Companies and individuals invest in executive coaching because they want results, and executive coaching has a track record of delivering them.
Excellence in leadership leads to excellence in business results.
Tangible benefits of executive coaching include better performance, cost reduction, and higher profitability. Intangible benefits of executive coaching include better working relationships between leaders and their team members, better work distribution, and overall better corporate culture.
What types of things to executive coaches work on with their clients? Of course, it’s different with every client, but there are some executive skills that coaches find they are frequently requested to help with. Here are four skills that executive coaches and their clients regularly work on together.
1. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence embodies the skills required for people to be attuned to their own and others’ emotions, to understand situations accurately, and to generally be able to tailor actions to the situation to get the best possible results. Leaders lacking in emotional intelligence simply don’t get the results that leaders with strong emotional intelligence do.
Executive coaches frequently work with clients on developing key emotional intelligence skills like:
- Empathy and compassion
- Relationship management
2. Delegation and Empowerment Skills
The ability to delegate effectively is valuable in getting great results with maximum efficiency. But delegation involves much more than just work distribution. Delegation must also be an element in empowerment of team members so that everyone knows they have the agency to solve problems and not just carry out a list of tasks.
Delegating to team members who have psychological “ownership” of their roles not only gets work done efficiently, it improves the quality of the work. Team members who feel entrusted by their leaders to make crucial decisions related to their roles are far more productive than those who consider themselves as terminal worker-ants who are only expected to cross tasks off a list.
3. Conflict Resolution Skills
Nobody likes dealing with workplace conflict, but strong leaders know when and how to step in and help the parties resolve issues and move forward.
Conflict in business is inevitable, and leaders who turn a blind eye, or who only intervene in the most severe conflicts do their companies and their teams a disservice. Nobody likes wading into a conflict and trying to sort it out, but effective leaders know when they need to, and they know how to do it effectively.
Conflict resolution skills are closely intertwined with other leadership skills, like empathy, perspective, problem-solving, and communication. Few people are natural experts at conflict resolution, and many executive coaches work with their clients on developing this remarkably valuable leadership skill.
4. Communication Skills
Communication skills prevent or short-circuit misunderstandings, and they motivate people to excellence. How might the course of the American Civil War have been different had Abraham Lincoln not delivered the Gettysburg Address in the middle of the darkest chapter in American history? And it wasn’t even the primary speech given on that occasion!
Good communication is clear and honest, and it involves listening as well as talking. Each leader must understand their own communication style, which methods they use best, and how they can improve. Bad communication wastes time, leads to conflict, and ultimately causes morale to suffer, and that’s why so many executive coaches work with clients to develop better communication skills.
Executive coaches develop a plan of action with every client, and those plans of action frequently involve the development of the skills listed here. Coaching isn’t magic, and it doesn’t happen without hard work and commitment on the part of both coach and client. Skills like emotional intelligence, delegation, conflict resolution, and communication are essential leadership skills, and anyone with determination can improve them, whether or not they are leaders. If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to explore my CEO coaching and leadership coaching services.