What It Is and Why to Consider It
The benefits to be gained through coaching are hard to quantify.
Some entrepreneurs and business leaders may think that executive coaching is for other people and not for them. Why would they think this? Maybe they believe that admitting they need help means they are weak, ineffective leaders. Perhaps this is how you feel about coaching, but ask yourself this: Don’t most elite athletes in the world have coaches? Of course they do. Why should a business executive or entrepreneur be any different?
Think about it. Athletes share many of the same goals as business leaders. Both want to excel at a high level, continually improve and be the best in their fields. No one would look at a star athlete and think any less of them because they listen to their coach. However, there needs to be more clarity about executive coaching. Some believe that business leaders seek coaching only when they’ve failed or fallen short. Does that mean Simone Biles or Tom Brady are failures because they’re coached? Of course not.
What Is Executive Coaching?
I want to clear up what executive coaching is, but first, let me clarify what it is not. Executive coaching is not:
Remediation or Punishment. Executive coaching is not for remediation, and it’s not a punishment. Again, a business leader doesn’t seek out the help of a professional business coach because they’ve failed. They seek them out because they want to enhance the skills they already possess. They want to add to the knowledge they’ve already gained.
A Final Solution. Coaching only manages some business challenges over time. It is a valuable tool that helps business leaders and entrepreneurs find the answers they need to move forward. Coaches guide businesses and individuals on the path to success. They help them meet and exceed goals and set new ones. Coaches help individuals and teams develop the mindset needed to meet challenges. That said, executive coaching is not a silver bullet. It’s a part of the process. It empowers people to rise and complete challenges. Coaches are not problem-solvers. Instead, they help their clients refine their skills and enhance their knowledge so they can solve their problems themselves.
If executive coaching is not these things, then what is it? Executive coaching is:
Asking and Answering the Right Questions. Executive coaching is about getting the answers to the right questions. It’s about motivating business owners and executives to become better listeners and learners so they can help their teams succeed. A good business coach inspires clients to reach new heights.
Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses. Executive coaching helps identify strengths and weaknesses and addresses them both. When clients develop a solution-centric mindset, this gives them ownership. It helps them earn their team’s trust and gain the other stakeholders’ confidence within the organization.
Learning to Adapt. Coaching is about getting clients to adapt to an ever-changing world. If we don’t adapt, we run the risk of getting left behind. Coaches encourage learning and growth and inspire people to reach their full potential.It’s too easy to get overwhelmed and feel lost. Coaching is about finding your footing and then finding your way.
Establishing OKRs. Objectives and key results (OKRs) are a framework that helps create a business environment whereby employees work with a purpose. OKRs can benefit firms by allowing them to be more focused, more accountable, more aligned, more transparent, and more engaged. Apply goal-setting matrices in the right way creates a tremendous work environment.
Put the Focus on Solutions
This may seem like it puts all the burden on the person being coached, but it is the coach who has the experience and knowledge to push clients in the right direction. As a coach, one way I help clients meet their challenges is by getting them to focus on solution-centric approaches. This method engages and empowers people because they come up with solutions to the challenges they face. That empowerment is transferred to the entire team and spreads throughout the organization.
What You Can Gain Through Executive Coaching
The benefits to be gained through coaching are hard to quantify. There are many, and they manifest themselves over time. However, one immediate benefit is the message it sends to stakeholders. It shows the entire company that you commit to succeeding.
In summary, executive coaching can offer the following benefits to entrepreneurs and business leaders:
• Identify strengths and weaknesses and uncover blind spots.
• Be held accountable as a leader for your progress.
• Improve problem-solving skills with a solution-centric approach.
• Get help adapting to changes.
• Improve listening skills.
• Get help meeting goals with benchmarks set along the way.
• Gain confidence.
• Improve company culture.
• Keep your company more focused, accountable, aligned, transparent and engaged.
Alternatives to Executive Coaching
For all the many benefits executive coaching offers, it’s not for everyone. It’s an investment of both time and money. For entrepreneurs and executives starting out, another option is self-reflection. The steps used in self-reflection practices help individuals recognize their strengths and weaknesses and change patterns of their behavior. Peer accountability is another way to strengthen skills and build trust within an organization. That said, if executive coaching sounds like a good fit for you, then the rewards gained can be well worth the investment.