Coaching is probably one of the most—if not the most—individually tailored practices in talent development as it involves a close and confidential relationship between the coach and the person being coached. Executive coaching involves a series of one-on-one interactions between a manager or executive and an external coach. The goal of coaching is to equip people with the knowledge and opportunities they need to develop themselves and become more effective. Behavior change is the goal of most executive coaching. Executive coaching is about assisting top executives, managers, and other identified leaders to perform, learn, stay healthy and balanced, and effectively guide their teams to successfully reach desired goals and exceed individual and corporate expectations.
- Types of Coaching
- Executive Coaching
- Role in Organizations
- Role of an Executive Coach
- Executive Presence
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Focus Areas
- Executive Coaching Services
- Executive Coaching Training
- Why Coaching Programs
- Coaching Programs
- Psychometric Assessments
- Executive Coaching and Facilitation
- Executive Coaching Solutions
- Transition Coaching
- Sales Coaching
- Cultural Coaching
- Cross Cultural Coaching
- For Leaders and Employees
- Strong Coaching Business
Coaching, in the simplest words, can be defined as the attempt by the coach to make a person realize and bring about the true potential of a person. The ultimate goal of coaching is to empower someone to ensure that he/she excels in her performance. In workplace coaching, the employee is provided with the skills, knowledge and tools needed to be an effective performer. Coaching benefits the employee which in turn will help the organization to attain its goals.
The practice of coaching is relatively young but is a big success across the globe. Hence, it is not surprising that more and more organizations are welcoming the practice whole-heartedly.
The conventional “command and control” technique does not seem to be working anymore in the organizations. The new era of workplace needs an approach to ensure creativity and excellent performance from resilient employees. It is also found that the skill to coach is a core competency of a leadership and management. Successful coaching empowers the employees with the ability of quick response to the rapid changes occurring in the business world. Finally, the training provided to the employees will last longer with an effective coaching accompanied with it.
A specialized unit of coaching is executive coaching, which is the practice of coaching, usually, high potential employee in order to help them with attaining a deeper understanding of the problems the organization as a whole is facing, unleash their potential, hit the goals and understand oneself better. An executive coach is not responsible for solving the client’s problems, but correct irrational assumptions. They refrain from giving advise as well. Companies often hire executive coach as an investment in their top executives.
Strengthscape an executive coaching and leadership development firm based in India, delivers services like executive coaching, leadership training and mentoring services to clients within the country and across the globe. With a capable work team of 25 professional coaches we employ scientifically proven activities and techniques to help our clients grow.
We assure you that our coaching program will result in you yielding the individual as well as the organizational benefits promised by an effective coaching process.
We employ a unique approach to coaching called the DANCE methodology which has been developed by Strengthscape’s team of certified coaches. The method ensures holistic, long-lasting positive results on the coach and the coached. The model attempts to instill qualities of coordination, cooperation, motivation, and self-determination in an individual.
Here is an overview of the model:
- Discovery is the first step of coaching, using the DANCE model, in which the coach and the coachee sit together to identify a mutually agreed upon purpose of the coaching journey.
- Awareness is aimed at enhancing the self-awareness of the coachee with the use of some questions and psychometric tests. The tools used are customized according to the need of the clients. It helps in understanding the gap between where the client is and where he/she /they want(s) to be.
- New strategy is the step at which the coach and the coached develop new or fine existing strategies to achieve the goals at a reasonable rate.
- The strategies are executed, and the progress is witnessed at the Combat
- The final stage of Elevate and Acknowledge is when the steps are completed, and the coached starts yielding the benefits of coaching and celebrates the success achieved by it. He or she acknowledges the organization and the team through better performance and relationship.
The use of activities, exercises and worksheets and constructive feedback is an important component of the DANCE methodology that makes the coaching journey interactive and developing.
Types of Coaching
Coaching, in the past decades, has been considered as a remedial effort to help the poor performers and put those employees who are struggling to find solutions to their issues back in track. But in the modern world, those are not the only possibilities of coaching.
Workplace coaching has several applications in today’s world. Coaching aimed at developing the high potential employees, especially the executives, is growing in importance. The focus of such coaching is to help them develop strategies for better productivity, deal with workplace anxiety and stress, realize their true potential and harness the best out of it. In the competitive business world, were hiring and placing the right talent is extremely important, coaching can help in aligning the values of the individual with that of the organization. The recent trend existing in organizations is that the managers put on the hat of a coach and mentor. This practice is helpful because the manager himself will know the strengths and weaknesses of his team, at the same time the likelihood of bias from the manager-turned-coach could ruin the essence.
Given the growth in the coaching industry since a decade now, coaching is not limited to workplaces anymore. It is being extended to various other areas such as life coach, performance coach, specialist coach, career coach, business coach, skills coach, etc. All these types of coaching lay emphasis on facilitating the clients with creative thought-provoking process. This enables the clients to make the right choices, inspire them, maximize their personal and professional strengths, and improve wellbeing and quality of life. However, each type of coaching is different from one another since each segment is unique in its own ways.
Consider the following instance, a spiritual coach facilitates the coachee in deriving his/her meaning for life and happiness, by providing strategies and concepts for successful spiritual journey and helps in finding the joy that can be beyond material success. Similarly, a divorce coach helps the coachee through the process of divorce. Here the coach is different from the lawyer who helps in getting the divorce. The divorce coach guides the client through course like co-parenting, coping strategies, embracing new life, facing challenges, adjusting methodologies for children and parents, etc.
Though divorce coaching and spiritual coaching are less prominent in India when compared to the West, executive coaching is a growing industry in the country. Many companies in US have made coaching as a part of their executive development, and the one that ranks the most is IBM. We at Strengthscape specialize in providing the many types of coaching interventions.
