Executive Coaching Helps Leaders Be More Effective
No matter their background, industry, or even what part of the world they come from, top executives often face a similar problem: The skills and knowledge that helped them attain that leadership position aren’t the same as the skills they may need to excel in that role.
Sometimes they simply need to up their game in the new role and perform better.
Sometimes the new role requires a new mindset, approach, or leadership skills.
And sometimes a leader is faced with navigating a crisis, and needs to be supported through that while at the same time, preparing to lead the organization into the future.
Executive leadership coaching is a proven tool for addressing these challenges and elevating performance.
How Executive Coaching Works
Executive leadership coaching typically starts with a process to ensure the right coach is matched with the executive.
Today, technology has made virtual coaching more accessible than ever before, so executives can connect with a coach with expertise in their particular challenge or focus, regardless of where they’re located. Virtual executive coaching also offers professional development for busy senior leaders in smaller time increments, on a flexible schedule, at their convenience.
In a coaching engagement, executives may have completed assessments to help them understand their own skills, tendencies, and habits, or may have taken targeted assessments on topics such as conflict style or approach to change. Or, they may not have taken such assessments, and may simply appreciate a coach helping them navigate their current situation while preparing for the future.
To ensure the coaching engagement is successful, the coach and the coachee may work together to decide on goals, discuss ways to measure success, and agree to expectations on things such as confidentiality ahead of time. These meetings can take place in-person or virtually.
The coach then works with the leader one-on-one, either in-person or virtually, over a period of several months to help them apply what they already know, discover new perspectives and resources, and increase their self-awareness and ability to meet new challenges.
During that time, the coach and the leader work through job and personal challenges that can hinder the executive’s career success — and the success of the business unit or function the executive leads.
Watch our webinar, Building Resilience and Leadership in the Context of Crisis & Telework, and learn practical ways to enhance personal and team resilience and effectiveness during times of crisis.
Challenges that often come up in executive coaching include how to handle crises, interpersonal conflicts, work-life balance, and how to get clarity on important issues.
Leadership coaching functions as a form of highly customized, one-on- one, “just-in-time” learning. The coach provides the executive personalized and real-time feedback and guidance to tackle whatever personal or business issue is most critical.
The coach doesn’t necessarily provide a solution. But the coach helps executives uncover their assumptions, ask smarter questions, and find solutions in unexpected places.
The coaching wraps up with a final meeting between the coach, executive, and the direct boss or HR leader if applicable. Progress towards goals is discussed, remaining challenges are identified and next steps for the leader’s ongoing support and development are clearly identified.
What to Consider When Seeking an Executive Coach
Finding a good coach isn’t just about the coach’s credentials. For a one-to-one coaching partnership to work, a strong match on several fronts is required. An executive coach who worked well for a colleague, for instance, may not be the best choice for you.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing a coach and establishing a solid partnership.
To begin with, you should ask yourself What do I expect from this coaching engagement? What is my purpose? What am I trying to accomplish? What kind of commitment am I giving?
Consider the expectations of your boss or organization, too. Whether you choose your own coach or are assigned one, you want to be sure that the coach has experience and skills that will help you face your goals and challenges.
As you get underway, the 2 of you will likely have a face-to-face or virtual meeting to get a good feel for each other and begin to build rapport and trust. You’ll want to make your goals and expectations as clear as possible; the coach will also be clear about their approach and expectations.
You’ll want to consider the practical aspects of your coaching relationship by asking these 4 questions:
- How will coaching sessions take place? One benefit of executive coaching is that professional coaches can work with you in many ways: face-to-face meetings, virtually, by email or in combinations of these. Think about your preferences and talk to the coach about the ways they with clients.
- What kind of schedule will work best? Talk about the frequency of coaching sessions, but also consider when and how the coach is available to you at other times. Is the coach accessible when you need to report and acknowledge progress, or discuss barriers and problems, or get questions answered about the process?
- How is confidentiality handled? Coaching requires you to reveal a lot about yourself and your organization, and it’s only effective if you’re willing and able to do so.
- How are fees and payments handled? Even if coaching isn’t paid out of your pocket, you should understand the financial arrangement. Do any coaching services incur additional costs? Under what conditions are you charged for cancelled appointments? What happens if you’re forced to discontinue the coaching engagement?
Remember, executive coaching is a 2-way relationship. You have your responsibilities and the coach has theirs. Your job is to take an active role in the process and to be receptive to new ways of understanding yourself, to new perspectives and to new ways of acting.
How do you know if executive coaching is working?
Our on-demand coaching provides a structured approach so you can prepare mentally, emotionally, and professionally as you lead your organization through challenging times.
Indicators That Executive Coaching Is Successful
Use this checklist to ensure your executive coaching engagement is a success:
- Clarity: Working with a coach has helped the leader view current challenges in new ways.
- Perspective: Working with a coach has helped the leader better understand how context can shift the approach to a current challenge.
- Resilience: Working with a coach has energized the leader to persevere through current challenges.
- Productivity: Working with a coach has helped the leader recognize how to maximize value with limited time.
Successful coaching engagements help executives become more effective in their lives and in their careers. It also produces positive returns for their organizations, which are better able to adapt to dynamic marketplaces and implement new strategies.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Learn more about our high-impact Virtual Coaching solutions designed to ignite individual, team, and organizational effectiveness.