What is Executive Coaching?

It's no secret that leading and guiding a business is complex and challenging. Managers are expected to have and apply the necessary hard and soft skills to make this a reality in the workplace. Sadly, the reality is that they rarely receive the effective training and support to develop those skills and thinking patterns. When managers and their teams then inevitably struggle to make informed decisions and fully engage the potential of their people, they put their team and organization at risk.

Executive Coaching, otherwise known as Executive Function Coaching was created to support and develop C-suite leaders and other Executive Leaders to allow them to more positively impact their people and business results and ultimately create lasting change within their organization. 

There are 3 primary methods that the most effective Executive Coaching uses: 

1. 360 feedback

A 360 evaluation is an invaluable tool for leaders to receive feedback from their team in a constructive, honest way. This form of gathering and delivering feedback includes all key team members, from entry-level employees, peers and other executives, so that all key constituents have the opportunity to provide useful feedback and observations . 

The initial benefit of a 360 feedback is to help the leader become aware of potential growth areas; additionally, inviting feedback from a broad group within the organization, the quality of the actionable data and the active support of those around the Coachee themself are dramatically improved. When people see the company investing in developing and supporting their leaders, most companies report seeing increased retention, improved workplace camaraderie and a lessening of internal pressure experienced by the team. 

2. Delivery of feedback 

Executive Coaches provides feedback in a way that’s easy to understand and digest for the executive in question. Many times in a workplace, feedback is given during a performance review or in an appraisal format, which often creates defensiveness and fear. But when Executive Coaches deliver 360 feedback, they can act as neutral third party partners that are so clearly there to support this leader in their career. A professional Coach understands how to position and deliver feedback in a way that is helpful and immediately actionable. Skillful, professionally delivered feedback is easy to hear, easy to understand and easy to act on in simple ways that allow for immediate improvement around results.  

3. Implementation 

Executive Coaching work provides a roadmap with specific, personalized steps so that leaders don’t have to wait to act on their newfound insight, motivation and lessons learned. A Coach ensures that the leader clearly understand the purpose and outcomes of the work, so that the work proceeds with a minimum of confusion and confidence and the resulting actions come quickly and the learning are easy to make permanent.

Now, let’s explore the details to better understand the important distinctions between Executive Coaching and mentoring. We’ll discuss how coaching can help leaders excel in their careers and benefit your organization as a whole in the long run. 

Why is Executive Coaching Important? 

Within one given company there are hundreds of necessary roles. Often, a sales person starts out with a certain set of sales-specific skills. As they grow and excel in their role, they get recognized and promotion opportunities start pouring in. Climbing the corporate ladder is exciting and will leave new executives feeling ill-equipped and confused in their leadership positions. This is because of the Peter Principle, which states that employees will rise to their individual level of incompetence - in other words, people will be promoted again and again until they end up in a position that they’re not equipped or capable of doing well.

Unfortunately this is the unintended impact of the hiring, development and promotion processes of many companies. This leads to a slew of executives and even C-suite leaders who do not possess, let alone implement the qualities of a properly mature and skillful executive. Without proper training to equip your executives to lead well, their organization’s produce far less than stellar results. 

On the other hand, founders have been in their roles from the beginning of the life of their company. Founders are creators and builders who love big-picture thinking. Founders create businesses and breathe new life and ideas into them, but when founders become day to day managers, processes and systems and employee satisfaction typically degrade. That is why most start-ups end up eventually hiring professional leaders to move the company forward because it is far outside of the interest and capabilities of the Founders (some make that transition, the vast majority do not).

That’s where Executive Coaching comes in. Executive Coaching services can be crafted to uniquely provide Founders with the tools and perspective they need to continually grow themselves and their business. 

Executive Coaching provides a unique perspective from a third-party professional who is dedicated to seeing you and your business thrive. They are able to deliver even difficult feedback in a way that is useful to busy executives. As we know, most leaders are buried in their day-to-day work and become overwhelmed with the basics of putting out fires and managing a dozen tasks at once. An Executive Coach provides the space for leaders to breathe, take a step back, and focus on their own performance in every part of their lives.

Executive Coaching companies like EngagedLeadership help leaders scale their awareness, effectiveness, and therefore impact on their entire business. Our Coaches are experts in facilitating deep and lasting change with a holistic approach that transforms personal perspective, satisfaction and performance.

