A coach tries to help a client set better goals, take more action, make better decisions, and make use of their natural strengths.
Who is an Executive Coach
The goal of an executive coach is very similar to that of a personal coach or life
coach, i.e. to help the client and/or organization develop more rapidly, be more efficient and effective, and experience more satisfaction. Coaches work with clients in almost any area including personal
relationships and personal growth, business, career, finances, and health.
For many executives and people at the top of an organization, there are few places that can provide the level of feedback and insight they need in order to continue their growth as a leader. An executive coach can provide the help
that executives need to meet the demands of an ever-changing organization and market place.
Typically an executive coaching program's objective is to develop leadership effectiveness and assist the client to take his/her company or department to the next level.
A good coach is able to carefully listen to a client, observe their behavior, and then customize help to the individual client and elicit solutions and strategies from the client. The coach provides support and guidance to enhance
skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has. While the coach provides feedback and an objective perspective, the client is responsible for taking the steps to produce the results he or she desires.
Coaches tend to specialize in one or more of several areas: career coaching, transition coaching, executive coaching, business coaching, systemic coaching, organizational or corporate coaching, and life coaching or personal
Executive coaching is based on the client's, company's, or organization's expressed interests, goals, and objectives. The initial task involves the coach and client working out a mutual understanding of the scope of work and documenting
that understanding often in the form of a contract. Then the coach helps the client prioritize needs and look for ways to facilitate improvement.
A Coach may use inquiry, reflection, requests, and discussion to help a client to identify personal, business, and/or relationship goals, and then to develop strategies and action plans. Through the process of coaching, clients determine what steps they
need to take and the coach helps the client to be accountable by monitoring progress.
There has been, and continues to be, controversy about 'coaches and coaching' in that there are no official regulatory standards for coaches and there exists a wide variety of certificate and credential designations. Accordingly, little if any formal
training is required for a person to call themselves a coach and to offer their services.
Role of Coaching
Below is some helpful thoughts about the role of coaching that have been adapted from the Harvard Management Update website.
IBM has more than sixty certified coaches among its ranks. Scores of other major companies have made coaching a core part of executive development. The belief is that, under the right circumstances, one-on-one interaction with an objective third party
can provide a focus that other forms of organizational support simply cannot.
And whereas coaching was once viewed by many as a tool to help correct under performance, today it is becoming much more widely used in supporting top producers. In fact, in a 2004 survey by Right Management Consultants (Philadelphia),
86 percent of companies said they used coaching to sharpen the skills of individuals who have been identified as future organizational leaders.
"Coaching has evolved into the mainstream fast,"
says Michael Goldberg, president of Building Blocks Consulting (Manalapan, New Jersey), whose clients include New York Life and MetLife. "This is because there is a great demand in the workplace for immediate results, and coaching can help provide
that." How? By providing feedback and guidance in real time, says Brian Underhill, a senior consultant at the Alliance for Strategic Leadership (Morgan Hill, California).
"Coaching develops leaders in the context of their current jobs, without removing them from their day-to-day responsibilities."
At an even more basic level, many executives simply benefit from receiving any feedback at all. "As individuals advance to the executive level, development feedback becomes increasingly important, more infrequent, and more unreliable," notes
Anna Maravelas, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based executive coach and founder of TheraRising. As a result, she says, "Many executives plateau in critical interpersonal and leadership skills."
So, should you have a coach? And which managers in your sphere of responsibility might benefit from working with an outsider to help sharpen skills and overcome hurdles to better performance?
The right approach to answering these questions still varies a great deal depending on whom you ask, but input from several dozen coaches, and executives who have undergone coaching, does provide a useful framework for how to think
about the role of coaching.
The road to coaching runs two ways. Although both the organization and the executive must be committed to coaching for it to be successful, the idea to engage a coach can originate from either HR and leadership development professionals
or from executives themselves. In the past, it has more often sprung from the organizational side. But given the growing track record of coaching as a tool for fast movers, "We see more executives choosing coaching as a proactive component of their
professional life," says Cheryl Leitschuh, a leadership development consultant with RSM McGladrey.
Executive coaching is not an end in itself.
In spite of its apparently robust potential, the very act of taking on a coach will not help advance your career. In other words, don't seek coaching just because other fast movers in the firm seem to be benefiting from it.
Coaching is effective for executives who can say,
"I want to get over there, but I'm not sure how to do it,"
says James Hunt, an associate professor of management at Babson College and coauthor of The Coaching Manager. "Coaching works best when you know what you want to get done." Perhaps, in spite of your outstanding track record, you haven't
yet gained the full interpersonal dexterity required of senior managers—for example, you're not yet a black belt in the art of influence, which is so important in the modern networked organization. Honing such a skill might be an appropriate goal
for a coaching assignment.
There are certain times when executives are most likely to benefit from coaching. Executives should seek coaching "when they feel that a change in behavior—either for themselves or their team members—can make a significant
difference in the long-term success of the organization," says Marshall Goldsmith, a high-profile executive coach and author of eighteen books, including The Leader of the Future (Jossey-Bass, 1996).
More specifically, the experts say, coaching can be particularly effective in times of change for an executive. That includes promotions, stretch assignments, and other new challenges. But coaching is not just for tackling new assignments.
It can also play an invigorating role. Coaches can help executives "develop new ways to attack old problems," says Vicky Gordon, CEO of the Gordon Group coaching practice in Chicago. "When efforts to change yourself, your team, or your
company have failed—you are frustrated or burned out—a coach can be the outside expert to help you get to the root cause and make fundamental changes."
Would You Like Personal Assistance?
If you really want help dealing with your feelings and emotions, changing your behavior, and improving your life and the approach and office hours of typical therapists and counselors do not fit your life style or personal needs, I may have a solution.
By using very flexible office appointments, telephone consultations, email, teleconferences, and the willingness to travel and meet with you personally in your home, office, or other location, I can be available to help you anytime and anywhere.
Feel free to contact me now for your free initial consultation. Once you become an existing client, you will be given a pager number where you can reach me whenever you need.
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