Executive coaching for experts, technical specialists, subject matter experts and individual contributors

Written by Alistair Gordon And Dominic Johnson 16 Feb 2021

In order for executive coaching to be effective for experts, the coach needs to be completely in touch with the way in which high-value individual expert contributors operate. They need to be experts on experts.

Plus, for executive coaching to work with experts, there needs to be data that is accepted by the expert as real and relevant. How is the expert currently experienced by stakeholders? What opportunities are there to elevate this experience?

All of Expertunity’s executive coaches are fully accredited in the key tools we uniquely bring to our work with experts:

  • The Expertship Model – a modern day capability framework for experts;

  • The Expertship 360 – a unique and directly relevant 360-degree survey completed by the experts’ stakeholders, based on the Expertship Model;

  • The Expertship Growth Guide – a world-first guide to build effective growth plans for technical experts.

The right process

All executive coaching assignments with technical experts are conducted using a process honed after working with over 1500 senior technical experts in the last 6 years. The process operates as follows:

  • Chemistry Coffee. We take the brief from the experts’ manager (or HR), and select three possible matches as coach for the expert. The expert chooses one of these with whom to have a chemistry coffee, a 30-minute exploration of issues and objectives. The parties explore whether they strike up a good chemistry, and are likely to be successful working together. In 90 per cent of cases the first chemistry coffee is successful. Where not, the expert can choose to have a second introductory session. Both of these are free. Introductory session after this are charged.

  • Expertship360. In the first coaching session, the coach and expert work on the experts’ stakeholder map, identifying critical relationships, and assessing their effectiveness. From this work the coach and expert determine the respondent base for the Expertship360. This respondent base is validated via the experts’ manager, and then the survey is conducted. Three weeks later, the survey is debriefed between the coach and experts in the second coaching session. A Personal Growth Plan is developed as a consequence of the feedback, identifying strengths to be built upon, and areas for improvement to be addressed. The Expertship Growth Guide, supplied free to the expert, assists in choosing meaningful actions. It contains over 100 development activities for experts.

  • Check-in with the experts’ manager. The expert shares the themes of the Expertship360 with their manager in a three-way session, the coach also attending. The Personal Growth Plan is validated with the manager. Success measures for the coaching assignment are finalised.

  • Coaching sessions (3 to 5). The coach and expert have three more coaching sessions, typically each one addressing in detail one of the strengths or growth opportunities the expert has nominated to tackle. During this time the expert is provided with background reading from Master Expert, our book on how to be the best expert you can be. Chapters relevant to the growth opportunities will be shared first.

  • Mid-point survey and check-in with manager. Between sessions 5 and 6, a further 3-way check-in will be conducted, for all parties to discuss progress, and ensure the assignment is on track. At this time a mid-way survey will also be conducted with both the manager and the expert, to check on experience so far, and suggestions for improvements.

  • Coaching sessions (6 to 8). The coach and expert have three more coaching sessions. These will be focused on building capability and mindset to help experts progress to Expertship mastery.

  • Final check-out with manager. A 3-way meeting between the coach, expert, and manager will assess the progress made sure the assignment, checking results against measures agree in the first check-in. The parties will also review and renew the Personal Growth Plan, so learning and growth continues past the coaching arrangement.


Oftentimes, experts leverage the feedback they receive from stakeholders to change the way the operate - sometimes attempting to change habits of a lifetime. These changes are difficult, and this is where executive coaching for experts works best. The experts need support, encouragement, and feedback.

Call us or email us to arrange a preliminary discussion.

Download Coaching for Experts for further reading