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How to Build Credibility as an Internal Coach – by Anita Stadler, PhD

Nov 25th, 2010 | By | Category: Business Coaching

Many coaches pursue coach training so they can serve as a coach within their current organization, but after completing their training they are not sure how to introduce their new capabilities to the organization.  I believe there are some key success factors that make the process easier.

Build on your personal credibility.  The first success factor is personal credibility.  If you have a track record of being a top performer, that makes it easier for the organization to say “yes” when you ask them to take a risk to let you do something new.  If coaching is not well known in your organization, realize that someone will need to take the lead, to accept the associated risk, and to be willing to put time and money behind it.  If that is you, the personal credibility you have built from your past performance will serve you well.

Speak the language of business.  Coaching will be taken seriously if you can speak the language of business and use it to show how coaching will contribute to meeting your organization’s objectives.  One of the greatest things I learned from my years of experience as a corporate business manager was how to sell ideas based on projected financial returns.  Sometimes good ideas, even those that are beneficial for an organization, are not heard because the person with the idea cannot get the attention of decision makers.  If you are not savvy about how your organization makes decisions, then find someone who is and take notes.  Learn what metrics are given priority.  Find out what it takes in your organization for an idea to be heard.  Learn to articulate the value of coaching in the language that is spoken by your organization’s leaders.

Demonstrate personal authenticity.  Coaching requires personal authenticity.  Clients need a confidential, safe environment where they can think clearly enough to see new options, to solve their perceived dilemmas, and to respond to their call.  Your effectiveness as a coach will be influenced by your own level of personal development as expressed through your authenticity.  Becoming a coach means making a commitment to a lifetime of personal and spiritual growth so you can authentically allow clients the space to do the same.  You have to be willing to model a way of being as a coach that may not be the norm in your organization.  It’s risky to transparently express who you are at your core – and it’s what clients want to see in their coach.

Be an excellent coach.  Fourth, you must demonstrate professional-level coaching skills.  Empathy and listening skills are necessary, but not sufficient.  Coaches know that some of the value of coaching comes from the client’s willingness to simply take the time to reflect with the encouragement of a good listener.  However, a well-trained coach can reduce the time it takes the client to achieve insight.  A savvy coach knows how to increase the client’s level of commitment to the next action he or she chooses. You can help your clients move forward faster by using coaching techniques that capitalize on newly-available understanding of how marvelously our brains are constructed.  Recent research in neurobiology makes me even more aware of our Grand Designer who created such an amazing process for storing and retrieving information.  Technology is enabling us to catch a glimpse of that process and is helping us to understand what happens during coaching that makes it such a powerful tool.  Seek to continuously add to your repertoire of coaching skills over time.  Become familiar with multiple models and methods so you can use exactly the method your client needs, not just the one you know.  As you explore coaching models, be discerning about the philosophies and world views behind different models of coaching.  Select those that reflect what you know to be true based on your spiritual perspective.

Draw upon your own leadership experience.  If you are coaching leaders, it helps to have had experience as a leader yourself.  It will increase your ability to understand the issues faced, but most importantly it will increase your organization’s ability to see you as someone qualified to coach leaders.  Eventually, the success of your clients will establish your reputation as an effective coach.  But initially, the organization (and potential clients) may be reluctant to be coached by someone who hasn’t “been there”.  It is important to project a professional presence that matches that of your potential clients.  Your verbal messages are only effective if they are congruent with the messages you send through your attire, your way of speaking, and your body language.  Over time, the effectiveness of your coaching will reinforce how you are viewed.

Maintain perspective.  Finally, realize that coaching is not about you.  At some point in your development as a coach, you will realize that the power of coaching is magnified when you let go of “making it happen” and allow yourself simply to be in service to your client.  When you coach from your being rather than from the strength of your doing alone, the impact on the client will ultimately be more powerful.


Anita Stadler, PhD coaches Christian executives in corporations who want to connect their career and their calling through her coaching company Horizon Executive Coaching.  She is also a full-time executive coach and leadership development advisor for a Fortune 100 corporation.  She can be reached at (714) 952-0995 or  For more information, see

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