Strengthscape, an organization focused in learning and development, offers two types of coaching and mentoring services. Firstly, executive or corporate coaching is usually offered to corporate and senior professional as a part of people development initiatives. On the other hand, life coaching is for anyone who would like to make a change!
At Strengthscape, our asset is the 25 experienced professional coaches who have dealt with people from all walks of life. We, through our sessions, guarantee a change in the individual for the better. We provide individual as well as group coaching, both of which have their own merits and demerits.
Executive coaching is a mutually organized relationship between a professional coach and a “key contributor” who has a dominant position in an organization. The coaching is contracted for the benefit of the client who is responsible for complex decisions in the organization. Coaching is a strong means to enhance a leader’s ability to understand self. By forming a strong coach – client relationship, personal growth and organizational accomplishments are likely to occur. An executive coach is a qualified professional who works with executives to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, achieve their objectives and act as a sounding board.
They assist professionals at the workplace to help facilitate organizational changes. Executive coaching lays stress on helping individuals go from where they are, to where they want themselves and their organization to be. It not only enhances executive learning, but also strengthens relationships. The essence of executive coaching is helping leaders to transfer their learning into results for the organization. Thus, executive coaching increases leadership effectiveness, personal and improvements, and enhances reputation within the industry.
Executive coaching has become an asset that continues to yield an increasing return on investment for organizations. Just a few years ago, it was reported that America spent more than $1 billion a year investing in executive coaching for leaders (Source: Entrepreneur Magazine, 2015). It won’t be wrong to say that executive coaching works and is worth the investment. Now, the focus has shifted towards, not investing millions of dollars on professional development, but rather investing in high potential employees.
Corporate leaders who work with an executive coach can improve by having an experienced and responsible coach who escorts them with effective leadership, maximum achievement, and career development, in addition to identifying weak spots and obstructions. Executive coaching is a reciprocal relationship between a coach and a leader. In today’s fast-paced environment, high performing individuals are expected to possess keen technical skills and exhibit strong leadership. When business leaders make performance from leadership and responsibility, they are better established to make decisions, interact with and lead teams, and provide exceptional customer service.
They come in the whole and bring good and bad experiences, passion, strengths, challenges, emotions, habits and aspirations. We help you get the best from your people by not only leading them to the organizational goals but also helping them develop as individuals. In the end, it’s the collective brains that will impact the business. Every organization has a unique business environment and different areas of discomfort. That is why we like to begin by listening to your narration. And then by applying our thorough knowledge of anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, training methods and our long business experience, we compose and deliver some unique assistance.
Executive coaching has emerged as a highly effective tool in releasing the potential of individuals and thus enabling companies to boost their performance. At Strengthscape, we understand the critical role of a coach in boosting individual performance. Our highly experienced coaches produce rich coaching and corporate experience and enable individuals to reach their true potential gradually. We understand the complicated challenges faced by executives every day. Our executive coaching sessions support senior managers on a short-term basis as they struggle with complex changes within their organization.
Basic Framework of an Executive Coaching Process
Executive coaching process is usually carried out to bridge the gap between the company’s expectations from the executives and the resources available to help the executives meet the expectations through the development of the attributes and necessary skills. Each step of the process is often recommended to be specific and specialized according to the type of coaching, demands of the individual and the organization, as well as the interaction between the executive and the assigned coach (an important relationship). However, the process can adhere to the following basic framework:
The first step of the process is the preliminary data gathering stage or the otherwise described as Pre-program. The representative of the coaching company meets with the leader of the executive and the HR to discuss the reasons for hiring a coach. They discuss on the details pertaining to the background of the executive as well as the leader and the expectations of the HR. The expectations of the HR carry the objectives of the company that are to be availed in the executive.
The second step of executive coaching process is contracting, where the executive, manager, HR and the coach reach on a common agreement on the details of confidentiality, desired outcomes and measurement particularly outlining the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the engagements. The assessment process and the appropriate tools are determined. This step also includes the drafting of the letter of agreement. The developmental goals determined with the acknowledgement that they may be changed during the course too if the need arises.
The third step of the executive coaching process is where the coach determines the magnitude of the disparity between the prevailing and the expected level of performance as well as the client’s pattern of strengths and weaknesses. Before the assessment of the executive, the coach should determine whether process can or cannot be successful and worthwhile for all the parties involved. The suitable assessment tools are also recognized and ensured to be implemented appropriately for the appropriate executive so that the observer (coach) has an objective judgement of the executive’s performance.
The executive coaching process’s fourth step is feedback and development of an action plan. This stage involves the evaluation of the assessment tools, reviewing the relevant data and then devising a developmental action plan. The action plan leverages strength and addresses the executive’s developmental opportunities.
Coaching is the fifth step in the executive coaching process’s basic framework. This is recognized as the developmental sessions that are regularly scheduled. The intervals of the meetings depend on the nature of the assignment and the meetings should primarily be face-to-face. While it is supposed to be face-to-face, there may also be supplementary communications through email and phone.
The final step is closure and evaluation. This final executive coaching process is where the coach and the HR meet the leader to evaluate the developmental accomplishments against the discussed and finalised objectives.
It should be noted that though the contents and conversations of coaching are meant to be confidential, the developmental action plan as well as the key progress should be reviewed. At most, it can be shared with the supervisor so that progress can be tracked.
Purpose of Executive Coaching
What is executive coaching?
Executive coaching is a target oriented division of the learning development program. This process is focussed on training executives who have hail from diverse backgrounds of education and experience. Executive coaching provides a personalised learning experience, addressing challenges that are personal to the individual.
The purpose of executive coaching
There are two sides of defining the purpose of executive coaching. Firstly, the individual executive who is receiving the coaching is benefited and secondly this entire procedure ultimately benefits the organisation he is working on.
