As an executive coach, I’ve seen people’s careers transformed by coaching. Many of the world’s most admired companies, from Google to Goldman Sachs, invest in coaching, and annual spending on coaching in the U.S. is estimated at roughly $1 billion, according to Harvard Business Review. Yet I find that many people still don’t know what executive coaching is, how it works and what it can do for them. Here’s some insight.
Simply put, coaching is personal training that helps professionals reach their goals, no matter where they are in the workforce – entry-level, CEO and everything in between. Much like a personal trainer works your body, an executive coach works your mind, helping you develop the mental strength, emotional intelligence and instinctive ability to problem solve and relate with others in the workplace.
Coaching uses a proven methodology of inquiry, called powerful questions, that’s been around for decades. The process is designed to leverage your unique personality and strengths, and it does so not by giving you the answers but by helping you learn to ask and answer the right questions on your own throughout your career’s myriad challenges.
The profession is governed by the International Coach Federation and has several internationally renowned schools, such as the one I attended: The Coaches Training Institute, the largest and oldest coach training school in the world.
What can an executive coach do for you?
Be a trusted sounding board.
I have found that most leaders thrive when they have a trusted guide who has walked in their shoes and is a truly unbiased source of feedback. Very few career and workplace challenges are brand new; a person’s experience or lack thereof is usually the variable. A good coach has no skin in the game other than your success as you’ve defined it, and will help you anticipate, problem-solve and build internal partnerships with the skill of a seasoned professional.
Support you with transitioning to a new role or career.
With most new roles come high expectations and unfamiliar territory, such as managing former peers or taking on managerial duties after years of virtual autonomy. Research shows when someone assumes a new or different leadership role, they have a 40% chance of demonstrating disappointing performance, and 82% of newly appointed leaders derail because they fail to build partnerships with subordinates and peers. An executive coach will help you transition effectively and build others’ trust in your ability to do the job.
Reveal derailing behaviour or blind spots.
According to Harvard Business Review, 2 out of 5 new CEOs fail in their first 18 months on the job – not for lack of competence, but due to hubris and other self-limiting behaviours. Whether you’re a CEO or receptionist, understanding the impact you have with your actions versus the impact you want to have can literally make the difference between being good and being great at what you do. Sometimes discovering a blind spot means helping people uncover their true purpose or higher calling, along with the fears that prevent them from acknowledging and acting on it.
It’s important to note that a good coach – versus a mentor, colleague, therapist or even a trusted friend – will hold you accountable for reaching your goals and will play an active role in helping you achieve your desired success.
After decades of success working with many talented leaders at some of the world’s best-known brands, I decided to make my own transition to executive coaching and I am thrilled to have just passed my CTI written exam.
As a coach, I’m trained to ask the questions that compel people to achieve what they truly want. Watching that transformation in my clients has made me completely fall in love with the practice of coaching. What I love most is that those who seek coaching are naturally capable human beings who can overcome and soar beyond their imaginations. And when they do, it’s miraculous for both of us.
The coaching methodology itself pushes me to continuously improve both in my coaching and in my life, so I get to practice what I preach. Coaching speaks to my values as a person – eg, about being, at times, fiercely courageous in holding my clients accountable to achieving their goals and I love the simplicity and purity of that design.
If you’d like to talk about how we can help, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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