Recently on Culture Amp’s new online forum, People Geeks Answers, we saw a question about executive coaching services. We thought this was a great opportunity to address exactly what executive coaching is and share recommendations from the Culture Amp network.
For those who aren’t familiar, executive coaching is a relationship where a qualified professional works with leaders to help them achieve a variety of goals - whether it’s gaining more self-awareness or clarifying their career path. It’s important to find a coach who understands your needs and has experience guiding other clients through the same challenges.
Since the process of selecting the right executive coach may feel daunting, we collected recommendations from 21 executive coaches to help you get started. Below, they share their areas of specialization, the locations they serve, as well as advice for those who are seeking out executive coaching services.
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Brandi is an award winning international speaker, facilitator and coach. Currently, Brandi’s focus is on her passion for developing the world's next generation of leaders and creating experiences that transform lives.
Locations: Brandi coaches clients remotely and across any time zone. She’s also open to traveling to clients for coaching intensives that mirror the format of a personal retreat and usually last one to two consecutive days.
Specializations: Brandi primarily works with individuals who are interested in making a career transition (whether it’s entering or exiting a role or industry), pursuing another leadership role, or experiencing some kind of leadership challenge.
Brandi’s Advice: “For those that are seeking out coaching services, I believe it's important to first assess your readiness for coaching. Coaching is not therapy. Before hiring a Coach, Coachees should clarify why they want to be coached and how they believe a Coach could help support them in meeting their personal and professional goals. If Coachees have these insights, they will be better equipped to discern whether or not a Coach is the right fit for them at that point in their personal and professional journey.”
Anne is a certified Executive Coach in different countries and coaches in English, French and Italian. She focuses on building one-on-one relationships to help her clients face challenges, articulate wishes and fears, and to make them aware of what drives them to become fully engaged and purpose-driven.
Locations: Anne offers coaching services in person in her Paris office and remotely to any other location - mainly with U.K. and Italy based clients.
Specializations: Anne’s specialization is change management through communication. Having worked in various countries, she also specializes in intercultural coaching, which is key today to excel in multicultural and complex environments.
Anne’s Advice: “The most important thing is that you feel inspired by your coach. Meet different coaches, follow your intuition, and choose the best one for you – you will feel excited and maybe even a bit scared, but this means that you are ready for the journey. Your coach needs to fit with your style and values, understand you and your challenges, and will shake up your thinking by taking you out of your comfort zone. The main benefit of coaching is that you will grow to become the best version of yourself, based on your uniqueness and strengths.”
Lindsay is a thoughtful and accomplished people leader, executive coach, and leadership consultant. She has experience delivering strategic business impact in multiple industries including technology, media, healthcare, retail and consulting and leverages 15+ years of HR/OD/Coaching expertise to accelerate the competitive advantage of companies by optimizing their talent, teams, and organizations.
Locations: Lindsay is headquartered in Atlanta, and she offers both in-person and remote services nationwide.
Specializations: Lindsay specializes in working with men in tech. The reality is that men are still the vast majority in tech, especially in leadership roles, and she believes that in order to create a better, more inclusive, happier workplaces for all people, we must raise the emotional and relationship intelligence of the majority.
Lindsay’s Advice: “Take the time to interview at least three coaches. Like anything, not everyone is going to be right for you. There are many flavors of coaching in the market so it pays to discover how each coach would approach working with you. For example, some coaches are very focused on helping you set goals and stay accountable to those goals but may not get into the deeper work of root cause. No approach is better than the other. They are simply different and it’s up to you to decide what works best for your needs and desires. The benefits of great coaching can include: better boundaries, less conflict, happier relationships, clear direction on next steps, understanding our strengths, and a whole host of other benefits depending on the topic.”
Hsiang-Yi is an executive and leadership coach, a strategic planning facilitator, and an organization transformation consultant. Hsiang-Yi has helped executive leaders at Dropbox, Culture Amp, Open DNS/Cisco, and NerdWallet navigate leadership challenges and thrive in times of growth and transitions. Prior to coaching, she spent 10+ years in operating and leadership roles in at companies like Intuit, Yahoo, FedEx, and Silicon Valley tech start-ups and, as a result, deeply empathizes with the leadership challenges of rapidly scaling organizations.