- Benefits of the executive: This is something similar to personal grooming. The executive coaching procedure is filled with techniques that help in identifying the goal areas of the executive and helps in creating a structure to achieving those goals. Coaching enables the coahee to create a personal action plan to address personal challenges. Since both the goals and solutions are created by the coachee, there is a higher buy-in and impact than a generic training program. Coaching can focus on a number of important qualities like punctuality.
Executive coaching is often done due to the gap between the expectation and reality in the job output from these executives. The coaching procedures are so planned that the executives receive an overall grooming session which includes sharpening their key skills while building some new and productive skills that the executives are able to adapt to in a short span of time.
- Benefits of the organisation: The organisation no doubt is highly benefited due to the well trained executives. The overall job performance and employee retention becomes higher than before. The employees scale new and better height. The overall position of the business firm is improved. This kind of investment brings in more fortune than probably that as expected. Executive coaching is designed to unleash the inner potential of people. So, it is always the best option to harness them.
The present status of executive coaching
Currently, a pretty remarkably lesser percentage of business firms take this kind of expenditure in a serious manner. This is remarkable because lack of systematically imparting education system in the business world is bringing down the possible success rates all across the globe.
Initiatives like executive coaching can help bridge the skill, knowledge and attitude gap. It provides an opportunity for continuous growth of executives, no matter how seasoned they are in the system.
The need for executive coaching
Executive coaching is a crucial part of the learning and development initiatives today. Executives are able to effectively align personal and organizational goals.
Besides, a continual learning procedure, executive coaching makes the work life a little better and keeps the employees away from the job monotony.
The executive coaches are so trained that they gain the ability to enable rectify the work related problems of the employees. Some of these common problems here may refer to the few instances that are inclusive of silo mentality. Such tiny rectifications lead to a better input from the executives.
Six Reasons to Utilize Executive Coaching Solutions
Executive coaching solutions can be described as the solutions proposed and prepared by coaches to tackle the problems in certain areas and to improve the quality of the coachee (executive leaders). Executive coaches provide solutions that would act as catalyst to challenge and support the coachee (executive leaders) in identifying their leadership skills and acknowledge the change that is required. These changes are ensured to be impactful and to be sustainable for a long period of a time. Some of the methods followed by executive coaching solutions are given below:
Executive coaching solutions place emphasis on ensuring that the coaches help coachee (executive leader) identify their area of problems or impasse through a structured questioning approach rather than the traditional method of directing or advising. Being self-directed is the most efficient way to learn, think, invent, solve problems, visualize, rethink and re-engineer. This is directed to help the coachee to form definitive ideas, regulate relationships between concepts and optimizing their thoughts.
Executive coaching services do not focus on just searching for the cause of the problem but is also about finding the best suited solution. It is about creating a vision towards an end goal and working towards that goal while simultaneously being focused on the solution. The focus is on positive change as opposed to deficit focused change. The first step is recognized as identifying the reason for coaching – as an amazing opportunity for growth, development, self-insight and career progression.
Executive coaching solutions focus on an approach that is directed towards positive reinforcement where the frequency of a desired behaviour is increased by increasing the favourable stimulus. That is, the solution is more focused to identify the verbal appreciation or such reinforcements that is found to be favourable to the coachee in order to increase the desired behaviour of the coachee. Positive feedback is found to act as a signal to the brain to perform more of something. The executive coaching solutions try to avoid pointing out what the coachees do wrong. Encouragement and support are seen to increase the coachees confidence and performance.
Executive coaching solutions believe that people work better when challenged and stretched. The term stretched is used to describe the ability to push people to their limits and help them exercise their potential to their fullest. These challenges and the stretch should be designed to be appropriate for each individual. When the coachees are stretched appropriately to think differently and perform actions that are different in nature help the coachees feel invigorated. This gives the coachees a chance to showcase their knowledge in different ways in order to develop their thinking along new lines.
Executive coaching solutions circle on the idea that increased responsibility is accompanied by heightened expectations. This entails preparing leaders for the next role in the stepping ladder of leadership while exploring their competencies and discover potentials shifts in their leadership styles. Executive coaching solutions aim to gear the leaders for their next roles while producing stand out results.
360-degree feedback and development planning
While practicing positive feedback is a method of executive coaching solutions, 360-degree feedback and the development planning managers and peers provide insightful feedback that enhances self-awareness of a leader, identify strengths and targets required development plans. This maybe facilitated by developing a customised 360-feedback process or by optimizing the organization’s existing feedback process.
Enhancing high potential performance
The current business environment demands rapid and accelerating change which compels leader to deliver results in the highest possible level. Executive coaching solutions also help the leaders excel and progress in their current roles. The substantial difference in the leadership is brought about through introspection, stakeholder feedback, development planning, ongoing coaching support and progress measurement.
Executive Coaching can be a great solution for HR-based practices and for developing the senior leaders.
Executive Coaching in Organizations
There are many different kinds of coaching available in the world. Coaching in itself has noted a significant rise in the past few decades. More and more people have understood the importance of coaching, be it of any kind, and have become more acceptable to involving coaches in their personal and professional lives. Professional coaching also includes various kinds of coaching within its umbrella, the most significant being executive coaching.
Executive coaching is a kind of leadership coaching that focuses on development, growth, and learning. It is primarily a partnership between the coach and the executive. It is mainly a one-on-one interaction format, unlike group coaching or team interaction sessions. It is preferred because it focuses on specific goals and detailed plans to achieve those goals. Mostly the management tier of an organization opts for such coaching techniques and it is because the most impactful decisions must be taken by the executive position holders.
It is unrealistic to expect an individual to have all the required qualities to take good decisions and lead an informed team, thus the need for such systematic coaching emerges. Coaches who guide executives are well-versed in organizational policies and the business environment. Mostly this coaching imbibes emotional intelligence, strategic management and analytical problem-solving. Executive coaches are more like a combination of a consultant and a guide who clarifies the goals for the managers.