3 Benefits of Receiving Leadership Coaching

Executive Coaching can play a vital role in developing and supporting your executives, to go from where they stand currently to where they aspire to be. Here are some of the benefits:

1. Improves Team Leadership Performance

Enhancing one's leadership impact is critical for thriving at any level. That impact is of course magnified the greater the level of responsibility, most especially at the C-suite level. Executive Coaching sets up leaders to interact with conflict and confrontation as positive opportunities rather than destructive or threatening. Top performing teams require top performing leaders, and with EngagedLeadership’s Executive Coaching, feedback is gathered and delivered by a third party whose only goal is their leader’s success.

2. Helps Develop Better Understanding of People's Behavior

Leadership Coaching equips executives to grow in understanding of their team’s behaviors, and develop a high level of resilience and strategic thinking. For example, the use of 360 feedback in Executive Coaching builds authenticity as the team feels heard, included, and trusted in the process. These skills help executives drive themselves and their organization to higher efficiency, performance, and growth.

3. Improves Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness

Executive Coaching allows the client to develop skills that will help them inspire confidence, collaborate with others, and communicate far more effectively with those critical to their success. They get to receive high quality feedback that isn’t tied to a performance review or pay raise. That feedback is expertly gathered and delivered, so that it's easy to understand and take as constructive guidance that can be acted on, rather than useless criticism. 

What Does Executive Coaching Look Like?

While there are many variations, EngagedLeadership’s Executive Coaching typically involves six main phases. As with any important relationship, everything begins with conversations designed to quickly and deeply create trust and connection between the Coach and Coachee. The best Coaches are superb relationship builders and know that co-creating this trust is the  foundation on which everything else is built. 360 degree feedback is gathered and reviewed, and the Coach serves as a guide to creating a development plan based on the 360 feedback. Over the next 6 months, the leader will execute the plan with support from their Coach. Then, the Coach holds a handoff meeting with the Coachee’s manager to ensure lasting change. 

How Much Does Executive Coaching Cost? 

Executive Coaching is a significant investment because of the value it provides. Our investment can range anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 and sometimes higher. The investment depends primarily on the intensity of the engagement, frequency of interaction and support and lastly the expertise of the Coach. This may seem like a lot, but the consequences that poorly made executive decisions create are far more costly!

How Do I Prepare for Executive Coaching?

Our Executive Coaches want nothing more than to see your leaders succeed! Leaders need to be prepared to be open and honest, with their own self assessment as well as in their communication with the Coach that is going to partner with them. 

Leaders need to be prepared to share their hopes and fears for the work, while monitoring themselves for defensiveness and justification. These responses can be very natural when one’s self perceptions are challenged.  When working with a deeply skilled coach, executives often surprise themselves with the level of courage, openness and vulnerability they find themselves willing to bring to this work. 

Why Executives Need Coaching 

Whether your leader is a chief marketing and sales officer or a chief supply chain manager, they are likely experiencing numerous areas where they know they are less effective than they need to be to produce outstanding results for the business and the people. 

The reality is that virtually no one inside the organization is going to feel they can be completely honest and direct about where the executive’s behavior is causing problems for others. 

Few people inside an organization have the training and experience to translate a person’s experiences into manageable and actionable observations that are necessary to help the executive improve. 

Fewer still have the skills or experience to spot and work through some of the inevitable defensiveness and self justification that can and will happen when someone's self perception is challenged.

A leader must look to a third party coach to receive the unbiased, honest, qualified guidance they need to truly grow in their leadership. 

Executive Coaching is the most effective and efficient way to close the awareness and skill gap that exists for anyone – let alone a person who is nearly “organizationally immune” from useful personal feedback because of their authority and impressive background. We often find that when senior executives visibly challenge themselves to grow and demonstrate the effort to develop themselves, the entire organization becomes motivated to embrace their own development and prioritize the time and resources it takes to make meaningful change. The entire organization benefits from the effort. Even their subordinates report that it’s worth the time and investment their leader put into the task.

How Do You Choose the Right Executive Coaching Program? 

Every Coaching or Training program has its own advantages. For senior leaders who want to make a lasting impact on the organization, one-to-one Executive Coaching is easily the most impactful commitment they can make. 

However, if you aim to implement a targeted development plan to enhance team efforts, go for 360 Feedback with coaching support.

If your leaders have just taken on an expanded role and need a confidential partner to help them think through challenges, then CAAT (Coach at a Touch) by EngagedLeadership is ideal for you.

Remember that executive career support is highly motivating and can help your professionals propel their careers and reach levels of success and satisfaction. If you or your company's leaders want to meaningfully address the challenges you face, give us a call or learn more about our executive coaching program

It’s time to try Executive Coaching 

As you know, there’s more to leadership than knowing your industry or even knowing your team. You have to know yourself – your strengths and how you are developing in your growth areas. If you – or someone on your team – is ready to level-up your leadership, schedule a call with EngagedLeadership today.

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