Do You Need an Executive Coach?

April 12, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

If you possess the skills, knowledge, capacity, and experience to make it to a senior executive level, why would you need an executive coach?

Most executives may need coaching because their elevation to the upper tier of the work force is based on their past, while staying there will be based on what they accomplish in the future. With an ever-changing workforce and increasingly diverse and challenging marketplace before them, how well does an executive’s past serve them?

Just as a sports coach helps even the most talented athletes adapt and excel despite changing conditions on the field or court, a leadership coach can help executives make adjustments, continue to learn about themselves, add new skills, and remain productive over the long-term, even as their environment shifts around them.

Executive Coaching Brings Perspective

Perhaps above all, an executive coach can bring a new perspective to otherwise familiar, and non-familiar, situations in which a person in a leadership position may find him or herself.

Strategies and tactics that may have worked in the past often become obsolete, especially in the high-tech, fast-paced world in which we live and work today. Effective leaders who want to stay engaged and continue to be effective have to develop new skills, build on their strengths, and identify and reduce the impact of their weaknesses. Smart companies know that most classroom training for execs has limited value compared to development that is personal and based on “live” situations.

Companies know their leaders will derail without high self-awareness and very strong communication and relationship skills, all of which exec coaching brings to the party. What more critical investment can a company make than into its leaders?

An executive coach is your sounding board for new ideas and approaches.

Without an effective sounding board at hand, most executives will tend toward old belief systems and what has worked for them in the past, regardless of the current situation. This is, of course, human nature; yet, when feedback received does not fit the executive’s self-concept, it is often rationalized, minimized, intellectualized and, finally, discounted. This allows for little motivation toward change or self-examination, often causing executives to become out of touch or challenged if their external world changes too much as they work their way higher on the ladder of success. Good coaches are not part of an exec’s “movie” so can see the big picture.

An executive coach provides the type of feedback needed to help you realize your own blind spots and offer alternatives.

Many people at the top of the corporate ladder develop inflations about their own performance; an inaccurate or unrealistic sense of their own performance. This is often ego-driven, yet can also be the expected result of success – again, human nature. The result of being stroked and sucked-up to is that the behavior patterns that limit a leader’s influence start to get bigger, or at least don’t get the attention they need. Few executives receive accurate feedback about their own leadership issues, until it’s too late for them to correct the problem and salvage their jobs. Good coaches are truth-tellers.

An executive coach provides the type of constructive criticism you may need to overcome persistent leadership issues to which you may otherwise be “blind.”

Leadership issues that may create a need for Executive Coaching include, but are not limited to:

  • Limited interpersonal skills.
  • A need for stronger executive presence.
  • Assumption of new responsibilities or roles.
  • Unclear future career goals.
  • Lost passion, meaning or fulfillment.
  • High-potential executives with a need to develop leadership skills for the future.
  • A good performance history that has taken a temporary slide.
  • A change in leadership, organizational design or stakeholders.

World class professionals in all fields have room to optimize. The biggest blind spot among male leaders is the lack of self-care and persistently “going it alone.” Although you can play hero or staunch independent by going it alone, it can also be a career-limiting, potential-limiting and fun-limiting path to go down. What edges or blind spots should you be working on?

Filed in: Work/Life Balance | Tags: , , , , , ,

About the Author (Author Profile)

Executive coach, top team facilitator, author and speaker. I work with individual leaders and their teams to help navigate personal and professional transitions and to increase leadership capacity and improve communication and relationship skills. I founded my coaching firm in 2001 following 12 years asa CEO. Check out more on me and my coaching process in my book "The Business of Wanting More: Why Some Executives Move from Success to Fulfillment and Others Don't"

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