Locations: Hsiang-Yi offers in-person coaching in Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, and remote coaching globally. In addition to coaching individuals, she also works with teams.
Specializations: Hsiang-Yi partners with highly accomplished and results-oriented leaders who recognize ‘what got them here will not get them there’ and work with them to cross that chasm.
Hsiang-Yi’s Advice: “Coaching is a great vehicle to help leaders operating at their best – consistently. Just as Olympic athletes, executives work with their coach to help them perform at their best. Through coaching, one not only gains perspectives on how to navigate through current situations but also acquire the inner resources and build the capacity necessary for long-term success. One advice: Be intentional about why you want to do this work. I often begin my work by asking some big questions such as:
- What is your “one big thing” that you’d like to accomplish in our coaching together? Why is that important to you?
- Why does being a good leader matter to you?
I believe that people achieve their highest potential when the what, how, and why are all present. Thus, I work with leaders to set an intention on the what, build capacity for the how, and gain clarity on the why.”
Ken specializes in developing organizational and individual capability through training, consulting, and coaching. Specific areas of application in this regard are Leadership, Team Development, Personal Effectiveness, Resilience, Career Development, Communication, Strategic Thinking, Negotiation, Managing Change, Organization Culture, and Influencing Others.
Locations: Ken provides coaching services across Australia and Southeast Asia. He offers in-person coaching in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, and Brisbane and occasionally travels further as required. Ken also takes clients remotely via Skype, Zoom, or phone.
Specializations: Ken focuses on assisting leaders to realize their own potential and achieving the same with their staff. The approach draws on the latest research from neuroscience and positive psychology but it’s also fundamentally practical, recognizing that leadership can be messy much of the time.
Ken’s Advice: “When seeking coaching services, it’s important to have an overall objective in mind. This will assist you in identifying the right coach for you. For example, if you are looking for career progression to the C-Suite, it could help to have a coach who has worked at that level. Chemistry is also important. Coaching is only truly successful when the relationship between coach and client is developed on a foundation of trust. The coaching relationship can be short or long, depending on the value it is seen to deliver. While it generally commences with one or more clear goals that the client brings to the coach after a few sessions the value of the coaching shifts often shifts to a broader reflective space. There is no rule for the duration, other than continuing perceived value.”
Jennifer is a global speaker and empowerment catalyst. A lifelong entrepreneur, she is the Founder and CEO of IMPERIA™, an innovation incubator focused on women creating social impact projects around the globe. IMPERIA brings together women from 195 countries to develop their leadership and provide a strong sense of community, with programming based on Jennifer’s methodology of Self-Directed Empowerment™, which illustrates how one can become one’s own renewable, sustainable source of power.
Locations: Jennifer offers 100% remote services (by phone or internet call) and works with founders from around the world.
Specializations: Jennifer works primarily with post-Series A founders and female founders, but she has also worked with a number of men and co-ed founding teams. She comes in when it's time to grow and build a proper culture, infrastructure, and leadership development arc, and help the company transition from survival to thrive mode.
Jennifer’s Advice: “When it comes to finding a coach, the importance of experience cannot be understated. The marketplace is flooded with "coaches," so dig in to find out what they've done in their careers. What makes them qualified to coach you? What is their track record? Do they have a level of special knowledge in your field? Will they sign an NDA? The next most important piece is fit. I choose my coaching clients very carefully because I'm looking for a certain type of human: An entrepreneur who wants to thrive in uncharted waters, crafting the future. This is not a casual arrangement to walk into, because you want to trust your coach with your business and personality details. My coaching contract has a confidentiality clause built-in so founders can feel comfortable telling me the details we need to discuss.”
Ann is a highly seasoned executive coach with a loyal following in New York, where she is known as one of the “go-to” coaches for CEOs in tech startup companies. She has logged over 5000 hours of one-on-one coaching, and completed training and certification in the following modalities: Non-Violent Communication, The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, The Immunity to Change Model, Tilt 365.
Locations: Ann partners with clients who are based in and outside of the U.S. She usually connects with clients over the phone or via Zoom and also meets with individuals in-person at her office in Flatiron, NYC. She can work with clients at their offices too when needed.
