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 an executive may be in danger of derailing — falling off the career track.

Executive leadership coaching is a proven tool for addressing these challenges.

How It Works

Executive leadership coaching typically starts with a process to ensure the right coach is matched with the executive.

Executives then complete assessments to help them understand their own skills, tendencies, and habits. Depending on the focus of the coaching engagement, there may also be a targeted assessment centered on a topic such as conflict style or approach to change.

To ensure the coaching engagement is successful, the coach and the coachee will usually meet with the coachee’s direct manager, and sometimes an HR professional, to decide on goals, discuss ways to measure success, and agree to expectations on things such as confidentiality.

The coach then works with executives one-on-one 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.

Challenges that often come up in executive coaching include how to handle 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, the direct boss, and, if appropriate, HR leader. Progress towards goals is discussed, remaining challenges are identified and next steps for the leader’s ongoing support and development are clearly identified.

The result of all this?

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.

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