Executive Coaching

I was asked by a client, in this case an individual who holds a position of significant responsibility in an organization, what made the coaching I was offering “Executive Coaching”.  I grinned and said, “You’re an executive aren’t you?” But then I went beyond that and I hope my full answer was a bit more helpful.

A client comes to coaching with a collection of needs, dreams and goals. Coaching helps clarify and prioritize those notions and then designs implementation strategies and specific next steps that lead toward the goals.

Effective coaching uses the latest research about the neurobiology of behavior, habits and change. Good coaches will integrate this information, and the client’s requirements, into a series of deliberate and strategic steps that they will discuss with the client as potential ways to accomplishing certain stated goals and behavior changes. For example, “Given that, it might be most effective to try this as a starting point and then adjust our approach as we see how it goes. How do you feel about that?”

Executive coaching follows this same basic blueprint and additionally recognizes that the client is functioning within a particular environment; he or she is a part of an organization with its own goals, strengths and pattern. This business context must be a consideration in any suggestions or implementation strategies that are developed.

In addition, the executive client has the pressures of leadership, managerial responsibilities and team development. Because these clients are or will be attempting to motivate and grow their teams and key personnel as they work to change themselves, they require a deeper understanding of the process than many other clients.

To deal with this mix of requirements, an executive coach needs three areas of experience and expertise: 1) an extensive background in the process, politics and systems of business, 2) expertise and experience in approaches to leadership and managerial development and 3) experience and an appreciation for the skills and nuances of coaching.

There are any numbers of ex-businessmen who look for a second career and simply promote themselves as coaches because of their prior experience. They may bring a significant amount of business experience to the table, but that isn’t enough. They must also have significant understanding, ability and experience in the demands of coaching or they will often just become mere repeaters of consulting platitudes and be ineffective at helping implement sequential actions toward change.

In short, a quality Executive Coach is an excellent coach who really knows the business environment and can design procedures to institute change, which have significant potential to enhance you and your business’s future.