Executive coaching also incorporates many personal aspects as executive coaches’ guide on emotional quotient and self-awareness. If a situation is chaotic and the manager is perplexed, coaches step in for guidance and support. It includes many behavioral assessments and feedback; psychometrics and other dialogue assessments are used for understanding and guiding the manager. This way, the connection between the coach and the manager is a confidential and private one.
The area of coaching is blooming with instability in the business environment and the rise of stress in the lives of all top-level executive positions of an organization. Such factors have given coaching an independent and significant status; although the career field is yet to be defined and structured. For now, certification and diplomas are the most productive means to earn recognition in any kind of coaching. The essential component for a career in executive coaching is the wide range of skills that a coach should master. Some of the important skills are –
- A certain level of human and business understanding
- Patience to analyze patterns and behaviors
- Aptitude to make correct predictions
- Counseling abilities to handle high-stress situations
- A genuine concern for the person and the organization
There are further many skills and abilities that a coach should have but they also differ based on the level of guidance and the level of management. Not all organizations opt for external and/or internal coaching but statistically, it has been proven that the organizations that invest in such coaching have a better growth curve and higher profitability. In the end, coaching is nothing but a means for the organization through which it can refine the skills of its executives and enhance the functioning of its workforce. This is the reason why executive coaching is preferred by the organizations and the managers themselves.
What to look for in an Executive Coach?
Any working official wants to have the qualities of self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, higher productivity and better working relationships. Executive coaching helps people learn the art of making a difference in their workplace.
Executive Coaching is an expert relationship between a coach and a coachee (the coachee here may be a group of people or an individual). Executive coaching is quickly developing nowadays and is being utilized more frequently for the advancement of workers in an organization.
There are various advantages of working with an executive coach. Executive Coaching helps:
- In discovering an employee’s capability and gaps in performance to improve their performance and lead their organization towards progress.
- re-evaluates your progress and determines the best steps to achieve the targeted objectives.
If you work hard with dedication and look forward to accomplishing high levels of achievement, then you need a coach to guide you with the learning procedure of changing your correspondence style. It will help you to emerge as a pioneer in your organization. With the right kind of leadership skills, your employees will be empowered with the motivation to accomplish incredibly improved results in business.
Strengthscape works at all dimensions of expert training, leadership as well as managerial coaching. Executive Coaching helps the employee to learn and improve, not just that, but in the long run it reflects in the profitability and development of the association. In the present business world, a lot is online, and learning via executive coaching could have the effect between working as a regular staff member or getting to become one of the pioneers in your association.
EXECUTIVE PRESENCE AT WORKPLACE
In its simplest terms, executive presence is the compilation of temperament, competency and skill along with one’s ability to inspire confidence in people so that they get the leader they want to follow and most importantly, amongst senior leaders that you have the potential for great achievements. Executive presence determines whether you gain access to opportunity in your career. With the right assessment tools, it can be measured and achieved. Based on the results of this assessment, it is entirely possible to learn how to leverage our existing strengths and address the important elements of executive presence that may be developed with expert coaching with time. It is a state of being in relation to others. It is a leadership and interaction relationship.
The Three Pillars of Executive Presence:
The following are the three pillars of executive presence that collectively create an aura that helps a leader make an impact:
- Our Style – Whether we like it or not, style must be similar to what people know and believe about us and our role in the company. If there is conflict between our style and people’s expectations, people can label us to be ineffective. It is important to respect a person’s underlying substance and character.
- Substance – It is made up of our social presence and demeanor. They convey an overall image of maturity, a capacity to bring one’s virtues into play as a leader. When leaders have substance, they are believed to be wise, more composed and confident as well as strategic to the needs and concerns of the stakeholders. If leaders have style and not substance, they may be perceived as ‘half-skilled’.
- Good Character – Character means the personal traits and values that define us. Character is who we are from the standpoint of values, temperament and beliefs or just life in general. Character is the most fundamental level of the leader as a person.
Key steps to building an Executive Presence at the Workplace:
Here are some key steps to building and enhancing executive presence:
- Proper Articulation of the Vision – One of the most important parts of inspiring confidence is having a compelling vision and a well-conceived notion to accomplish. It should be appropriate in scale for one’s seniority.
- Good Understanding of Others Perception – People with excellent executive presence are well aware of how they are perceived by others. That is important because as one ascends to more senior levels, the reliability on others for our effectiveness increases.
- Building Good Communication Skills – Good leadership is all about good communication and people with great executive presence are excellent communicators. The key is to get feedback on communication and investing the time in building the skills.
- Presenting Good Etiquette – There are rules for understanding business etiquette and respecting those rules. They present one as gracious, generous and thoughtful.
- Understanding your Tone – we can control the way others receive our messages by controlling our pace, tone and volume. Maintaining a clear, pleasant and confident tone is very important.
Benefits of Executive Presence to the organization:
Elaborated below are the main benefits of executive presence for any organization:
- High Quality and Efficient End Results – Executive presence enables others to put all their efforts into a collective goal. The person playing the lead role of any group exercises his or her executive presence to work in a way that is contagious towards the other members too.
- Improved Work Relationships – Achieving goals and excelling in them when it comes to producing the desired output is one thing, but making room for both the professional and personal growth of each individual while working together is another dimension. A leader is an individual that has a direct influence on how everyone works with one another.
- Effective Communication – Productivity is built on honesty. Communication is more than simply a transfer of information. It is necessary that members of an organization feel the freedom to share their honest feedback with each other. Executive presence is the mastery of both intimate and public speaking skills.
Few leaders talk openly about their core values and guiding purpose of life. Our executive presence depends on how we can communicate our intentions and our purpose, as well as how we spend our energy and zeal. People need to step out of their comfort zones and be more expressive about their intentions, feelings and values. Finding the right balance of humanity and competency, reaching out to others and expressing empathy, always leads to stronger executive presence.
