- Executive Coaching – Your Secret Weapon
- Choosing Your Coach
Executive Coaching – Your Secret Weapon
You’ve read the news about coaching: the high ROI, the buzz about this CEO and that Director having his and her own executive coach. But you still don’t see how a coach could help YOU.
Well, have you ever:
- Thought your career was going along smoothly and suddenly hit a bump in the road?
- Gotten the promotion you’d been wanting and found yourself struggling when you realized the new job wasn’t quite what you expected?
- Felt your organization transforming the culture all around you and not knowing how to change your own leadership style to keep up?
- Needed to improve your performance – and quickly – to shoot for a promotion?
- Wanted to gain more self-awareness to learn what might be holding you back or hindering your success?
- Had a direct report that you want to develop to a high performing manager and did not know how?
- Wanted to learn how to get your division to work as a team more effectively?
- Develop better interpersonal skills to help you improve mutual trust and communicate more effectively with peers and subordinates?
- Needed to find ways to make your organization more effective to take advantage of growth opportunities?
There was a time when executives turned to training programs or mentors to handle these situations. And for newer executives who need to work on foundational skills, they did the trick.
Unfortunately, these “one size fits all” options rarely fit for long. Because only about 25% of the content will actually apply to your situation. And as the pace of business increases and executives move from organization to organization more frequently, that just won’t cut it.
The use of business coaches has been around for decades. Whereas in the 1980’s, coaches were used mostly to fix bad behavior or under-performance, businesses today understand its potential to develop leaders for the increasingly global business environment.
In fact, the higher up the ladder you get, the more individualized your learning needs become. And that’s where coaching fits in. Coaching offers a totally customized approach to developing your leadership, management, personal and technical skills.
Coaching is a collaborative relationship between coach, client and company. Generally, they meet to determine the goals for the coaching. Then, the coach harnesses the client’s unique set of knowledge, skills and abilities to help them formulate and execute a plan to achieve their goals.
For my executive coaching clients, I’m both a sounding board for new, innovative ideas and a mirror for new insights and awareness. I’ve also seen how coaching can re-energize clients when they’re faced with adversity in reaching their goal.
Like a mentor, a coach will also share their own knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences when appropriate. And, unlike many mentoring relationships, the coach maintains objectivity and invites the client to use this input only if it’s applicable.
No matter how similar the experience may seem, it’s not my job to tell my clients to do things exactly the way I did them. It’s my job to ask questions that uncover the client’s own wisdom and insights, to help them to think through various actions, and then to serve as an accountability partner to ensure they follow through on the actions they commit to do.
I’ve had many clients refer to me as their ‘secret weapon.’ I don’t know about a ‘weapon’ but I do know that having someone totally focused on your success and who’s only goal is to help you achieve your goals can be a huge asset in your arsenal!
Choosing Your Coach
Before you decide to work with your own executive coach, do your homework and find one that’s the best fit for you. Here are a few suggestions:
- Write a job description. Think ahead about the goals you’re trying to achieve by hiring a coach. How will you know the coaching was effective? What are the outcomes you’re looking to achieve?
- Match your experience. Review the coach’s biography for the education, knowledge and work experiences that are relevant to your specific goal. NOTE: Sometimes the best fit will be a masterful coach who has absolutely no specific knowledge of your area of expertise.
- Interview coaches. The connection between the coach and the client is the real key to coaching effectiveness, so look for someone that you ‘click’ with. Notice if you feel like you can share openly and honestly without judgment.
- Check for credentials. Coaching is a self-regulated industry and anyone can offer it. Look for coaches who have specific coach training and/or certification.
- Compare your philosophies. Understand the coach’s style, philosophy and process and ensure it fits with you.
- Find out which tools the coach uses to help you become more self-aware. (assessments, skill inventories, feedback surveys, etc.)
- Check references. Ask to speak with past clients about the successes they had while working with this coach.
- Cost it out. Coaching rates vary, with some coaches charging by the hour and some charging for a flat-rate package.
You’re going places in your career, and you could get there a lot faster by working with a coach. After all, your career isn’t the same as everyone else’s, so why settle for a training program that is?
If you’re interested in exploring a coaching relationship contact Bill Burtch at Harmony call for a consultation at 901-272-7390 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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