Why Every Leader Needs to Work with an Executive Coach
As a leader, a lot of responsibilities are on your shoulders. You probably believe you must have all the answers for your direct reports. You might also need a good grasp of most matters that are under your purview, and how they’ll affect your company as a whole. And yet, there are still some things we can’t control – like how the economy changes, and larger forces that shape the business landscape.
Over time, I have seen an undeniable increase in volatility in business ecosystems, resulting in increased stress on leaders. In many cases, senior leaders don’t realize just how much pressure is on them until their stress starts affecting their day-to-day performance. For many, work relationships are the first to take a hit. And the damage doesn’t end there – their overall well-being is at stake.
For many of the senior leaders I work with, this is also the time they begin to consider executive coaching for two distinct benefits
- For their ongoing leadership development; and
- To discuss strategies within a safe space undergirded by confidentiality and privacy. This is essential because many leaders appreciate having a sounding board who is neutral, which helps them focus on the most strategic pieces of their work and maximize personal impact.
Whether you are not considering executive coaching to develop leadership skills in the future of work, or as part of preparing for senior leadership, this article addresses your questions about executive coaching so read on for answers.
Definition of Executive Coaching
We all have goals we want to achieve, challenges we’re striving to overcome, and times when we feel stuck. Partnering with a good executive coach can change your life, job performance, and career success by setting you on a path to greater personal and professional fulfillment.
Various professional bodies that govern professional coaching standards might define coaching differently, and that’s all okay. Different bodies have different definitions of coaching, so your coaching experience can vary depending on your coach’s training. If you are considering coaching, clarify the definition of coaching with your prospective executive coach because your coach’s training, background, and experience all have a big influence on his or her style of coaching, so you want to ensure you know what you are getting into.
The coaching process can involve just you and your executive coach or done in a group. Team coaching has become more popular recently. All executive coaching work begins with identifying your goals and then, step by step, developing strategies that close the gaps to reach the goal and improve performance. You can easily improve your performance once you establish permanent habits and adopt the right mindset. The best part? Your solutions and strategies come from you. That’s the power in the coaching process and working with a skillful executive coach. In my experience, coachees can expect to feel a difference nearly immediately, and see tangible results in 2-3 months.
Select a Professional Executive Coach
Calling yourself a coach doesn’t make you one. This is a profession that requires many hours of training. Other than International Coaching Federation and European Mentoring and Coaching Council, other professional coaching bodies certify executive coaches as ‘professional’ or meeting their guidelines.
As mentioned above, validate the credentials of executive coaches because, in addition to having gone through a rigorous performance coaching course, you want to make sure your coach has knowledge about ethics and is masterful in providing you with professional guidance that helps you achieve success and reach peak performance in your job.
Look out for evidence that supports your observation that an executive coach is effective. That he/she has enough coaching skills and repertoire. For example, before being coached, you might want to check the coach’s reputation or some evidence like testimonials.
Lastly, a partnership with your executive coach will only be successful when there is trust and unconditional positive regard, so be sure to get a chemistry check before the session.
If you are keen to work with me, you can request a strategy call. Check out ACESENCE Executive Coaching.
Difference Between Leadership Coaching and Other Leadership Development Programs
There are many reasons why executives take up leadership coaching. Whatever the reason, you will find that this type of professional development can be quite different from other forms of development that are more well-understood.
You can think of leadership coaching as a sub-branch of executive coaching. Executive coaching, unlike teaching, mentoring, counseling, advising, and consulting, focuses on an individualized way of adult “learning” for the executive and is believed to have long-lasting benefits because the learning, once internalized, becomes permanent.
Executive coaching also aims to help the coachee/client search for his answers instead of being standard solutions. In the real world, you know that context is everything, so once you design solutions that are most suitable for you, your stakeholders, and your context, you will see quick results. This is the key difference differentiating leadership coaching from other leadership development programs.
Unlike other leadership programs that usually come with a standard outline and agenda, leadership coaching is different. The sole purpose of your executive coach is to help you succeed and achieve career goals that are meaningful to you, and there can virtually be no boundaries to what you can learn. If you work with me, you can expect to quickly deepen your self-awareness and acquire the necessary skills in executive leadership. Ultimately, the coaching engagement is a partnership to help you develop in any way possible so you can thrive.
Given the vast range of possible content, it is then understandable that the wider the repertoire of the executive coach and the ability to make your agenda the core of all conversation is one major factor to your success.