Executive Coaching Topics
Executive coaching deals with that strata of the executive psychology that helps in grooming the skills of executives and shaping them up in order to make them absolutely ready for a step up in the business that they are working for.
In this article we are going to discuss some of the important topics that are generally covered as a part of the executive coaching program.
So, what are the general topics that are common for most of the executive coaching programs?
Primarily there are three basic areas of professional development through executive coaching.
- Early Executives Planning for Kick-starting Career – Coaching for early executives focusses on enabling them to cope with a corporate environment. The coaching goals at this stage may typically focus on planning & prioritizing, corporate etiquette, goal setting, stakeholder management and personal branding. The coach at this stage needs to focus on sensitizing the coachee to corporate environment and enable them to adapt to changes and excel in performance.
- Mid Executives for Career Development – For executives at the mid-level, the focus can be on catapulting career growth. This is also the stage where most executives move to people management, in early days people management can be extremely challenging. Coaching can focus on dealing with role change and learning the art of people management. Balancing task and people orientation can be a challenging aspect for most executives at this stage and should be addressed in coaching.
- Senior Executives for Leadership Development – At the senior executive level, the focus shifts from management to leadership. Many executives struggle with strategic thinking, risk taking, building alignment and ensuring execution of vision. The focus of leadership coaching then is to enable executives to display the right leadership behaviors and spearhead the organizational growth.
Some other focus areas of executive coaching generally are:
- Change Management – Change management is a critical focus area of executive coaching. Change management is critical to success at any stage of the career. Many coaching interventions are designed to enable executives to deal with change effectively.
- Be a Better Listener and a Good Speaker – Communication skills are at the crux of professional success. Two pillars of communication skills are being an active listener and a good communicator. Both these aspects can be developed through executive coaching at any stage in the career of an individual.
- Being a Good Team Player and Supervisor – An executive should be a good team player with a congenial attitude as well as a good supervisor whenever he is required to direct his team. Teamwork is essential for success in the workplace. Coaching can address teamwork by ensuring that people connect with each other well, are able to build rapport and align to team goals rather than only working on individual goals.
- Balancing Work Life with Family Life – This is of great importance both aspects are critical for any individual. Lack of balance in this aspect is more likely to cause damage on either family or work life. Since coaching takes a “whole-person” approach to development, personal goals need to be addressed in executive coaching as well.
Executive Coaching and Mentoring
It happens so often that the terms executive coaching and mentoring are used alternatively but they are rather different from one another.
Executive coaching equips an individual to deal with confidently and completely with critical near-term issues, aid you to perfect leadership and management skills and is also said to focus on the needs that were recognized in the 360-degree review that was conducted by the coach, the company or an external agent. The focus of an executive coach is on the short-term outcomes. It is designed to achieve the optimum results in a minimum amount of time. Executive coaches are also said to motivate, inspire and encourage while insisting the clients are in lieu with their priorities and objectives.
Executive mentoring deals with a broader aspect in comparison to executive coaching. Unlike executive coaching, mentors help their clients with the immediate as well as long-term goals that stretch well into the future. Executive mentoring focuses on teaching an individual to how to execute or impart wisdom in using their skills. Mentors provide their assistance in a range of activities that range from personal to professional to ensure their client’s growth and development.
Efficient functioning of executive coaching and mentoring ensures that employees are provided a platform to learn, connect and grow within the company and to get a boost for their career paths. The significance of executive coaching and mentoring is as states below:
Executive coaching and mentoring promote loyalty. This sense of loyalty towards the company or organization develops as commitment and connection felt by the mentees when the mentors help them provide opportunities and mould their careers. Positive work experience is encountered when the employee feels comfortable with the management encourages open communication and this is carried out by executive coaching. The money spent on continual recruitment and training of replacement employees is eliminated.
The expertise and knowledge of the experienced employees results in a better efficiency as this may aid the younger and fewer employees to learn the methods of the organization. Executive coaching and mentoring may further guide the employees in become well versed of the expectations of the organization. Coaching, and the boundaries of a trusted and confidential relationships provides a platform for the employees to resolve their issues and concerns. This acts as a benefit to the organization as it aids in the reduction of frustration on a personal level and improves the individual’s job satisfaction.
Apart from providing individual focus on the employee, executive coaching and mentoring improve the functions of the team, department and the entire organization. As the managers receive executive coaching and mentoring, it helps them identify the weaknesses and strengths of each of their employees. This is so that even when the employees take request vacation or take a sick day, the organization can capitalize on the resources available to ensure that the entire team works efficiently.
Therefore, we can see that executive coaching and mentoring can provide an array of benefits for the any kind of organization. Thus, the implementation of executive coaching and mentoring in an organization can become an excellent contribution to ensure the overall development of the individual employee as well as the organization.
Executive Coaching Services and their Focus Areas
Executive coaching services aid the leaders develop their skills and strategies so that they can accelerate their impact and increase the value they provide to the company or organization. With the combination of individual’s urge to improve and the company’s belief that the improvement is required is what disposes the individual to such services. Executive coaching services offered differs from one organization to another. These services are offered for the purpose of better communication in the workplace with fellow team member, a boost of confidence, better work-life balance, quicker decision making and a better understanding of time-management. The executive coaching services maybe customised to enhance and strengthen a client’s executive presence. The services are better to be customised as executive coaching aims to improve a client’s presence and each individual is different.
Some services revolve around leadership, some for corporate growth and so on. On the whole, there are around 40 focus areas that executive coaching services concentrate on and aim to improve. Out of these 40, there are around 5 areas that are more or less consistent:
Knowledge and use of self
This focus area is defined by the profound understanding of one’s essential attributes: values, strengths, weaknesses or their identity. This further aid the client to dispense their attributes to climb the ladder in their corporate life and can contribute more to the company.
