Why use executive coaching?
Executive coaching is an essential part of any workplace leadership development program. It can provide key employees with an opportunity for personal development and reflection. This can increase their effectiveness individually and their leadership skills within a team environment. Executive coaching can help establish the strong foundation required for working together in a collaborative and productive environment. Strong leadership at the executive level, both on an individual and team basis, is the cornerstone of any successful business. It is important to recognize that such strength in leadership is a driver of employee engagement and thus business results.
Before beginning a coaching program
In advance of the coaching program beginning, there should be a comprehensive assessment so that the coaches and management can both better understand the needs of the business. As part of this process, there should also be decisions made about the desired outcomes for the coaching program. These overall goals for coaching must be made within the context of the business and in such a way that it supports the business' strategic goals. Additionally, this process should create an engagement profile to support communication within the company about the coaching program.
What should an effective executive coaching program include?
While there are a lot of executive coaching programs available, very few approach the coaching program as a coordinated, managed process. A well-run coaching program will manage the coaching process. This includes hiring and training coaches, selecting coaches to work with specific companies and individuals based on good fit, and managing all coaching to ensure consistency of approach. This also provides a source for on-going communication with the sponsor about the progress and any issues that arise. The coachee, manager, and coach will then meet several times to discuss the expected results of coaching and provide real-time feedback. Below are some of the key factors in determining whether a coaching program will be able to effectively integrate with your overall development strategy and produce results.
- One of the most important factors in the success of a coaching program is whether it is "contextual coaching" – does the program tailor its approach to the needs of individual leaders within the context of the requirements of the organization? A one-size-fits all approach is much more likely to fail than one that is shaped around the business.
- There should be a system in place to match the coaches with the leaders by gathering information about the individuals to ensure the best fit of coach and leader.
- A dedicated engagement manager, responsible for managing the relationship with the client company and overall project coordination, can ensure that the executive coaching program as well as the individual coaching relationships all work towards the same goals.
- A coach supervisor should be responsible for supporting coaches in their coaching engagements.
- Regular feedback and evaluations should be used to shape the ongoing coaching process and to provide a way to track results.
Benefits of executive coaching
Executive coaching will increase confidence and effectiveness in leaders to lead their teams. It can also lead to an improvement in the overall atmosphere and culture in a company. Some companies struggle with moving from strategic intent to operational reality – or conversely they get stuck in the operational mindset and miss opportunities to grow and become more competitive. Coaching programs can support organizations in identifying this trend in their company and can help the leaders and teams in these organizations navigate the continuum between strategy and operations.