Executive Coaching Day
The 1 of May 2019 is Executive Coaching Day. And though it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find ‘Happy Executive Coaching Day’ cards in card shops one website does suggest it’s an opportunity to send, ‘a big thank you to those executive coaches you’ve worked with that have helped facilitate positive change in your workplace.’
If we’re tempted to mock a little, maybe we should ask ourselves what exactly is wrong with a day dedicated to learning and leadership? At the very least, it’s a prompt to take a moment to think about what executive coaching is, and how it can help an organisation.
What exactly is executive coaching?
What does executive coaching look like? Usually, it’s coaching for an individual who is a ‘key player’ in an organisation. Not always the boss, but definitely a decision-maker; someone at a strategic level, whose actions have a wider impact on the company and the people working in it.
Like most coaching relationships, it’s one-to-one, facilitative, often uses a structured methodology to give some form to the process, and given the nature of the coachee’s position, is often focused on aspects of leadership. More specifically, some common topics for executive coaching include:
- Managing significant change
- Stakeholder management
- Preparing for promotion
- Influencing with integrity
- Building resilience
- Managing the top team
Executive coaching is about the individual but also very strongly focused on the environment in which they are leading; namely, the organisation and how their decisions affect it.
What are the benefits of executive coaching?
To be on the receiving end of a programme of executive coaching tends to result in:
- The feedback and in-depth discussion that are part of the coaching process result in greater awareness of the self and how that self is perceived (and received) by others.
- Coachees in new positions make a stronger start in their new role.
- Coached leaders are more likely to present a positive (even inspiring) role model to the organisation.
- Coachees can also leverage their coaching experience into greater personal productivity and more holistic decision-making.
Like any coaching, the focus on the individual coachee leads to individual benefits. The difference here is that those benefits are inextricably linked to the wider organisation; whether simply by having a stronger, more resilient senior leader, or in the broader impact of decisions and strategies that result from the coaching process.
How to find a good executive coach
So, you’re sold. Executive coaching sounds like a good idea. But where do you find it? Or more to the point, how do you choose a coach?
First, consider qualifications. There are countless courses and certifications offering to turn people into coaches. If your coach’s qualifications are endorsed by or affiliated to the International Coach Federation (ICF) then that’s a good start, not least because of the ICF’s strong ethical code of practice.
Then take a look at what they’re offering. There should be a clear and structured process (the GROW model is a classic, as is OSCAR which focuses on Outcome, Situation, Choices & Consequences, Action, and Review. They should have demonstrable and applicable skills and experience (especially around listening, communication and feedback). And equally important is their promise of confidentiality, allowing the coachee to fully engage with the process.
Above all, you’re looking for someone that the prospective coachee can work with on a personal level. Executive coaching can be a relatively short process – just a few sessions, maybe – but it’s a partnership based on openness and honesty, and a desire to improve. If the coach and coachee are feeling that between them, the sky might very well be the limit.
Happy Executive Coaching Day!