We define executive coaching as a hands-on, one-on-one process between an executive and an external coach. There are internal executive coaches and mentors, but we are referring to professional coaches hired from outside the organization to work with middle- to high-level executives. The process typically lasts between 3 months and 1 year, depending on the type of intervention needed, and consists of face-to-face developmental discussions aimed at performance improvement or developing particular competencies. The coaching is meant to be practical and goal-focused and may concentrate on further leveraging existing strengths, avoiding professional derailers or working through organizational issues like change initiatives.
Feedback - The Truth Shall Set You Free
At the heart of any effective coaching intervention lies a relationship of trust and honest, helpful feedback between the coach and executive. Coaches provide executives with feedback they may not get from those they work with. Coaching should assist people in discovering and embracing the truth about themselves, the good and the bad, so that they can change and grow. Too many people stay stuck and static in their personal and professional lives, repeating the same old patterns and mistakes, because they have a distorted view of who they are, and in the case of work, how they are performing. Unless people have a realistic view of themselves, especially their strengths and weaknesses, they can’t move to a new place and truly realize their potential.
Once the executive has been made more aware of his or her personal style and areas of needed development, it is the coach’s job to create a psychological or emotional environment where positive things can happen. It is the coach’s job to collaborate with the executive to set a limited number of well defined, performance related goals and then help the executive achieve them. The coaching should be targeted and practical, with measurable results.