Over the past couple of months, I have shared my insight with you on such topics as planning, setting goals, and boosting your confidence.
In this article, I would like to flip the focus and concentrate on the art of executive coaching itself and how it can help you or your leadership team to achieve great things.
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
Today’s leaders need to be equipped to handle everything that’s thrown at them, whilst still being able to motivate and inspire their teams. In the ever-changing workplace, this can be a tough gig and doesn’t leave much time for focussing on personal and/or career growth.
Executives are driven people; they’ve worked hard to get to where they are, and that fire doesn’t fizzle just because they’ve reached ‘the boardroom’.
“If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
Executive coaching is a tailor-made, 1:1 development tool for senior leaders (employed or transitioning) and high-potential employees.
As a coach, I create a safe, objective space for busy leaders to offload, share ideas, discuss anxieties, reflect on their own behaviours, refocus, and grow.
“Coaching isn’t therapy. It’s product development with you as the product.”
Who uses coaching?
Entrepreneurs, politicians, performers, athletes, leaders, and sales personnel are all known to use coaches.
Some coaches nurture a particular talent, like a sports coach and others, like life coaches, have a broader scope. They all, however, have the same overall aim: to support their client’s vision of the future.
Once upon a time in the corporate world, there was a stigma attached to coaching. Employing a coach indicated that something was wrong with you and that you needed a bit of “guidance”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Nowadays, with some of the most successful people in the world championing the idea, that fallacy has thankfully been put to bed.
“Everyone needs a coach.”
Yes, even Mr. Microsoft, himself uses coaches.
Why do executives need a coach?
“Executive coaching is about developing and sustaining excellence.”
Teams of Distinction
The corporate environment is becoming increasingly more complex and senior leaders face a lot of pressure to perform. They must keep up with developments and steer their organisation, whilst maintaining good internal relationships and supporting their own teams.
Clients come to me either directly, or through their corporate organisation’s Human Resources team; they seek my services for a variety of reasons:
Individual reasons to seek executive coaching:
“One thing people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them - a coach really helps (you to gain that perspective).”
To identify skills gaps/areas for development.
To gain more confidence in their abilities.
To Improve time management.
To increase their confidence and bolster self-esteem.
Connection to others
To gain a better understanding how they impact those around them
To gain a better understanding of the capabilities of others.
To increase their empathy
To improve social skills
To forge stronger relationships
Stronger leadership skills
To learn new ways to respond to difficult situations
To learn new ways to communicate
To learn ways to develop others
To make plans to progress or hit targets
To be held accountable to plans for progression/hitting targets.
Organisational reasons to seek executive coaching:
“Great coaching is the golden key to exceptional employee engagement and performance.”
To improve organisational communication
Better communication from the top lends itself to a harmonious work environment.
To boost organisational productivity
According to a study of 31managers by Gerald Olivero & Denise K. Bane, coaching combined with training boosts productivity by an average of 86% compared to 22% with training alone.
To encourage creative thinking from the executive team
Coaching encourages the client to question their views and bias’s and increases confidence in calculated risk-taking.
To reduce stress in the workplace
Clients learn new ways to manage stress, difficult situations, and change.
To nurture and retain talent
Coaching can prepare high-potential employees for their move up the corporate ladder.
Executive Coaching – Return on Investment
Quantifying the impact of coaching is a complex task. Coaching has a vast reach and not all the benefits are easily measured.
The below table outlines some of the accepted benefits of coaching to the individual, their team, and the wider organisation.
To further complicate matters, as the below table outlines, there are many variables that can impact the effectiveness of coaching. These variables should also be taken into consideration when compiling any results.
Key Performance Indicators
Considering the above contributing factors, one of the simplest ways to measure coaching success is to set Key Performance Indicators. KPIs won’t measure the emotional or interpersonal benefits of coaching, but they will demonstrate to the individual and their organisation that progress is being made.
Adam Louden, Medium.com
Thankfully, coaching being the results-driven industry it is, there have already been a plethora of studies done on the return on investment. The internet is teeming with supportive studies and here is a selection of my favourites found in a compilation kindly put together by coach, Luisa Zhou:“99% of individuals and companies who hire a coach are “satisfied or very satisfied” and 96% say they would repeat the process.” (ICF Global Coaching Client Study)
“A survey of 100 executives showed that the average ROI of executive coaching was almost 6x the cost of coaching.” (International Coach Federation)
“A reliable ROI for executive coaching has been reported as 500%-700%.” (iPEC)
The results of these surveys really do speak for themselves.
As I touched on earlier, many of the benefits of coaching aren’t easily quantifiable. It’s tricky to measure the soft stuff, like an increase in a client’s confidence, the improvement of their social skills, or reaction to stress. Often, it’s actually these things that have the most impact on an individual.
I have found that one of the easiest ways to demonstrate the less tangible benefits of coaching to potential clients, is through testimonials from existing ones:
“I have just completed 3 months of coaching from Paul, and I have to say that during those 3 months of training I have never enjoyed or looked forward more to having a coaching session as I did with Paul. Going into the start of the coaching I had reservations of what I was going to achieve during it however, after the first session I instantly knew that this was going to be a great journey. Paul proved to be such a positive coach who really got me to think about who I am and what I can achieve, and this was all done with such positive energy coming from Paul. Paul really makes you engage your thought mode and there is no doubt that I have become a more rounded leader who is confident and not willing to compromise. Paul is a coach who really inspires you to become the best you can be. I would recommend any leader who is looking to develop their leadership qualities to book in some sessions with Paul, you will not regret it.” (I.B.)
“In the last 6 months, Paul has been supporting me on a transformational coaching journey. Facing life-changing opportunities and challenges whilst being coached professionally by a coach that goes beyond the call of duty and who is not afraid to make you think through the most difficult choices whilst feeling safe and secure is a most incredible experience.
I would really recommend going on this journey with Paul! The combination of empathy, coaching expertise, and business acumen ensured that I was able to explore all aspects of my potential with a realistic outlook on achieving my new set goals. It’s truly been transformational and enlightening!” (PVB)
Is executive coaching right for you or your organisation?
Only you know the answer to that question, but either way, I hope this article has given you some good food for thought.
Through asking the right questions I can help clients achieve clarity over things that might be holding them back and challenge assumptions they may have about their abilities or place in the world.
I work with, support, and challenge my clients to unlock their own potential and ultimately become the best version of themselves.
If this sounds like it is something you or your organisation would benefit from, or if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Let me help you to be all you can be, in 2022.