Relationship Between The Executive Coach, Coachee, and the Sponsor
The coaching relationship between the coach, coachee, and sponsor is an interesting one.
There could be many schools of thought. Some coaches insist that their sole purpose is to focus on the coachee/client; some would manage three-way expectations with the sponsoring organization as ultimately, they are the purchasers of the executive coaching services. If you are a company-sponsored coachee, then this is something you want to raise and align so that you can have a positive and successful coaching experience.
Difference between Executive Coaching and Life Coaching
The short answer is – all coaching is related to life. Your job, dreams, promotion, career, health, and wealth are all aspects of life. The difference between leadership coaching is it is more career or business-focused, while life coaching focuses on life as a whole.
Both fall under professional coaching (as described by International Coaching Federations) and are future-oriented and less on the past.
In my experience, leadership coaching tends to be more practical and action-driven than life coaching.
The Role of the Executive Coach
That’s someone who has deep knowledge of challenges faced by managers in organizations. S/he is a person who has been through rigorous training and coaches managers with a highly efficient process. S/he is also skilled in widening clients’ perspectives and development processes to overcome those obstacles. Removing the ‘blockers’ empowers and enables leaders to bring success and confidence back into their work and life.
Deconstructing the Executive Coaching Engagements
There are many different coaching methods. The most common is individual coaching, where over one-to-one sessions, your coach will help you reflect on your work and leadership skills to find ways for improvement. One of the most precious parts of this partnership is the confidential relationship. With full confidence that everything you share is strictly private and confidential, you can be safe to be who you are and share your deepest concerns.
Coaching sessions can also take shape as an occasional phone call, email, or video chat session. If you are a team coaching program, you might have it face-to-face or virtually.
Your coach may use some coaching models that they have learned in performance coaching. Many executive coaches create their own models to enhance their practice, while some use psychological evaluation, other behavioral assessment tools, or a hybrid of models and frameworks.
It is perfectly normal not to use a single model. If this is important to you, you might want to include this question as you start speaking with different coaches before choosing the leadership coach most suitable for you.
At ACESENCE, a core pillar of our agile leadership framework begins with discovering your CliftonStrengths.
Benefits of Executive Coaching
Different coaches offer different things. In my practice, these are the common things you could learn:
- Discover your strengths, manage your blind spots
- Increasing emotional intelligence
- Envision a future and create a course to attain your goals
- Develop a robust personal strategy for success
- Provides real-world practice of new skills in a safe environment
- Learn from experience, increase self-awareness and make intentional choices in the present and create a positive future (personal mastery)
- Gain expertise in influencing and connecting with key people in the workplace, enhancing team performance
- Discover ways to collaborate and lead teams of diverse backgrounds
- Brainstorm business strategy, people management skills
- Get support and guidance to overcome common people or relational challenges
- Establish strong personal credibility, authority, and executive presence as leaders
- Accelerate personal growth leading to positive career outcomes
- Maximize potential and achieve performance goals
- Achieve business or organization goals
All of the above increases your chances of success in the entire organization or business and raises your leadership impact and satisfaction overall.
Why Should Management Personnel Seriously Consider Executive Coaching Services?
1. It helps you fulfill both personal and professional goals
Business today is much more demanding in many respects. As a result, leaders are often stretched to capacity, and they need a highly effective and efficient way to develop themselves while staying on top of their workload.
2. It provides a confidential space
People say, “It’s lonely on top,” and for c-suite and other top leaders I have met, this is also true. That’s why having access to an expert and professional leadership coach is important. Successful leaders have tribes and strategic partnerships. Having the safety to discuss matters close to your heart brings you much more benefits that cannot be measured and quantified.
3. It’s an effective ‘training’ method that involves immediate strategizing and validating an effective strategy
With new business environments and current ways of working, managers need to widen their horizons. An external executive coach can widen your perspectives that unveil solutions previously unimagined. Traditionally reserved only for executive leadership, many organizations now recognize the importance of executive coaching in developing effective leaders, and offer coaching to managers much more prevalently.
The best part of coaching, in my experience is the focus on actions. You design a strategy under the guidance of the right coach and implement it immediately. In this way, you’ll improve rapidly.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Take advantage of Chuen Chuen’s extensive experience coaching leaders worldwide and her deep expertise in designing agile leadership corporate training solutions for your teams. No matter which stage of leadership you are at, we can partner with you and meet your business needs. Explore our executive coaching programs, corporate training courses, or hire Chuen Chuen as your speaker so that your organization will become agile and adaptive.