Executive Coaching Questions & Answers

What are some common misconceptions about executive coaching?

  • Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior. If people are only coached when they do something wrong, then the objective of coaching is missed. The focus should be on what people are capable of doing and being, and then working toward that end. It’s about building not fixing.
  • Coaching is soft stuff. The leader or manager who avoids the soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard - the work is easy, it's the people that are difficult. Because people issues can be so challenging, the ill-equipped leader minimizes their importance and labels them soft or “touchy feely”.
  • Coaching is like therapy. Sometimes the coach and the executive being coached fall into the trap of treating the coaching as personal therapy. Rather than focusing on practical steps for improving the executive’s performance at work, sessions are devoted to examining family or relationship problems, other unresolved psychological challenges or even drug or alcohol addictions. These types of issues are usually beyond the scope of the coaching assignment and the qualifications of the coach and are best referred to a professional therapist, lawyer, etc.
  • Coaching is telling people what to do. People don’t usually learn from being told something. They learn best through self-discovery. When a coach tells an executive something, no matter how brilliant, it will most likely make a mild impression. However, when a person discovers something for themselves, it is more likely to have a profound impact. The coach’s job is to help the individual connect to a path that will take them to the answer, not to hand it to them.

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