Executive coaching services zero in on this focus area particularly as it is described as the art of employing words effectively to impart their ideas and knowledge appropriately in a workplace. This focus area concentrates on helping the client exchange thoughts, knowledge and information to be more functional and potent in contributing to the team or the organization.
Impact and influence
This is looked as the ability to determinate and impart an objective or concept that reels in support from fellow employees. Executive coaching services concentrate on this ability to think analytically and then communicate efficiently with the awareness of context and understanding of other’s style, knowledge and interest. This area helps the services to aid the executive to influence the individuals in their surroundings.
Executive coaching services place emphasis on goal setting as it helps with meeting the objectives. The goal is usually accompanied with a deadline and is aimed to be specific, measurable and compelling. This goal and its characteristics are vital in an organization to meet its objective. Hence it is viewed as a focus area.
Partnering for performance and clear agreements
Partnering for performance is described to be an alliance or agreement among individuals or groups that are distinguished by cooperation, mutual understanding and responsibility to achieve or reach a certain specific fixed goal. Executive coaching services concentrate on partnering for performance as a focus area because it improves the functioning of people as an individual and as a team for the betterment of the organization. This helps regulate job satisfaction if executed properly.
Clear agreements are described as clearly defined regulations or understanding pertaining to the distribution of work and responsibility among the group of individuals.
Other focus areas that executive coaching services offer and divulge into are women leadership coaching, senior management coaching, top talent coaching, first time manger coaching as these areas are gaining more importance and prominence.
Executive Coaching Services
Executive coaching has become an increasingly effective way of ensuring development of people in organizations. While in the past, executive coaching focused on senior leaders, more and more organizations are bringing the young executives into the fold of executive coaching. A critical benefit that executive coaching has over classroom training programs is, personalization of learning and voluntary goal setting – it is these two benefits that make executive coaching a sought after development initiative.
As Redshaw 2000, p. 106 reads, “More an individual is involved in identifying problems in working out and applying solution for them and in reviewing the results the more complete and more long lasting the learning is. This form of self-learning tends to bring about learning with a deeper understanding than learning that is taught”.
Furthermore, Redshaw 2000, p.107 reads,
“Coaching is very different than teaching or instructing. It is best described as facilitating. The coach encourages the learner to learn for him/herself….as well as acquiring new job competencies, the learner gradually develops new and more effective learning skills. He/she becomes a proactive learner, capable of learning almost any experience encouraged”.
Executive coaching services comprise of a few categories and they are inclusive of having a mentor, an industrial psychologist as a counsellor and a consultant for identification of problems.
Clearly, the first step to coaching is to identify the development needs and goals of the coachee. The coach lends his/her expert advice and offers ideas on how to achieve the goals.
This not only aids in the improvement of the performance of the individual, but also of the entire organisation that the executive is working for.
The coach plays an important role in this process. He /she is responsible for implementing the skills and developing them in best possible ways. The coach is not a technical subject-matter expert, but a steward of the coaching process who enables the coachee to identify and define action points for achieving goals. It is the discretion of the coach to choose the right methodology for coaching so that the coachee gets the maximum possible benefits in the least possible time.
The Executive Coaching Forum has described four common types of executive coaching services and they are:
- Feedback and Debriefing or Development Planning: This is of course an individual oriented program. The entire feedback of the program is usually gathering for reconstructing it in a better way. Also, as the name suggests, the results are debriefed and further developed. This is generally a short term program and is focused on improving certain qualities of an individual who has been subjected to this kind of coaching.
- Career Coaching: This type of coaching provides a special edge to the profession of the client. It motivates and directs the executive towards his correct field. He/ she recognizes his own potential and subjects of expertise and works accordingly. This kind of approach helps in attaining maximum benefits. It is very important to identify one’s own skills first.
- Target Content Coaching: This kind of coaching imparts some kind of advanced level of learning along with the proper development of skills. Time management, proper delivery of presentations along with writing and addressing skills are also mastered en route this kind of coaching.
- Personal and Life Coaching: This kind of coaching is individual oriented as well. It aims in improving personal awareness of an individual.
Executive Coaching Training
Executive coaching certifications are of course exclusively designed for the purpose of training coaches in the art of coaching. Executive coaching has grown to become a critical element of learning and development initiatives across organizations. It is this need that has made coach training the need of the hour. Numerous coach certifications and training programs are available to guide coaches in the art of coaching.
Who are executive coaches?
Executive coaches are professionals who undertake coaching for working professionals. Coaching is done to enhance the performance of the professionals or to address specific pain areas in performance. Executive coaches are specifically trained in the coaching process and are generally hired to provide personalised learning interventions. Coaches are not necessarily subject matter experts, they are experts in the coaching process and therefore guide the coachee in arriving at the solutions rather than providing solutions themselves.
How are executive coaches trained?
Executive coaches undergo a training program where they are taught the ways and procedures of the coaching keeping minute details in consideration. There are recognised institutes in charge of imparting such education programs. Coaching training programs are usually certificate courses. , They offer deep insights into the coaching process and try to address common issues faced by coaches in the coaching journey.
Executive coaching training provides insights on:
- Clarifying the meaning of coaching
- Describing the process of coaching
- Clarifying the role of the coach and coachee
- Providing tools and techniques for effective coaching
- Addressing coaching dilemmas
- Clarifying ethical questions in coaching
- Providing insights on understanding human behaviour
- Enabling the coach to flex based on the demand of the situation and the coachee
Why is the proper training of executive coaches important?
An executive coach is responsible for identifying the issues and challenges faced by the coachee and create a structure to arrive at viable solutions.
These ‘best possible’ ways of mending vary from person to person and from client to client in this case as the word ‘best’ is absolutely a relative term. It differs from case to case. A coach is required to tailor the coaching approach based on the requirement of the coachee. This flexibility can be developed through a coach certification training.
All the above mentioned reasons put together form the basis of the importance of the executive coaching training program.