Specializations: Ann serves a number of business owners, Founders, Co-Founders, and C-Suite executives. Entrepreneurs tend to be her focus. She also adores supporting female leaders through organizations she collaborates within NY and NJ.
Ann’s Advice: “Before you reach out to a coach, take some time to review your intentions. Are you funding the work directly or is your company looking to make the investment on your behalf? If you could create the results you desired with your life/business/role, what specifically would you like to achieve? I often suggest speaking to a few coaches before you commit to one. Gaining rapport as well as understanding a coach’s approach, is key. Look for someone who has a coach themselves and who is a deep listener. The process of coaching can be humbling as you’re often looking at ways you’ve been thinking and behaving, which could be getting in the way of your goals. Therefore, making space for self-reflection as you embark on the process is vital.”
Laura is a certified ICF PCC and Marshall Goldsmith coach with over 20 years experience coaching and training leaders at organizations such as NASA, the Navy, Shell Oil, M+T Bank, and LexisNexis, as well as start-up venture-backed Silicon Valley CEO’s and executive teams in tech, biotech, energy, and financial industries.
Locations: Laura lives and works in the SF Bay Area and sees clients from San Francisco to Sunnyvale. She also has clients throughout the US, Europe, and globally. She travels as needed and coaches clients remotely (via phone and video).
Specializations: Laura specializes in Executive Coaching, Women in Leadership, Succeeding in your Zone of Genius, Navigating Career Transitions. Laura has patented a methodology for Creativity and Innovation and facilitate teams to have honest conversations for alignment, vision and strategy. She also coaches VC-backed startup CEO’s on their leadership.
Laura’s Advice: “A coach partners with you to help you think outside of the box regarding your current challenges, access your own inner wisdom and define a path forward while holding you accountable to your goals and intentions of what you want to create. The investment of time and energy you put into your own learning journey is key to an impactful coaching engagement.”
Beth is a fully accredited coach with the Academy of Executive Coaching (AoEC) and an International Coaching Federation (ICF) member. She has developed tools and techniques that she brings to her clients to build fundamental confidence and resilience, and to help them go from feeling stuck and overwhelmed to pursuing and achieving their goals.
Locations: Beth offers her services over Zoom video call primarily or occasionally in-person in Central London coffee shops or client's offices (London only or travel expenses apply).
Specializations: Beth works with clients to build their authentic confidence and help them truly flourish in all aspects of their life including career. She works with men and women throughout all stages of their careers.
Beth’s Advice: “Coaching is a really powerful process if you are ready to work and make the changes you want. Be prepared to be challenged and see things in a new light. Work with a coach that you connect with as well as someone who is properly trained and accredited. Coaching is an investment in terms of money, time and dedication, be prepared for that. It is the best investment and a life-changing one (if you are ready). To find a coach, ask for recommendations from others, look at LinkedIn, reach out and ask to have an initial chat to see if you are the right fit for each other. Coaching should be a great, groundbreaking process, so invest in the right coach for you and enjoy it! It's the hardest work but the best work of your life.”
Rachel is a coach, facilitator, and consultant who assists individuals and organizations navigating challenging spaces and phases. Her goal is to help her clients close gaps between where they are and where they truly want to be.
Locations: Rachel mainly offers services on the phone or video (Zoom, Google hangouts, etc.) She occasionally meets clients in-person and is based in Burlingame, California.
Specializations: Rachel coaches people who are open, curious and ready to experiment with new ways of living and working.
Rachel’s Advice: “At times, many of us lose track of what we really want and are unsure of how to show up with our team, friends, and family. Coaching is a place to be present, speak freely, untangle thoughts, and gain clarity. I believe my clients have the answers within them and my role is to help uncover their wisdom through questions, challenges, and cheering them on as they experiment with new ways of living in their daily lives. When selecting a coach, go with someone you feel a connection with - listen to your gut and intuition. Choose someone who points you in directions that lead to new perspectives and encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone. That is where you'll find meaningful change and growth.”
Michael is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation, and a Certified Integral Coach® through New Ventures West in San Francisco, where he serves as adjunct faculty and act as a mentor for new coaches. He uses his 15-years of management experience to help successful professionals get out of their own way by enabling them to develop and maintain higher levels of self-awareness so that they can create a bigger impact and experience greater satisfaction in their work and life.
