An executive coach is a person who specializes in helping an executive effectively deal with increasing stress and frustration and so effectively develop an executive mindset that’s able to more effectively lead performance. There are several levels of executive coaching: Executive coaching for beginners, executive coaching for leaders, and executive coaching for professionals. And the best thing about it is: It doesn’t cost much. (It costs less than a round-the-clock personal assistant.) Here are three keys to making executive coaching work for you:
Know the cause(s) of your problem(s) – In order to really know what you need help with, you’ll have to open up and share what exactly is going on in your life. Then an executive coach can help you through a process of self-exploration to figure out the real reason(s) behind your challenges and then get to work on those areas that need the most work. So the sooner you get started, the better off you’ll be.
Be honest and direct – One of the reasons so many executives fail at their jobs is because they’re not direct with their clients, which means that they spend a lot of time giving “advice” to clients but rarely take the time to tell them why they’re doing something wrong. They also don’t provide clients with actionable plans to take their businesses to new levels. If you want to make sure you get results from your coaching sessions, tell clients upfront what you expect them to do and when they’ll achieve it. Otherwise, they’ll be in for a surprise when it doesn’t happen, or when it turns out that the plan you gave them is inadequate and doesn’t really work.
Empower Others – One of the most powerful aspects of executive coaching is that it helps executives become truly self-accountable. Many executives blame others if things go wrong or if they don’t achieve success, and that’s a problem. It’s important for coaches to empower their clients by getting them to own their failures on their own. If a coach can encourage their client to look at themselves as a leader, rather than a follower, they will see results from their coaching sessions much more quickly.
Harness Potential – One of the keys to becoming an effective executive coach is to harness your potential. You may have great skills and great coaching knowledge. However, if you don’t tap into your potential, you won’t see great results. That’s why it’s so important to read the Harvard Business Review and other expert reviews when hiring executive coaches.
Professional Development – A quality of executive coaching is that it brings awareness to personal life coach clients. For example, if you’re working as a financial advisor and you don’t pay close attention to your clients, they could fail. As a personal life coach, you would be bringing this subject up in your sessions. Make sure you get involved in your clients’ professional development so that you can help them develop their skills and talents.
Nationality – It’s important to remember that many executive coaches come from different countries and backgrounds. When interviewing executive coaches, one of the biggest questions is whether they have a global perspective. They need to have a positive view of the world and they should be willing to serve locally as well. If you hire coaches from a foreign country, make sure they have strong ties to the United States, its culture and to the local communities where they are providing services. The HBS report mentioned above has some recommendations about doing this.
Disparities – There are often gender and racial differences in pay among executive coaches. Sometimes those differences are so pronounced that hiring them can be an effort to prove that a company doesn’t care about equality. A quality executive coach will be aware of such discrepancies and unfair practices and will remedy it. Remember, if you’re going to hire coaches, they will be working with people who may be terminally ill or disabled. It’s important not to treat them as though they’re over privileged. An executive coach may need to take steps to ensure that they are treated fairly.
Executive coach is most effective when it’s personalized to address the unique set of strengths and development needs of each person.