If you’re considering hiring an executive coach to help your managers develop leadership skills, it’s important to first learn about how coaching works.

Every coach has a different process. One might work better for your organization than another. For example, a 360-Degree Assessment is helpful for getting a broad perspective on a manager’s strengths and development needs. Maybe you are already aware of areas for improvement and need help identifying resources to support filling those gaps.

Whatever you’re looking for, even if you don’t know, you can learn a little bit about what those processes look like from the 11 Forbes Coaches Council members below.


Clockwise from top left: Julie Kantor, Dave Ferguson, Cherry Collier, Michelle Braden, Barbara Safani, Doug Thorpe, Beth Kuhel, Corey Blake, Beth J. Masterman, Brett Baughman. All photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Customize The Process Based On Your Needs

Our process is customized to you. First, I understand the leadership skills you want to develop, your company culture, and your goals by interviewing you and other senior leaders. Second, I assess organizational and/or individual needs by administering tailored questionnaires and/or interviews. Third, I discuss findings, engagement options, and cost/benefits with you. And lastly, I create and deliver customized training or coaching.   – Julie Kantor, PhDJP Kantor Consulting

2. Start With 360-Degree Leadership Coaching

I use a 360-degree leadership approach with managers and executives. It begins with personal awareness conversations and exercises. Then we establish your leadership skill needs, evaluate your leadership tendencies, assess your relationships through assessments, and coach you based on all of this and more. I am highly intentional about building a program specific to each client’s needs.   – Dave FergusonDave Ferguson – Living to Lead

3. Follow ABC: Assessment, Branding, Coaching

I follow ABC: Assessment, Branding, Coaching. Leadership skills are built on the existing personalities of the managers and by using personality assessments, I help them define this foundation. Branding is next, where I help them put a trademark on their unique leadership style. Coaching is the final but continuous step, where I bridge the gap between the current and target skills.   – Dr. Cherry CollierPersonality Matters, INC.

4. Use Written Feedback And Assessments

Successful coaching engagements begin with a coach that uses tested and successful coaching processes. It is crucial for the coaching process to align with the culture of the organization and the desired outcomes. Our engagements are a 6-month commitment that include the coachee and his or her leadership, or a stakeholder. Together, we use written feedback and assessments to set a clear path forward.   – Michelle BradenMSBCoach, LLC

5. Offer Introspective Conversations And 360-Degree Feedback

To develop strong leaders, I identify skill level and gaps based on introspective conversations and assessments with both the executive and the people they regularly interact with (superiors, peers, subordinates, clients, vendors). I then collaborate with executive leadership to identify resources, training and coaching experiences to help the executive reach professional and personal goals.   – Barbara SafaniCareer Solvers