It completely depends on the coach on how he will handle a particular situation. Therefore, he needs a thorough training in this regard.
What is the importance of executive coaches in the lives of their clients?
Coaches are people who ensure continued learning for professionals. Every professional is sometimes faced with dilemmas that cannot be answered alone. A coach plays the role of a sounding board and guide who can help professionals navigate through the tough questions that come to us often.
Well executed executive coaching interventions have proved to positively impact retention of employees and their overall job performance. Many organizations today look for an internal pool of certified coaches for a continuous engagement with employees.
Coaching can also help align personal goals of professionals with the strategic growth of the organization.
A Short Insight of Executive Coaching Programs
Executive coaching programs are for individuals who look to develop their coaching skills to apply them to organizations. The programs are described to be a practical experience. They are programs that are formulated to help the leaders of tomorrow set a goal, devise a plan to achieve the goal, get an elusive upgrade of one’s self through a blend of knowledge, action and image-building, enhance influence throughout the leadership team, yield more outcome from one’s team, ensure to be more productive and earn a reputation in the company as an indispensable leader and performer. Each executive coaching programs would definitely differ from one another and offer different services catering particularly to the needs of the individual looking forward to enhance their skills. The services offered would differ as one program cannot encompass the improvement of all the skills.
The main elements required for the executive coaching program to be effective is the attitude of the individual towards the program as their cooperation and enthusiasm results in maximum learning. The results of an executive coaching program can be reaped as well as rewarded with new knowledge and sharpened leadership skills regardless of the nature of the program, such as a stand-alone program or if they are a part of the management training courses.
A major problem arises in the understanding of the purpose and importance an executive coaching program and how it would help the individual. The information mentioned below helps in the elimination or minimization of many such arising conundrums as well as gives a clear insight to the objectives of an executive coaching programs.
A professional executive coaching program provides more of an objective or impartial feedback on the management skills and leadership styles in a supportive environment. Supportive environment reflects the approach of the executive coaching program that ensures to provide constructive and effective feedback to improve the leadership and management skills without resorting to a negative attitude.
An effective executive coaching program should ensure the imparting of leadership skills beyond charisma. Though charisma plays an important role, it shouldn’t be confused with leading an organization, mobilizing their team as well as bringing about a change with authority and conviction. As each individual is different form the other, it is important to develop such leadership skills through observation, guidance and leadership exercises that enhance individual’s unique and authentic leadership skills.
As you climb the ladder with coaching, it needs to be understood that it comes with greater challenges and risks. The executive coaching program needs to focus on ensuring to train the executives to overcome these hurdles and rise to the occasion. An executive coaching program also helps a functional manager seeking to take up leadership roles or a leader aiming to shift to general management.
In addition to the leadership and management skills, executive coaching programs aim to improve one’s understanding of the human dynamics. This permeates to effective negotiation and conflict management skills that helps an individual become a better leader. The expert coach can improve your power of persuasion and improve your ability to vocalise clear strategy, implantation of the change and to motivate others.
Executive Coaching Training Programs
Executive coaching training programs are often arranged by organisations to enable employees to excel to the next level. Besides hiring executives coaches from specialised organizations, there are in-house coaches as well who are trained in executive coaching.
The professional organisations offer external coaches. They are responsible for the three aspects comprising of mentoring, counselling and consulting.
They take care of the psychological as well as the job factors and design coaching interventions accordingly. External coaches usually have their own way of reaching their target that might be a little different from the in-house coaches.
In-houses coaches are preferable at times owing to a number of reasons. First of all, they get an opportunity to observe their clients in their day to day activities. This further helps the industrial psychologists in giving their statements for the executive coaching program when they have been subjected to for the same.
Furthermore, in- house coaches get the opportunity to opt for flexible timings. This helps the executive in coping with their day to day work pressure along with the pressure of this additional education. This system helps in balancing the pressure of their work life on the whole.
Besides, this system is cost effective. It is economically highly beneficial. The executive coaches are the recruits of the business firm itself in which the executives are working.
However, there are advantages and disadvantages of every system. Similarly, this system also has a number of disadvantages.
The disadvantages of this system is that it seems to be slightly laid back as the coach tries to balance the schedule of the executive coaching program with the work pressure of his client. This further increases the timing for the completion of the entire program. Hence, time management is not really being stressed on in most of the cases. Of course, there are exceptions; however this is the most probable case.
Another major disadvantage of internal coaching is that social networking is hampered. Executives do not get an opportunity to know other executives and gain a broader perspective from the experience of an external coach. This is always a good way of knowing what is going on in other companies.
These disadvantages are curbed down in cases where the executives are sent to professional institutions. In this case, network gains a good priority. However, this is a costlier process for the business firm, but there are a lot of benefits to this process. Besides, time management gets a priority as well.
Types of coaching
- One to One Coaching: This is beneficial than the other process. This coaching is aimed at individual coaching which is of course a priority in this competitive world. In this case, the individual problems and best skills are identified and they are sharpened accordingly. The psychology of an individual is judged at all stages of the program and the executives gain a better grooming.
- Group Coaching: Although, this is a rarely used, group coaching can be used to address aspect of teamwork. Group coaching can help in building cohesive teams. Another area where group coaching is used when the challenges and goals of coachees are similar. Coachees can learn from each others’ experience and understand common problems. The challenge with group coaching is that people might not open up in a group and that’s why we see one-to-one coaching is being more popular.
Executive Coaching and Psychometric Assessments
As Executive Coaching gains popularity, it is only appropriate to investigate how one can make the coaching process effective, objective & predictable and coaching relationship trustworthy.
Here, we discuss the application of Psychometric Assessments in the coaching relationship and delineate how to make it effective. By applying a reliable and valid tool, coaches can gain a deeper understanding of the behavioural preferences, strengths and challenges of the coached thereby influencing the way they approach the coaching process.
