Executive Coaching

What is Executive Coaching?

Years ago, coaching was viewed as a way to improve "problem" managers. In the late 1990's, coaching became a perk for senior executives. Today, coaching is considered an effective process for helping managers - of all levels and abilities - meet their goals.

While the term "coaching" is used regularly in organizations, it often is just a catch-all phrase for skills training, instruction and daily guidance. Coaching - sometimes called management, executive or leadership coaching - is a process in which a qualified coach works one-on-one with a leader - the "coachee." The coachee and the coach collaborate to assess and understand the coachee and the developmental task, challenge current constraints while exploring new possibilities, and ensure accountability and support for reaching goals and sustaining development.

Some companies provide coaching initiatives for new employees, employees taking new positions and high-potential employees, or those who need to improve their capabilities to succeed at the next level. Most coaching engagements are intended to help managers make progress on specific developmental goals. Coaching engagements usually last from six to 18 months.

A good coach will help you develop clarity of purpose and focus on action. With a coach you will work on making the specific behavioral changes you want to make, leverage your strengths to become more effective in your work; and identify and address development needs.

Consider hiring a coach if:

  • You need structured planning and support to help in the accomplishment of a new way of leading or managing others.
  • You're faced with a significant increase in the scope of your responsibility.
  • You're a project manager who needs to improve how you build and lead teams.
  • You're a leader who wants to be successful at managing across geographic, cultural or demographic boundaries.
  • You're a traditional manager who wants to move to a less dominant and directive leadership style.
  • You're an executive who needs to develop, articulate and sell a new vision for your organization.
  • You're a line manager who wants to broaden your experience and capacity to take on an executive position.
  • You're a technical manager who needs to become adept at articulating ideas, influencing others, and understanding organization politics.
  • You've just completed a development program and have a heightened awareness of skills you need to develop or skills you may rely on too much.

From the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)'s April 2003 eNewsletter: Considering a Coach?

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