500 hours of coaching experience.

MCC: The most advanced coaching credential is the Master Certified Coach course (MMC) which requires you to earn both your ACC and PCC credentials, and have more than 200 hours of coach-specific training from an ICF program. You’ll also need a minimum of 2,500 hours of coaching experience.

What is the Average Executive Coach Salary?

The average salary for an executive coach in the United States is approximately $102,523, but the amount you earn will depend on how you price your services.

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