Locations: Michael works with clients mostly in the U.S. and does a fair amount of travel for this work, but he’s also happy to work virtually with video when needed. He is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Specializations: Michael’s sweet spot is supporting leaders who are being blocked by an underlying issue of lack of balance, stress, or poor self-management. He offers a unique combination of workflow coaching and leadership coaching.
Michael’s Advice: “These days, working with a coach to help you develop as a leader and human being is becoming more and more the norm. We all need this kind of support, especially as we mature in our professional roles and have a greater span of responsibilities and relationships to manage. A great coach can be an invaluable partner in your self-development by helping to illuminate your blind-spots and unconscious personality patterns, and guiding you with new practices which, over time, integrate into who you are and how you show up as a leader. I recommend taking some time to research the level of experience, style, and testimonials of each coach you consider, and interview at least two or three to get a feel. Trust your heart and your gut in making this decision.”
Kate is a Life & Executive Coach who helps dedicated individuals feel aligned at a soul level so they can create the lives they crave. Her online coaching mixes psychology with old-school wisdom. She received her MS in Psychology in 2008 and worked for a number of years as a Corporate Psychologist before setting up her own coaching practice.
Locations: Kate does the majority of her coaching via video-conferencing calls remotely with U.S. based clients. She also offers in-person sessions in Minneapolis, MN.
Specializations: Kate specializes in Emerging Leadership, Career Planning and Stress & Resilience Coaching. She utilizes a lot of theory from the field of Positive Psychology in her coaching process.
Kate’s Advice: “Nothing beats a personal recommendation. If you know someone who speaks highly of a coach after working with them, then that is an excellent sign. If you don't have that luxury, then do your homework and look for coaches that feel professional and have a background that feels good to you (as Coaching is still an unregulated industry). Read testimonials, check them out on LinkedIn, listen to podcasts if they have one. But above all else, connect with the Coach and get a feel for them. Coaching is a personal process, so the coaching relationship is an essential component of success. You need to feel comfortable with your Coach.”
Larissa is the Founder of Wayfinding.io and specializes in facilitating aliveness and alignment across personal, interpersonal, and organizational scales to cultivate power that serves. With over 10 years of diverse experience in the energetics and mechanics of transformation, she helps leaders and teams develop refined sensing and listening, shed what no longer serves, and dynamically steward greater creative connection in their lives and organizations.
Locations: Larissa offers in-person and remote services from San Francisco, and she travels for select client work ranging nationally and internationally.
Specializations: Larissa specializes in executive rites of passage, power literacy, ego dynamics, inclusive leadership, systems transformation, and ceremony design.
Larissa’s Advice: “When seeking a coach, try to understand the core principles and beliefs that inform how they coach and see the world. Because the greatest opportunity in coaching is to gain a wider view of yourself and reality, which is only served if you align with your coach's overall ontology and methodology. I also suggest that you evaluate the person's lived experiences that give them legitimacy to be in a coaching role. Not only what they've done in the business world, but what they've encountered in their life, what they've learned from those experiences, and how relevant those learnings are to your own journey and needs. Lastly, like in all relationships, it ultimately comes down to feeling, so it's worth connecting with a couple of coaches to see whom you resonate the most with.”
Matthew is a three-time entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO at Goalspriing, which is reinventing coaching for the modern workforce to help people and companies reach their full potential. He has a successful track record of building great companies that foster healthy living and enhanced quality of life for people all around the world.
Locations: Matthew offers services all around the world by phone, video conference, and unlimited messaging.
Specializations: Matthew specializes in working with new leaders in private, venture-backed startups.
Matthew’s Advice: “Hire a coach who has done more than once what you are trying to accomplish.”
Dara is committed to helping people and teams expand who they are and what they can achieve. She draws on her experiences as a sociologist, Developmental Coach, Integral Facilitator®, cultural theorist, scholar of identity and embodiment, educator, mind-body awareness practitioner, Usui Reiki Master, meditator, and organization designer in her work with individuals and teams.
