Good leadership coaches focus on clients’ personal and professional lives. They also include business coaching elements in their mentoring. The goal of a comprehensive coaching effort should be to effect lasting, positive change in the lives of clients. These changes translate to improved professional performances and leaderlike behaviors.

Mentoring and leadership coaching is the most straightforward path to career advancement and personal development. From the perspective of a leadership coach, leaders should strive to create company cultures focused on coaching and mentoring.

When employees coach and mentor peers, the results are improved confidence, strong communication skills, and better productivity. Employees find it easier to advance their careers, and organizations thrive. That is the theory.

peer-level coaching

Peer-level coaching is one of the best outcomes of an organizational coaching culture. 

In practice, coaching and coaching-focused cultures can derail or fall short of expectations. A non-professional approach to leadership coaching and mentoring can fall flat for many reasons.

Supply and Demand Issues

An inadequate supply-demand balance is one of the top reasons. People love mentoring, and most employees understand coaching, whether professional or peer-to-peer, is the shortest path to advancement and success. This explains why 75% of professionals want mentors or coaches. Unfortunately, only 37% get coaches.

The Need to Focus on the Whole Person

The other problem is non-professional efforts tend to focus solely on career advancement while ignoring the whole person of the student including relationships, finances, behaviors, parenting, and values.

Coaching and mentoring the whole person is a wider effort, requiring more time and a deeper commitment on the part of the coach. Executive coaching experts understand its intricacies and potential rewards. They know how to commit to deeper coaching relationships.

Great coaches and mentors focus on whole people. Here’s how they reach deeper to effect change on a level that can have life-altering impacts.

Asking Great Questions

Executive coaching is the art of asking questions, the answers to which can spark revelations in students. Coaches and mentors are not psychologists, but sometimes, they have to dig deep to uncover emotional triggers and allow clients to begin healing and changing on relevant levels.

A coach may ask a client what keeps him or her up at night. To answer the question, a student must dig into some of their deepest fears. Facing these fears allows them to demystify them and perhaps find out why they struggle with them. Knowing the whats and whys lets people make tweaks that result in profound behavioral and performance changes.

Coaches can also ask clients about the role models they had growing up or some of their passions back in school.

Focusing on Long-Term Success

Genuine leadership coaching is not a short-term proposition. Good coaches start with the end in mind.

Establishing a long-term goal is akin to setting the goalposts. Leaders need to know their clients’ professional and personal goals so they can help align the two through coaching efforts.

Without these essential reference points, leadership coaching efforts are rudderless and more likely to fail. Also, coaches risk giving their clients good career advice that may, in fact, be poor.

Asking a student to write a list of things they’d like their family to say about them on their 80th birthday is an example of defining the goalposts.

Connecting on a Personal Level

To bring life and career guidance into alignment, executive coaches must get to know clients on professional and personal levels. They must also include business coaching elements in their mentoring to give students concrete tools to scale up their personal and professional lives.

personal connection

A personal connection is essential for coaching success. 

Sharing stories is one of the most natural and effective ways to build rapport and meaningful connections.

By telling stories to clients, leadership coaches set the stage for honest and personal communication. They also learn and understand clients’ motivations, goals, and fears.

To have a deep and lasting impact, leadership coaching must focus on the whole person and not limit itself to the professional aspects of a client’s life. By mentoring the whole person, coaches can have life-altering impacts on clients and the people these clients influence.


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