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Working with an Executive and Leadership Coach next month?

‘What would make you say ‘yes’ to working with an Executive and Leadership Coach as from next month’ is a question that I asked one of my potential clients recently. He had booked a ‘Chemistry call’ with me on a Saturday morning.

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What is a chemistry conversation?

A chemistry conversation is key between a future coachee (yourself) and a coach so that you can agree that you can work together.

Each coaching engagement begins with a ‘chemistry conversation’. This is the time where the potential client and coach have a conversation to determine and discuss several things which may include:

  • What the client is looking for in the coaching relationship
  • What the coaching relationship is and isn’t
  • The style of the coach and how that resonates with the client
  • Rules of engagement and protocol (Coaching is confidential and the priority is the client, no one else!)
  • The coach’s credentials relative to the client’s needs
  • Timing and logistics of the coaching
  • How success for coaching will be measured
  • Agreement to move forward

Different coaches have different stories and one might appeal to you more than the other ones. Ultimately, my clients are paying for an outcome and for my experience and it would be the same if they chose a different coach.

What does ‘Coaching’ mean?

Let’s start with the beginning. ICF (International Coach Federation) defines coaching as ‘partnering with coachee(s) in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential’.

What are the ICF credentials?

All ICF credential coaches adhere to the elements and principles of ethical conduct: to be competent and integrate ICF Core Competencies effectively in their work. The ICF offers the only globally recognised independent credentialing programme and there are currently over 20,000 ICF credited coaches worldwide in more than 60 countries.

The three credentials are:

Associate Certified Coach (ACC)

Professional Certified Coach (PCC)

Master Certified Coach (MCC)

To claim each credential, a coach must have a minimum number of hours of coaching experience (ACC = at least 100 hours, PCC = at least 500 hours, MCC = at least 2500 hours). The Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) is the same for all three credentials and is a three-hour online examination with scenarios using multiple choice. Coaches then decide to specialise in their niche depending on their qualification, background, experience, training. If you want heart surgery, you go to a specialist. It is the same for coaching.

I am good at what I do and I love what I do. I totally accept that some clients might not want to work with me because I do not quite match what they are looking for. There are many other coaches out there with equally exciting and impressive stories, and I invite you to look them up too or I am happy to advise. Just to name a few:

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‘What’s your story?’ was the question asked by my potential client during the chemistry call

My potential client asked me a lot of questions about who I was and what experience I had. This made me realised that having the information on my website is not always enough for someone who is looking at working with you. They want to hear how you talk about your journey and have the freedom to ask you why you made certain choices.

I am ACC and on my way to be PCC soon. I have 20+ years experience in the public sector. I have been a secondary Headteacher twice, managing £multi-million budgets. I am bilingual (French/English).

I have coached teams in all the schools where I have worked (as an educator around the world) and I have also coached students, so this equates to about 25,000 students and 5,000 educators (teachers and non teachers). I have led several workshops in the UK and around the world where I have influenced another 1000 educators. Now I also coach leaders in the corporate world around the world.

In 2017, I qualified as an Associate CIPD in HR, specialising in talent management, retention, staff engagement and the impact of coaching on the organisational performance. I have used the skills and knowledge I acquired to now work with my current and future clients. Coaching has been a core part of how I led my teams for 20 years.

This year, I have published over 45 blogs/vlogs online, all practical and ?how to? advice that relate to my clients’ questions. How do I know what they are thinking? Well, I have been there myself by experiencing the same fears, issues, concerns or worries and I am listening to my current clients. I am still a teacher (and forever will be) so I educate my readers as well; I help them solve their problems. I have posted high quality content on Twitter and on Linkedin and have daily conversations with my followers. My latest blog How to have a difficult conversation is ranked fifth in Google Search.

I hosted a Twitter Chat #ManagingTeams on Wednesdays in the summer 2018 between 9pm and 10pm (BST) to offer Leaders another layer of support with a conversation made of 7 questions and where people from all over the world are welcome to contribute.

