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I was attending a leadership roundtable last week, and someone approached me and asked me this question. “When is the best time to hire an executive coach?”

I am an executive coach. This is what I do. Sometimes when I get asked that question, I doubt the sincerity of the ask. It’s like asking your primary care physician when to start going to the doctor. But I am glad I was asked the question…because the answer I gave this time was a little more dialed in and easier to understand than I have formulated in the past.

There are certain relationships that you need to have in your life to lead yourself well and to lead your business well. Executive coaches are “must haves” if you plan on going anywhere intentionally. These are two levels of engaging an executive coach. I call level one “maintenance” and level two “triage.”

I love engaging with clients at both levels, but my goal is to get my clients out of triage-level service asap. I don’t particularly enjoy the unnecessary emotional, and psychological distress leaders feel when they are in leadership triage. When I am engaging with a client at the triage level, it usually means something has gone wrong, and if things don’t get fixed right away, things will become catastrophic. Financial, emotional, psychological, relational, and credible toppings points start to turn.

There is nothing wrong with being in triage for a period of time, but it means the executive coach and the leader have to move quickly. The best time to engage an executive coach is before you get into leadership triage. Proactive hiring usually leads to less costly solutions that are easier to resolve because they haven’t had a chance to fester and grow.

Having an executive coach for your leadership maintenance is essential. I have two. Why? Because I value myself enough to hold myself to a set of high standards and know that my impact can be much better when I operate at peak performance.

If you are on the fence about this for you or your team…reach out to me, and let’s have a conversation. We are all better off when we are the best version of ourselves. We are better off when your team performs at levels you didn’t think were possible.

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