Innovation Coach: 4 Questions You Should Ask Before Selecting One

innovation coach

The emergence of the innovation coach is the newest hot topic in the innovation community. While executive coaching is a well-accepted tool to improve overall organizational and personal performance, can the same be said about innovation coaches?

The impact of executive coaching is proven to have an impact.  The Economic Times reports “Coaching resulted in an ROI of almost six times the program cost as well as a 77% improvement in relationships, 67% improvement in teamwork, 61% improvement in job satisfaction and 48% improvement in quality.”

So what is the definition of executive coaching?

“An executive coach partners with his/her clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

If we use this as a foundation, I would propose the following as a definition of an innovation coach:

“An innovation coach partners with his/her clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires and equips them to maximize their ability to innovate.”

While the impact of innovation coaching hasn't yet been studied to the level of executive coaching, from my experience, a proven innovator can have a significant impact on you and your organization.

So how do you choose an innovation coach?

1) Is this innovation coach an innovator?

Take a hard look at the background of the person and see what they have done.  The vast majority of innovation coaches have never been innovators.  How can they teach and mentor something they’ve never done?   What roadblocks from the 7 Laws of Innovation have they run into and how did they solve them? Avoid those that have never achieved a major innovation success.

2) Who else are they coaching?

A great innovation coach has a loyal and dedicated following and a benefit of any great coach is the community they are able to create.

3) What is it about this innovation coach that is attracting this following?

Beyond personality, a great innovation coach is bringing to the relationship skills, experiences, tools, and tricks that have had an impact on their clients. What are they?

4) Can I translate the approach from the innovation coach?

Each innovation coach has an approach/philosophy and not all are easily translated depending on you and your organization.  Find one that is a match.

I’m a growing believer that innovation coaches will become as widely accepted as executive coaches.  The impact of coaching on you and your career can be significant if you select the right one for you.


UPDATE:  A number of people have reached out to see if I'm taking on any innovation coaching clients.  Check out “Work With Me” from the menu above for more information.


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6 thoughts on “Innovation Coach: 4 Questions You Should Ask Before Selecting One

  1. Innovation coaches are having a hard time gaining traction. For a CEO to accept a coach and begin to implement a new process for innovation they first have to admit that they need help and don’t have all the answers. How have executive coaches gotten past this ego roadblock?

    • For CEO’s, the ego issue is based on not wanting to look like you’re not as good as your peers. What I’ve seen worked is to show that you (CEO) and your peers are all in the same boat — and I (innovation consultant) can help.

      Some stats you use with CEO’s include a Booz & Co report that says 75% of companies do a poor job of managing the front end process of innovation — and that the 25% that do a good job have been shown to grow faster, are more profitable and have higher market caps. (see link below to the video).

      Now — as any smart CEO will admit — they want that. Its your job as the coach to convince them you have the knowledge/expertise to make that happen.

      I hope that helps …


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