Locations: Dara offers services both in person in New York City and virtually via Zoom. In some cases, she travels to work with teams and individuals as part of their ongoing work together.
Specializations: Dara’s coaching specialization is in holistic identity development. It is a whole-person, whole-life Integral approach that includes embodiment, mindfulness, and adult developmental psychology.
Dara’s Advice: “Coaching is all about the relationship and where you're able to go and how you're able to experiment in that relationship. Often people are drawn to work with me because I take an organic discovery approach as opposed to a goal-oriented approach. These are different types of growth and when you're looking for a coach it is useful to have at least a general sense of the type of work you're ready to do, how much uncertainty you're up for, and all of the facets of your life that may potentially benefit from your work together. Personally, I work with people in a deep way over the course of no less than six months and when first starting a relationship like this, I generally make myself available to multiple meetings upfront to really discern if we're a good fit to do good work together.”
Sue is a speaker, startup CEO, investor, mentor, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, conscious leadership coach, co-creator of the Leadership Camp training program for high-potential leaders, former federal prosecutor, and a direct and fearless catalyst for change. She is an authentic, conscious leadership resource for leaders and teams interested in reaching their highest potential and biggest vision.
Locations: Sue works extensively in Denver/Boulder, Bay Area, and Chicago. She travels internationally to meet with clients, and she conducts a portion of all coaching engagements over video conference.
Specializations: Sue has deep experience as a business operator and investor in tech, so the lion’s share of her work is in that sector. Sue’s venture fund, MergeLane, focuses on companies that must have at least one woman in leadership, so she always has a large number of female clients. She has also worked extensively with successful family businesses that are navigating generational changes.
Sue’s Advice: “The first question to ask around securing a coach is “do I really want a coach?” Many people are advised to hire a coach or feel pressured to do so because others in their leadership peer group are getting great benefits from their coaches. If you are not ready to be in an intimate, vulnerable coaching engagement, hold off. If you’ve passed the hurdle of knowing you want to find a coach, I recommend you speak with three people whom your network has recommended. Evaluate the quality of the coaches’ listening, the willingness of the coach to build a relationship with you in that first call, and the personal style of each candidate. Great coaches help you look at the shadow, your blind spots, with an open, honest heart. Choose the person you think is most likely to give you that, especially if that thought, as you read this, brings on a giant wave of nausea.”
Kate is the Founder of 5 Stepping Stones, through which she partners with business, financial and creative leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and actors on their paths toward authenticity and wholeness. She works with people longing to work and live true to their whole authentic selves, engage in their right work, experience meaning and ascend to their highest state of being.
Locations: Kate is a digital nomad traveling the country in her camper van. So she “sees” all her clients virtually. When she’s at her home base in the Catskill Mountains in New York, she sees people for group work at her home once a month.
Specializations: Kate’s focus is on her transpersonal approach - meaning she specializes in supporting her clients’ whole selves. Her clients tend to be executives, C-level entrepreneurs, and creative leaders who desire to be authentic in work and their lives. Many of her clients seek Kate’s services as they are going through some sort of big transition in life.
Kate’s Advice: “Most importantly, find a coach with whom you resonate and relate to strongly. Feel into it with your heart and gut...not only your head. I’m a coach because I had a wonderful coach when I became the President of a company during my corporate career. That relationship changed my life and opened up my self-awareness and vulnerability in a way that would not have been possible without her sage guidance and direct feedback. Coaching makes us better people, helps us see our blind spots and move through them, and work with our shadow parts to transform them into strong personal attributes. Bringing a coach on your personal support team is one of the strongest moves you can make to assist you on your life journey, career to clear, expand and transform...and it’s a lot of fun, too.”
Bobbi serves as a Personal Development Coach for Women In Balance, offering women’s retreats in incredible destinations to allow women the opportunity to reboot, rebalance, and recharge. She uses her 30 years of experience in Human Capital Management to relate to the needs of her clients and effectively coach them - meeting them where they are in the challenges they face.
Locations: Bobbi offers her services in person, through video chat or by phone. Her current client base includes all three modalities, with clients in Colorado, Chicago, Manhattan and Omaha, NE.
Specializations: Bobbi specializes in women in leadership roles or women soloprenuers getting started launching their businesses.
