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Executive Coaching: Good, Better, Best!

Posted by on March 22, 2012

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Every executive, at some point, will be faced with making a career change to either a new company or new position. In some cases, the change will be made voluntarily and in others it will be required. In either case, the use of executive coaching can broaden the marketability of the candidate, strengthen their leadership skills, and advance their career.

The use of executive coaching should not be viewed as a remedial exercise, because it’s really an exercise in self-improvement and career advancement. Self-analysis is often difficult, especially for those who rarely hear an unbiased view from their peers or subordinates. In short, constructive feedback is the essence of executive coaching and leads to greater self-awareness.

Finding the Right CoachExecutive Coaching

The use of executive coaching is a soul searching journey that will require some demanding insights from both the coach and the person being coached. For this reason, it is extremely important to find a coach who can not only make fair criticisms of your abilities and suggestions for improvement, but can communicate these effectively.

There are 3 key considerations in the hiring of an executive coach:

  1. Competence
  2. Chemistry
  3. Flexibility

First, competence is important so that you, as an accomplished professional, feel comfortable accepting their appraisal. The coach must have extensive experience in their field, working with professionals at your level, and be well-versed in a variety of coaching methods and tools. You should ask about past coaching engagements in general terms and evaluate your potential coach’s background. Do they have a track record of success? If your coach doesn’t possess the “right stuff,” executive coaching is simply a waste of time.

Secondly, as in any other occupation, coaches have different personalities—and their personality may not mesh well with yours. Since executive coaching is about effective revelations of (sometimes painful) information, it is imperative that the coach can deliver the message in a positive and professional manner. If the executive and the coach do not establish a good rapport, enlightenment cannot follow. The sessions will seem interminable, yield little in the way of results and, ultimately, fail.

Lastly, executives lead full business lives in which they are routinely asked to deal with emergencies or to reprioritize their time. Most take for granted that their carefully prepared schedules can be interrupted at any time. A good executive coach recognizes this fact and will have a reasonable degree of flexibility in their schedule to accommodate the executive.

To this end, executive coaching can also be effectively performed by phone or video conference. Often a quick session is all that a busy executive needs to get them through a key presentation and the coach should be available for this need. A superior coach should put the needs of their client ahead of their own convenience.

The Benefits

Executive coaching is an investment in your career. Valuable insights can be gained that will maximize your strengths and provide real solutions to minimize or eliminate any weaknesses you may uncover. Coaching adds significant value to your skills as a communicator, negotiator, and leader. Perfecting these skills will also enable you to strengthen your team to be more effective, more responsive, and more independent.

The career benefits are as obvious as your talents will be! You’ll find your new skill set is in demand across a wider variety of positions and industries. In addition, the value you bring as a leader will benefit the organization as a whole. In short, executive coaching is an excellent opportunity for even the most capable executive to increase their career opportunities, earning ability and leadership potential.