What Is Executive Coaching?
Executive coaching (“EC”) is a process whereby an organization’s senior management improves their skills, prepares for major changes, and receives objective advice regarding performance. This process is made possible through one-on-one advising from a professional coach.
Why Is Executive Coaching Important?
In the past, Executive coaching was the mainstay of many L&D programs. Those in executive positions are always a fraction of an organization’s total headcount, so they require relatively few L&D resources, while their skill level is imperative for the survival of the company. Through Executive coaching programs, executives and their organizations can benefit from:
- Improved abilities to make critical decisions, plan strategies, lead change, and switch roles
- More insight into motivation of and communication with employees
- Enhanced resilience against stress and conflict
What has changed is the nature of these skills. The era of “positional leadership”, where leadership is seen as a skill in itself, seems to be past. Instead, today’s workforce realities require executives to have more skills than ever, and often of a different nature. These factors include:
- Frequent technology change and dependence
- Greater challenges to motivate and engage the workforce
- A higher level of oversight (e.g. social media, regulatory standards)
To manage this new environment, executives should undergo Executive coaching programs that account for these changes.
How to Create an Executive Coaching Program
In general, an Executive coaching program is a simple concept. The coach observes the executive throughout their daily cycle, and even sometimes in their private lives, to see what is affecting the executive’s performance. The coach looks for strengths and weaknesses, and how they relate to the objective of the Executive coaching program.
Alternatively, the coaching sessions can occur online. The cons of this method include the lack of direct observation of many factors that might be influencing the executive’s performance. The pros include scheduling convenience and access to more renowned coaches who would otherwise not be available. It is possible to combine both approaches, with more online interaction occurring once the coach has observed a satisfactory amount of locally-obtained information.
It is important to understand the precise role of the coach when developing an Executive coaching program. To quote the Society for Human Resource Management, “Coaching in a business environment is a training method in which a more experienced or skilled individual provides an employee with advice and guidance…”
In other words, a coach does not tell the executive what to do. Instead, a coach guides the executive so that they realize the best approach to a challenge.
Executive coaching depends on a close relationship between the executive and the coach. Coaching is a unique style of learning because, at least in the “clean coaching” model, the coach has no expertise in the executive’s industry. This is to avoid any preconceptions on the part of the coach regarding how a business should be run or how the executive should behave.
One common framework for setting Executive coaching objectives is the GROW model:
Goal – What do you want?
Reality – Where are you now?
Options – What could you do?
Will – What will you do?
This simple approach can be used by the coach during every session. The set of standardized questions is focused on what the executive wants to do, and enables the coach to guide them through a process of self-examination.
It is common for Executive coaching programs to last for nine months and cover twelve sessions. The time between sessions is used by the coach to view and analyze the executive’s performance to prepare a debriefing segment for the next meeting.
Quality Coaching Is Key
Perhaps more than any other type of individual within a company, an executive needs to optimize how they use their time. The coach must therefore provide the exact type of support that the executive requires at the optimum level of quality. In addition, because Executive coaching is based on a close relationship, a method of sourcing coaches who have “chemistry” with their assigned executive should be used. These conditions boil down to a central qualification for any successful ECExecutive coaching program: a process of accurate matching between coach and executive.
GrowthSpace and Executive Coaching
GrowthSpace's L&D platform plays an essential role in the implementation of Executive coaching programs. With a global network of executive coaches possessing a range of specialties, GrowthSpace can find the match that meets an executive’s skill requirements, personality, and schedule. And that’s just part of how GrowthSpace enhances L&D efforts across the organization. Contact GrowthSpace and learn about the advantages that many of the world’s top corporations have already discovered.