Executive Coaching can be geared to an individual leader, a management team, or both.
The most critical component of an executive coaching agreement is the relationship that develops between the coach and client – both are equals. The coaching premise is based on questions. The goal is for you to discover your own answers. Inquiry and curiosity create space for the answers to surface. Truth, authenticity, and candor allow them to take hold.
The strengths, potential, training, experience and personal aspects of the clients are explored, noted, focused upon, and put into an approach which enhances abilities and increases leadership influence. Some of the benefits are:
- Enhanced performance
- Personal/professional clarity and growth
- The ability to establish and/or clarify core values
- Awareness of the leader’s influence and his or her ability to connect with others
- An increased ability to adapt and respond to change more efficiently and effectively Advocacy – A coach is for you. His role is to help you get where you want to go – someone who is on your side. He functions as an advocate. The coach wants your best, and your best alone. He is primarily focused on YOUR improvement. A Structure– The coach has an orientation and structure he has studied and is competent in. He has a philosophy of improvement. He knows what leaders need to do, and how to provide the resources they need to be successful. A good coach knows what to anticipate, and what the outcome will likely be. Individual Understanding – The best coaches are very good listeners. A good coach actively listens to you and understands your individual situation and context. He then tailors the approach to you rather than tailoring you to the approach. He also digs beyond the surface, beyond the symptoms that are going on. He gets to the underlying themes that need to be developed and/or are holding you back. A Process Orientation – Real success takes time. A coach understands the process and uses it for your betterment. Together you develop the path, set the incremental goals, deal with the obstacles, and promote accountability. Your coach keeps you in the process of life, leadership change and personal growth.
~Dr. John Townsend, 2009.
Four essential ingredients of executive coaching
- Maintain a results orientation to the leader’s problems
- Engage the specific leadership challenges that the executive faces
- The coach links team behaviors to the bottom-line goals and points out the need for executives to set specific expectations for their teams.
Keys to success
- Level of motivation of the executive
- Chemistry between coach and leader
- Commitment from top management to developing the leader. Coaching process
- Build rapport and establish agreements for the coaching relationship
- Discuss personal strengths, skills, desired growth areas, stressors and key challenges
- Address dimensions of client’s leadership position, surrounding circumstances, team dynamics, and strategic intentions
- Distribute objective assessments and communicate feedback to enhance client’s self-awareness (……., or others)
- Interview others to affirm client’s strengths, most important development needs and the greater organizational issues
- Determine specific goals, which may include: personal development, targeted leadership behaviors, business skills and measurable organizational outcomes
- Design a development plan with specific actions, learning curriculum, time-frame and measures.
Coach and Monitor Results
- Coach, support, and advise
- Typical structure is to meet twice per month
- Standard commitment is 3-6 months.
- Involve client’s boss when possible to give feedback on progress
- A confidentiality agreement is reached early in the coaching relationship
Close it out
- When the coaching program comes to an end progress is reviewed and accomplishments are acknowledged
- A “what next” conversation takes place – planning, momentum, and commitment are encouraged
An executive coach is not a consultant. He many have organizational expertise, but he is not an answer person. Executive coaching is not a remedial program, nor is it performance management. It is a proactive development strategy.
The Executive Coach helps executives think through and tackle their own problems. Self-reliance, not dependency, is the ultimate goal.