Executive coaching is all about resolving specific business issues that Directors and Managers struggle with. Senior management teams often find themselves facing issues that can't be fixed with a training course. The purpose of a coach is to give them space and structure, to work through individual problems on an as needed basis. The fact that the coach operates independently from the business allows them to consider fresh perspectives.
The coach can help with a whole range of business problems, and here are some examples of the kinds of problem that can be resolved through coaching.
1. HOW CAN I CHANGE MY LEADERSHIP STYLE TO IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF MY SALES TEAM?
A coach will work with the manager to identify their current style, and why it might be impeding their relationship with their team. They'll enable them to determine what would motivate their teams, and what's stopping them from doing so. Most importantly a coach can give them a means of measuring their success and evaluating their progress in improving the performance of their team.
2. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO DEVELOP BETTER RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE REST OF THE EXECUTIVE TEAM?
Communication can be a big barrier to the effectiveness of senior teams. This is often true when a new member joins an established group. An executive coach can work with the team to identify weaknesses in communication and areas of improvement. They can then work with the individual to help them adjust their style to facilitate better working relationships. This can have significant benefits on the bottom line, since when teams have functioning relationships they perform better.
3. WHAT SHOULD I DO TO ENSURE WE MEET THE OBJECTIVES OF OUR BUSINESS STRATEGY?
Sometimes the end goal seems so at odds with our understanding of the business that we get pushed off course. This can happen to anyone at any time of their career, but is very common with senior level people who find it hard to relate their issues with more junior staff for fear of demoralising them. A coach can make the ideal sounding board for ideas and plans to deliver on business objectives. They offer a safe haven for the executive who can then work through their problem without making themselves feel insecure in front of others in the business.
4. MY 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK WASN'T GOOD, HOW CAN I IMPROVE ON IT?
The results of 360 degree feedback can sometimes be very painful for an individual. If the report isn't good they can subconsciously withdraw from their peers. A coach can help them work through their feedback in a positive way. This enables the participant to rid themselves of hurt feelings and concentrate on improving their situation. This is particularly important when it comes to staff retention. It's not always easy to handle harsh criticism (even if the criticism is completely fair) and senior figures have been known to start job hunting to avoid facing the same issues again.
Executive coaching offers your people a sympathetic ear and a highly practical approach to solve their problems and improve their performance. Good coaches clearly define the objectives of a coaching intervention, and demonstrate both progress and eventually success during the process. You should be able to quantify the benefits of all executive coaching activities and show a positive return on investment.