Is your senior leadership team under increased pressure as a result of increased regulation, changing demands and the need to be more accountable? Do you know senior executives who have expressed an interest in wanting to grow and improve? Or may be you know senior executives who need to improve their performance. What have you offered to help them? Are you making the most of Executive Coaching?
Recommending Coaching for Senior Leadership
Recent experiences of working with senior leadership teams have reminded me of the significant and powerful contribution executive coaching can make in supporting individuals. Although Coach Mentoring Ltd consultants provide executive coaches to a wide range of organisations, it would seem that executive coaching is not something that is being readily recommended to senior people, even in companies where coaching is a feature of their development activities. It’s definitely a strong option to consider for senior leadership development.
The Benefits of Executive Coaching
Rather than explore the reasons why not, I think we need to revisit the why and what questions of executive coaching. This will remind us of the benefits it offers and to help us have the confidence to recommend this when working with senior teams. So when we’re talking to them it’s clear what’s in it for them.
Executive coaching — why it helps?
As a coaching solution, executive coaching provides a customised approach to supporting an individual in working with the challenges of their role and improving performance. This is key in today’s business environment where, arguably, senior executives are under more pressure with the focus on higher levels of governance, accountability and transparency, the demands of a VUCA world and the obligations to meet stakeholders needs. Focusing on the individual and the context of their role, executive coaching helps individuals with:
- Decision-making: evaluating options and making the best decisions.
- Workload: Managing the particular challenges this brings.
- Reflection: on key questions about the impact of changes on the future direction/shape of their areas of responsibility or on their leadership.
- Leadership: Broadening skills, self-awareness and confidence.
- Motivation and engagement.
- Relationships: thinking about their effectiveness and their behaviours.
- Increasing their gravitas.
- Actions: translating what needs to be done into their day-to-day actions.
It’s clear to see that the added value of executive coaching is the customised and focused approach to the needs of the individual. This helps them to explore a wide range of priorities and to improve their performance, which benefits them as an individual and in turn benefits the organisation.
Executive coaching — what it offers?
When working at a senior level there are fewer people with whom you can discuss things openly, so being a senior executive can be a lonely and isolated role. An executive coach can be a much-needed confidant and professional listener, as executive coaching provides:
- Impartiality: an impartial and non-directive source of help.
- Confidentiality: a confidential environment in which to explore and reflect on key questions and challenges.
- A sounding board: the support individuals need to think through things before taking action or making decisions.
- Openness: the opportunity to talk openly about real concerns and issues, which may be too sensitive or complex to discuss with others in the organisation.
- Reality: an approach through which leadership can be developed using real life challenges.
- Challenge: providing an appropriate balance of challenge and support to ensure purpose, results and empathy.
- Efficiency: a flexible, responsive, just-in-time option that fits around a busy schedule. It does not require long spells away from the office.
- An external view: a broader, more strategic or more informed perspective from working with an external coach.
Having the confidence to openly discuss a variety of topics and priorities in a safe environment without being judged is an invaluable resource for a senior leader.
Executive coaching — what next?
Whether executive coaching is something you have recommended or it’s a completely new venture for your organisation, I hope you’re encouraged to include it on your agenda for senior leadership development going forward.
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