Five Tips for Working With External Coaches

Leadership coaching is a powerful way for organisations to develop their leaders. Coaches can help leaders develop their skills and abilities, improve team performance, and increase organisational effectiveness. Coaches can also provide objective feedback and help leaders stay on track to achieving their goals.

In addition to the above, working with an external leadership coach enables leaders to:


  • Become more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.

  • Develop a growth mindset, which is essential for leadership growth.

  • Receive impartial feedback and support, which is often difficult to find in an organisational setting.

Coaching is a powerful tool that supports many people in achieving their goals. But sometimes, it can be challenging to get the most out of leadership coaching.  Here are five tips for working with external coaches.


1. Make Sure You’re Clear on What You Want From a Coach

From developing specific skills to achieving long-term goals, coaching can be beneficial for various things. However, if you are not clear on what you want from an external coach, you may not be able to get the most out of the relationship. Coaches can help with many different things, but you need to be very specific about what you are hoping to get out of the coaching to ensure success.

Some things that you may want a coach for include:

  • Developing unhelpful patterns of behaviour without losing congruence with who you are

  • Creating systemic and long-term change for you and the people you lead

  • Coping with stressful situations

  • When you need a confidential, independent sounding board – someone to help you look objectively at a challenge or opportunity

  • Developing skills such as inspirational or transformational leadership styles


Unfortunately, many people hire coaches without knowing what they want and then wonder why they’re not getting the results they desire. If you’re unsure of where to focus, we can help you establish clarity before you sign up for coaching.

2. Ensure the Leadership Coach Is Aligned With the Goals of the Organisation

Leadership coaches support and challenge leaders to grow into their unknown potential. Much of the work we do involves getting to know not only the leader as the coachee but also the organisation. What’s the scope, context, and nuances around this leader and this organisation? How do we help the organisation achieve its objectives through the work we are doing with the leader(s)?


At The Leadership Coaches, we know just how essential it is that an external coach is aligned with the goals of the organisation and that the coaching is seen as a valuable investment. We also know that the coach should be able to help leaders develop their skills and behaviours and should also support the culture and values of the organisation.

For this reason, we provide coaching chemistry sessions with one or two of our external coaches to ensure that the chemistry is right for trust-based coaching relationships. These sessions are usually thirty minutes long and typically discuss things including:


  • What is coaching?

  • What does the coachee want to achieve?

  • What does the coachee expect of the coach and vice versa?

  • The coaches approach and style of coaching.

  • That coaching is a choice - all parties must decide if coaching is right.


3. Ask Questions

Coaching can be an extremely useful tool for developing leaders. But, as with anything else, it is important to ask questions to get the most out of the experience.


When working with an external leadership coach, ask about their experience and what they bring to the table. Also, be sure to ask about the coach's approach and how they will help you meet your goals. Finally, don't hesitate to ask any questions that come to mind during the process and challenge your coach if you’re unsure about something; it’s better to be honest and honesty is the key to a successful coaching partnership. The more information you have, the better equipped you'll be to make the most of your coaching partnership.


Some questions you may want to ask a prospective external leadership coach include:

  • What are your goals for our coaching relationship?

  • What do you hope to achieve as a result of our work together?

  • How can I improve my leadership skills?

  • What are some areas of my leadership that need development?

  • What can I do to manage my team or organisation better?


4. Be Open to Feedback

Leadership coaching is a process that can have tremendous benefits for individuals and organisations, but it is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. To get the most out of a coaching relationship, both the coach and the coachee need to be open to feedback.


The coach needs to be willing to give feedback about the coachee's progress, patterns of behaviour, and scripts that the coach observes and other areas for improvement. At the same time, the coachee needs to be willing to discuss the feedback and, if agreed, be prepared to take the appropriate action on it. Coaching is a collaborative process, and both parties need to be willing to work together to achieve the best results.


Remember that leadership coaches will give you feedback based on their observations and what they’ve heard from insightful information, e.g. stakeholder interviews. Feedback can often be painful to receive, but our coaches deliver feedback sensitively and will help you identify how to move forward if the feedback is challenging and hard to hear.

5. Commit to the Leadership Coaching Experience

Leadership coaching can enhance many aspects of an organisation. For example, it can help with goal setting, problem-solving, and communication. Leaders who receive coaching are also more likely to be successful in their roles. This is because coaching provides a space for reflection and feedback that can help leaders improve their skills.


However, leadership coaching is only beneficial if people, teams, and organisations commit to it. This means that everyone needs to be on board with the idea of change and be willing to put in the effort required for it to be successful. We know sometimes this can be a challenge, but we are here to guide you on how to move this forward.

To Conclude

At The Leadership Coaches, we provide external leadership coaching to individuals and teams. Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can support you and your people.