Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Executive Coaching – What’s Involved?

Executive coaching is often perceived as a mysterious and intrusive process from the outside, one in which many questions are asked, some of which may feel uncomfortable. This can often be off-putting, especially to business executives who typically prefer a concrete approach to solving problems. And for many, the idea that they may need coaching is equally objectionable. But the business of executive coaching has been steadily growing, and the case for its benefits is strong. So what does it really entail?

In fact, the process of executive coaching involves the use of specific and targeted techniques aimed at addressing a range of problems.

Here we give a brief overview of some coaching techniques and what they are used for.

360 Degree Feedback

Executive coaching in itself is about self-awareness, and being open to 360 degree feedback - from peers, from those reporting to the executive, and from those the executive reports to -  can help to form a well-rounded view of strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they are perceived.

This can form the concrete basis for changing behaviour and communication styles to improve performance and get immediate results.

Clearing Limiting Fears and Beliefs

A very focused process, in the course of discussing development needs, as well as changing behaviour executive coaching looks to identify the drivers for current behaviour – usually one or more quite specific fears or beliefs.

This stage then enables the executive to articulate these fears and beliefs, either spontaneously through discussion, or using specific techniques such as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), to review them, and to adopt more relevant beliefs.

For instance, in the case of the executive always looking for approval, their belief may be that they are not good enough. Becoming conscious of this belief will enable them to let go of it, recognise their strengths and in place, believe in them.

Video Feedback

Allowing the executive to see how they appear and behave in a range of social situations, video feedback is particularly relevant in reviewing performance during public speaking and presentations, and it is equally effective in looking at interactions with team members and peers. Giving objective feedback, this can often help to counter self-perceptions and helps to identify specific improvement areas and techniques. A continual process, further video footage after coaching has started can show improvement and further areas of development.

Focused Problem Solving


While to the untrained eye this can appear to be simply an executive and their coach talking, this is a highly focused way of helping to reach a decision or solve a problem. Focused problem solving is particularly helpful when the issue is complex, out of the ordinary, or where there are high levels of stress or emotion involved, preventing the executive from seeing the situation in an objective way. And this process is especially valuable for senior executives who do not have peers with whom they can  discuss such matters within the workplace.

Within focused problem solving, the coach will ask the executive to clearly describe their issue, as well as identifying what may be preventing them from seeing a solution. Once the issue is clear, the coach helps to generate options and ideas around it, and then to select the best approach to solving it. If emotional aspects are also involved, the coach will bring in techniques to calm these.

The aim of this technique is to reach a decision, and if not, to create clarity around the issue enabling the executive to take tangible progress towards a decision – such as researching a specific topic or talking to a particular person.

Goal Setting

One of the keys to effective leadership and achieving results is having clear goals and working towards them in a planned way. Executive coaching in this area helps to achieve clarity and focus, and is especially beneficial when an executive perceives conflict between goals, or when there is an issue with priorities. The coach will use powerful questions to create awareness of what the executive wants to achieve, including any limitations that they may be inflicting upon themselves, and here, the GROW model may be used, to look at:

Goal – a clear view of where the executive wants to be.
Reality – where the executive is now – how far from the goal, and what challenges they face.
Obstacles and Options – defining barriers to progress and finding options to deal with them.
Way forward – taking the options forward to reach the end goal.

The Greater Value of Executive Coaching

With many techniques and tools at their disposal, experienced executive coaches tailor their approach precisely to the needs of their client and may use some, all or none of those that we have outlined depending on their brief.

In today’s demanding business environment, many companies place greater value on executives with coaches and mentors, who benefit from a holistic view of their own role, while inspiring and engaging others towards goals and productivity.

Find out more about the benefits of executive coaching with Inspiring Potential – helping you to achieve the results and success you want.

2 comments:

sigsoogca said...

Executive coaching also helps executives deal with time management issues so they can prioritize their work strategically -thereby making them proactive rather than reactive. In this manner, executive coaching helps ensure crisis situations are at best, kept to a bare minimum.

Executive coaching

Eshan said...

Nice post!!! Executive coaching gives rely on your skills, judgments and decisions and expect you to continually. Thanks for share with us.