The respective coaches of Wales, Scotland and Ireland are the leading candidates to take charge of next year's 10-match three-Test tour to Australia.
Should the Lions committee ultimately decide none of them fit the bill, chief executive John Feehan has confirmed that Ian McGeechan would be considered.
The Lions expect to make the appointment in April.
All three national coaches have indicated their desire to lead the Lions. The successful candidate will stand down from his current role for the 2013 Six Nations in order to maximise his preparation time.
"You don't have to be a genius to work out who the candidates are so from that perspective, we will keep an eye on them and see how well they do [in the Six Nations],'' Feehan said.
"All of those people are committed to wanting to do it, which is fantastic. It really comes down to performance now and who we feel will work best.
"Once we have selected the coach, we wouldn't want them involved in the 2013 Six Nations because we would like to take the pressure away from them in terms of results.
"We also want the coach to be able to get access to and contact with all the international players in the different squads. He is not going to be able to do that if he is an active coach.
"We have the support of the Six Nations to do that.''
Feehan was quick to point out that the job would not necessarily go to the coach that wins the Six Nations, stressing the decision would be based on relative performance.
England's interim coach Stuart Lancaster will not be considered because he does not have the required experience, nor will whoever is appointed as the full-time replacement for Martin Johnson.
McGeechan said at the end of the 2009 tour to South Africa, which reinvigorated the Lions concept despite an agonising 2-1 Test series defeat, that he would not take the coaching reins again.
After a total of seven Lions tours, McGeechan indicated the 2013 coaching team should be built around those who assisted him in South Africa - Gatland, Shaun Edwards, Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree.
"They already know exactly what it takes to make a Lions tour,'' he said at the time.
Feehan confirmed that Lions experience will be a key factor in the final decision while performances at the 2011 World Cup will be considered too.
"We won't rule a coach out if he hasn't [got Lions experience] but clearly the more experience, the better,'' Feehan said.
"The big problem with Lions tours is that you have to get it right from day one. There are no second chances so if a guy understands that and understands the ethos that needs to be built up with the players and the management, it helps.
"It is a definite bonus to them but a coach is more than just experience.
"There are one or two candidates who haven't been on a tour before and I have no doubt that they can bring their own insights and own intuition into the situation.''
The final decision will be made by the Lions board, which is made up of representatives from the four home unions - Tom Grace (Ireland), Gerald Davies (Wales), Andy Irvine (Scotland), John Spencer (England) - plus Feehan.
McGeechan will also have an input and he remains a fall-back option should the board fail to be impressed with any of the current home nations coaches.
WIf we were stuck at the end of the day and we didn't think any of the coaches were appropriate then we might ask Geech to reconsider his position. Lots of people say 'never again','' Feehan said.
"Geech is still a viable option if he so chooses. We haven't had that discussion and probably won't in the event that a candidate makes himself clear.
"But Geech is probably the best servant the Lions have ever had and we value his views and opinions so he will have an input on where it goes.''
Feehan expects Dr James Robson to head up the medical team on his sixth Lions tour, while Greg Thomas has already been appointed head of communications and Guy Richardson as director of operations.
The Aviva Premiership and RaboDirect PRO 12 finals will both take place in the last week of May, limiting the squad's preparation time before their opening match against Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1.
But Feehan confirmed there would be no late arrivals on tour - other than as injury replacements - with a squad of up to 37 players to leave together.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.