Executive Coaching For Leaders

How to get the best results from executive coaching

Many leaders believe executive coaching is primarily for solving personal issues that affect leadership, but this ignores the much broader development opportunities.

Executive coaching takes a detailed look at how an individual can become a more effective leader. It should serve the interests of both the leader and organisation if approached strategically.

Here are some key things to bear in mind if you are planning to introduce an executive coaching programme within your organisation.

Embrace Change

Start by encouraging your leaders to embrace change.

Change can be a challenge for everyone, and some leaders may see executive coaching as a disruption to the status quo of an already successful business. In other words, ‘if it ain't broke, don't fix it.’

Our advice is to encourage leaders to appreciate the added value that coaching will bring to their role and career. Bear in mind that many top leaders seek out coaching as part of their ongoing leadership development, and some even insist on it as part of their rewards package.

Align Objectives

Make the alignment between executive coaching and organisational objectives.

This is essential to achieve maximum value from the coaching process as it means leaders developed in the context of the organisation they lead. That means they can apply the lessons straight away.

However, coaching shouldn’t be ‘single use’. Coaches must help leaders to maintain objectivity. and help them apply lessons as universally as possible to organisational strategies going forward.

Executive Coaching Ground Rules

Establish the ground rules that will apply to executive coaching.

Reassure leaders by defining how the sessions will be conducted. For example, establish how the coach will gather information about the leader, such as which team members and stakeholders will be contacted and how. You can also specify what the coach is allowed to share with the leader’s boss, and what will be kept confidential.

Before the sessions begin, ensure that both coach and leader have the objectives in mind and understand that the organisation is the client. This will help the coach to structure and lead the sessions for maximum benefit.

Choose a Format

Decide how the sessions are to be carried out. This can depend on many factors such as location, availability and what the leader will respond best to.

There are advantages to both face-to-face and virtual executive coaching sessions, and a common approach is to have a face-to-face session with a series of virtual follow-ups.

Encourage leaders to be open and honest

Executive coaching can be daunting as leaders must be willing to be vulnerable. Those who embrace this and commit to change can find it exhilarating.

Unlike management science, academic theory or consulting, coaching is an exciting interpersonal journey. Coaches and leaders can form strong bonds that are built on trust, openness, confidence and achievement.

Measuring Sucess

Decide clearly how you are going to measure success

Define milestones for assessing progress and a target date for completion, which is usually 12 to 18 months after the first session.

The success of executive coaching should be based on how well leaders perform after the sessions have ended, rather than progress made while they are ongoing. The greatest test is asking stakeholders whether they perceive improvements in the leader’s performance, and in the organisation as a result.

How can executive coaching help my organisation?

Executive coaching can add value to your organisation at any time, but particularly during periods of disruption or significant change. Here are a few other articles that can help you to establish an effective coaching programme:

This article was originally contributed by Patsi Krakoff.

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