Bobbi’s Advice: “My best advice for people seeking out coaching services is to be discriminating and trust your intuition, the fit has to be right to get the most out of a coaching engagement. Asking for references from current or past coaching clients is also a good idea. I also suggest that anyone seeking coaching services should inquire as to what coaching training or certification the coach completed and then be sure to explore their methodology - there are various approaches out there. Formal training or apprenticeships are important, as there is some skill involved in this growing craft.”
Melissa is an organizational psychologist and clinical neuropsychologist with a keen interest in the neurosciences. She has experience working with a range of psychological needs – transition and change, leadership, team effectiveness, stress and burnout, building resilience, communication, and other workplace challenges.
Locations: Melissa offers services in person at The Mind Room in Victoria, Australia. She also regularly works with clients who are nationally or internationally based. Remote and across time zone sessions can be easily managed and booked through The Mind Room.
Specializations: Melissa has a specialist interest in wellbeing and performance at work. She has many years of experience working with people and organizations, including individual coaching, workshop facilitation, and consulting around leadership, transition and change.
Melissa’s Advice: “Coaching psychology creates meaningful and sustainable change, where you have the chance to reflect and proactively work to develop well-being and performance. Working with a psychologist provides the opportunity to work with evidence-based strategies and approaches to explore and identify challenges/opportunities, and achieve goals for growth and development. To find the right coach, explore what might be the best fit for you, and ask lots of questions! Some could be:
- What are the coach's credentials and training, alongside experience with your industry and what you want to explore in coaching.
- What is the typical coaching process? What happens in a typical coaching session?
- What would you like to know about me? What would you like me to know about you?
- How do you handle confidentiality?
The coach is there to broaden your perspective, develop skills and strategies, support you and push you out of your comfort zone.”
Songya is a consultant and coach with accreditations from AOEC, MITT, Happy Ltd, and LEVEL7. With a balanced creative-analytical mind, she helps individuals to develop key leadership skills and self-awareness to uncover who they are and what they want so they can lead with certainty and authenticity.
Locations: Songya offers her services in-person in Berlin and remotely via Zoom.
Specializations: Songya specializes in Leadership in Startups & Scaleups, Leading in Volatile/Uncertain/Ambiguous/Complex Environments, and High-Performing Teams.
Songya’s Advice: “Coaching can be a transformative experience if you come forward fully ready to embrace what might emerge. My most rewarding coaching relationships are ones where the client chose coaching, not where they were forced. There are many different approaches to coaching that suit different needs, and finding the right coach might feel overwhelming. Look for someone with experience and with whom you have the right amount of rapport. Ask open-ended questions to each potential coach to find someone who is credible and experienced, and someone who you trust enough to show up as your full-self. There should be a balance of discomfort (for growth) and comfort (for deepening) and a safe container where you can play, experiment, and make mistakes. Some questions you might ask: Why did you become an executive coach? What is your typical client profile? Think of a time when you questioned your efficacy as a coach - what happened?”
Katee is an international keynote speaker, proven coach, author and strategic leader. She focuses on building diverse and inclusive teams. Katee listens to your needs, both professional and personal, to help build a plan to maximize your success.
Locations: A lot of Katee’s coaching work is done virtually. She is located in Phoenix, Arizona and can also meet in-person for those who are local.
Specializations: Katee specializes in working with women who are new to leadership or looking to move to the next level. She also been asked to step in when someone has been accused of sexual harassment or misconduct to reinforce the messages of the company code of conduct.
Katee’s Advice: “1.) Think about professional athletes. A coach is not going to do the work for you. They are there to help you uncover the right solution. You have the tools inside of you, they help to bring these out. 2.) Coaching is all about the relationship. You need to establish trust to drive a great relationship. 3.) Understand their approach to coaching. They may have a specific formula they use or are more of a free-flowing process based on the circumstances/ needs of the clients. 4.) Know that your coach will push you and ask you to do things that will stretch you to be better. This will help you improve.”
It’s encouraging to see the rise in demand for executive coaching services as company leaders invest more in their self-development. We hope these recommendations help you get started on the path to improving your life, career, and outlook as well. Have a burning HR question you want to be answered? Check out People Geek Answers and share your inquiries here.