Coaching is more personalized than consulting, and it’s less emotionally intensive than therapy. Executive coaching is about helping you be the best version of yourself as a leader. It looks toward the future following the path that you, with some help from your coach, define.
When you work with an exceptional executive coach, you may at times feel like you’re having a business discussion. At other times, you may feel like you’re confiding in a therapist. Still other times, you may feel like you’re subject to training and practice you haven’t experienced since you ran track in high school.
World class leaders like Eric Schmidt (former CEO of Google) and Microsoft’s Bill Gates have both emphasized the importance of executive coaching, and it makes sense. World class athletes have coaches, as do top speakers, poker champions, and chess grandmasters, so why wouldn’t an executive who wants to be everything he or she can be? Following are 5 ways executive coaching can help you and more broadly, help your organization.
1. By Creating an Organizational Culture That Values Continuous Improvement
The fact that you’re working with a coach shows that you value continuous improvement and don’t ever plan to stop learning and growing. This not only serves as a positive example in the development of your corporate culture, but it also gives you the tools you need to help your team understand and practice continuous improvement as well.
2. By Helping Clarify and Articulate Leadership Vision
Executive coaching can be remarkably helpful if you have terrific ideas, but have difficulty articulating them. That’s not an uncommon scenario, and executive coaching specialists are able to use reflective (active) listening to help you formulate your vision in words that will make sense to your team. After all, if nobody understands your vision as a leader, they can’t make it happen.
3. By Shedding Light on What’s Really Holding You and Your Team Back
An athletic coach can tell you why your swing is faulty (perhaps because your hands are too far apart), but he or she can also tell you when there’s something inside you holding you back. Perhaps you internalized beliefs or attitudes that aren’t applicable to your situation, or you have “blind spots” about your abilities that prevent you from seeing ways to improve.
4. By Helping Develop and Refine Specific Skills
Maybe you know you need help with a specific skill – say, delegating – and a coach can help you work on that specific skill. Executive coaching specialists know how to role-play, explain, and train, and they know how to get you to put skills into practice on a regular basis so you improve. Executive coaching can be about specific skills as well as about overarching leadership.
5. By Improving Business Results
Finally, executive coaching helps your business perform better by making you a better leader. It also helps you instill the type of corporate culture you believe will take you into the future. With you as a better leader, you can keep your team focused on the important business goals and the practical steps to get there. Results can include lower costs, higher efficiency, and greater revenues.
Executive Coaching Is an Investment in Yourself and Your Organization
Whatever kind of team you’re leading, you can’t hope to be effective unless you have been trained in the skills necessary for the task. But beyond training, you need to have practiced those skills and developed them, so you’ll have necessary leadership tools with which you’re skilled at your disposal, exactly when you need them.
Whether or not you invest in executive coaching, your organization will develop its own culture. If you work with an experienced executive coach with a great track record, you’re better able to shape that corporate culture as it evolves. What’s more, you’ll be better able to articulate your vision, better able to keep your team on the right track, more efficient, and more successful.