I launched my first online webinar on 10th September between 1.30pm and 2.30pm (BST) on ‘How to have a difficult conversation’. This was as a direct result of many conversations with my clients.

Behind someone’s name, behind their title and behind the acronyms that follow their name, there is a story. I am sharing my story because people might think that it is an overnight success. It is not quite the case! The secret behind my success has been my determination to make a difference no matter what has been in my way, it has been my ambition, my resilience. I have always felt a sense of responsibility and a need to leave a legacy.

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And then what?

By asking me this question, my potential client made me reflect on the transformation that he was not only looking for but also on the transformation that he would experience through working with me. I see the transformation as a return of investment and a return of expectations. I would expect the transformation to have an outcome at several levels: professional, personal life, relationships, finance and health. It’s about investing time and energy for impact. Accountability is needed for that plan to happen.

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Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom


One of my former colleagues used to have a mirror in her office. She said that the mirror was her reminder to take a look at herself. Examples of questions you might be asked in a coaching session:

  • What’s your definition of success?
  • What stresses you out?
  • What makes you unique?
  • What would you like to see yourself as?
  • What can you see that can be developed in you?
  • What type of worker are you?
  • What makes you tired?


Always seeing something, never seeing nothing, being photographer

(Walter De Mulder)

When you are a leader and very busy, it is easy not to see what is around you or to make inaccurate assessment of people around you. Listen with your eyes and open the future. Examples of questions you might be asked in a coaching session:

  • What do you see in others?
  • What sort of conversations do you have with others?
  • How can they help you?
  • What would you like to borrow from others?
  • How do you get the best from people?


When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don?t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps


What matters is how you see things and the perspectives that you have. It is about distance and proximity. When you find it difficult to distance yourself from a situation, your Executive Coach may use the metaphor Choose the right pair of glasses as you are what you see. Examples of questions you might be asked in a coaching session:

  • What other tools do you have in your leadership toolkit?
  • How will you ensure you and your teams are all working in sync toward the highest-priority goals.
  • What are the things that you see that can be made better?
  • Can you see what might be better for you now?
  • How do you see the world differently now?
  • What do you feel when you like what you see?


It?s never too late to be who you might have been

(George Eliot)

It all starts with your DNA and you are unique. Shine bright like a diamond. Examples of questions you might be asked in a coaching session:

  • What are your unique strengths?
  • What strengths could you make even stronger? How?
  • How can you use your strengths more effectively for the benefit of your team and your organisation?
  • What new strengths would you like to have?


Almost everything in leadership comes back to relationships

(Mike Krzyzewski)

People are everything in an organisation. It does not cost anything to say Thank you and it can mean the world to another person. Examples of questions you might be asked in a coaching session:

  • How do you build relationships with your colleagues?
  • What assumptions are you making about your colleagues?
  • What sorts of conversations do you have with your colleagues?
  • How do you make your colleagues feel good about themselves?
  • How do you manage a difficult colleague?


If today was your last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to today

(Steve Jobs)

You can be unstoppable and only you can decide. It’s up to you! Examples of questions you might be asked in a coaching session:

  • What are your dreams?
  • How can you achieve your goals?
  • Who can help you?
  • What barriers do you need to remove to achieve your dreams?
  • How do you celebrate your successes?

This blog on What would make you say ‘yes’ to working with an Executive and Leadership Coach as from next month? gives you an opportunity to think about the benefits of working a qualified Executive Coach. Thank you as ever for stopping by. What do you think of what you’ve read? Feel free to comment below or Tweet me @NadinePowrie with any comments or email me at

In 2019, I will be delivering 6 Masterclasses in London. If you are interested in working with me, sign up for your place now. There are only 10 places available.

23rd January 2019 or 12th June 2019: Coaching for effective change communication

28th March 2019 or 26th June 2019: Coaching for managing difficult conversations

25th April 2019: Coaching for better feedback

15th May 2019: Coaching for effective performance conversations

Working with an Executive and Leadership Coach next month? 9

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