We shall explore the following types of Psychological Testing
- Cognitive Ability
- Vocational Interest
- Personality Traits & Behavioural Preferences
Cognitive ability or scholastic aptitude is a good indicator of job success and trainability of an individual. While cognitive abilities influence may vary based on the level, complexity of job and job setting, the overall relationship between cognitive thinking and job performance is pretty much agreed across a broad spectrum of psychologists and psychometricians.
By establishing the attributes required for job success, such as conscientiousness for an accounting job or extraversion or agreeableness for sales job, and then using a reliable tool to measure as the coachee’s preference for the same, a coach can establish the areas that require development and areas where they can expect maximum engagement in a coaching relationship.
Vocational, value and need based assessments are typically not a reliable indicator of job performance. However, they could predict long term interest and choice of occupation with fair bit of reliability. By using an occupational interest inventory in a coaching engagement, the coach can assist in the process of job change, and occupational choices the coached makes.
Personality traits and Behavioural assessments measure a person’s response to situations and environment. The data is usually presented in the form of a pattern. Being a pattern, personality traits and behavioural styles are neither right nor wrong. They predict the likely response of a person in various situations based on previous such responses.
A good application of Psychometrics in coaching is from the perspective of enabling the coachee understand their relative strengths, preferences and challenges in a group.
There may be various groups an individual may identify with such as a team reporting to the same manager, or team of salespeople or even new joiners in an organization. By bringing awareness of the relative strength a person has, the coach can enable an individual to make appropriate choices for career development and progression. Sometimes, the coachee may be constrained by their own knowledge and the coach’s knowledge of career options they can make. By deploying appropriate psychometric assessments, both the coach and the coachee can broaden their perspective of the options available for career development and progression.
As coaching relationships require significant investment of time, effort and money, it is important to focus on the most relevant drivers of success for the journey. By using a psychometric assessment, the coach can verify and build on the feedback received from the management, behavioural interviews and direct observations to provide objective and reliable feedback to the coachee. This can not only save time and effort but also make the entire process of providing feedback reliable. It enhances a coach’s credibility and removes biases that may seep in during the coaching process.
Another advantage of psychological testing is that it can be a good indicator of the success of a coaching journey. By testing and retesting, psychological aspects such as values, needs and motivation, coaches can determine the benefits a coachee may be deriving from the coaching engagement. A point to note here is that personality driven preferences such as extraversion or accommodativeness may not be influenced by a short-term coaching journey.
While every coaching journey is unique and targeted into the needs and aspirations of a coachee, it is possible to enrich the journey using reliable and valid Psychometric assessments.
Executive Coaching and Facilitation
To understand executive coaching and facilitation we need first understand coaching and facilitation. A coach asks questions and listens while providing 1: 1 counselling. A process of discovery is used to help one navigate their strengths and opportunities. The results are unique to each client although the process entails the use of specific tools and techniques. A facilitator helps in guiding conversations and meetings to get the desired results. To facilitate means to make an action or process easy or easier. Thereby a facilitator leads the meetings, panel discussions, focus group discussions while others have certain techniques that they have been trained and licensed to deliver.
The following reasons maybe stated for why organizations opt for executive coaching and facilitation:
- It has been declared as one of the best methods to find expertise for programs, projects and people which is not required for day-to-day deliver.
- The organization receives an important third-party perspective that comes without any biases.
- Executive coaching and facilitations experiments with techniques that are new and different like Design Thinking.
- The organizations can hire the experts required in a particular areas.
- It has been established that this is a more cost effective and reasonable. Sometimes it is better to test out a strategy and see its effectiveness rather than applying a long-term strategy which will cost more money for application.
Executive coaching and facilitation is opted out by communication professionals for the following reasons which have been commonly observed:
- For the satisfaction and the feeling of fulfillment that comes with teaching skills where you uncover potential and teach people to listen and contribute simultaneously.
- While the in-house trainers, coaches and facilitators fill the role of internal consultants, external consultants enjoy and admire the variety of problems that requires their assistance to be solved.
- This is seen as a flexible career where one has the opportunity to fix their own schedule. They can work as much as they want or as little too. If one is a parent or a caregiver, your schedule is more flexible to accommodate time for your family or kids. This is jus one example.
- The individual can focus on area of interest and expertise while working with a sense of passion. One can showcase their expertise in an area and as long as there is a market for it, the individual can focus on what they love.
Some of the struggles of executive coaching and facilitation are:
- One is required to constantly market thy self to ensure that they have steady flow of work.
- There are new techniques being introduced almost everyday and one is required to be updated with the latest and popular techniques among them. It is advised to stick to one’s own area of expertise while carrying this out.
Some pieces of advice provided commonly for executive coaches and facilitators are:
- Identifying an area of expertise is very important so that one does struggle doing everything half-baked.
- Credentials and certification is quite helpful and professional training in a particular area improves one’s market value.
- The entire process should be executed with a particular methodology. In other words, there should be modules, workshops and templates and most of them are evolved and developed through delivery and expertise.
- It should be considered as intellectual property and this should work both ways. Proper credit should be given when using someone else’s data, methodologies and other people’s ideas. Similarly, you can package your data, methodology and ideas for a particular licensing fee tobe used later.
Executive Coaching Tools
Coaching being a personal and goal driven intervention requires use of various tools to enhance the effectiveness of the journey and create a long-lasting change. Executive coaching tools need thorough preparation. These tools are chosen by experienced professionals in their respective fields of expertise.
The tools need to be tailor-made for each coaching journey since the requirement of each intervention is different. Having said that some common tools can be used for similar interventions.
The other important factor on the selection procedure of these executive coaching tools is the impact of the tools on the client of the coach who is the executive of the business firm. This of course is determined based on some series of assessments that have been designed in a scientific manner.
The various tools that can be used for high-impact coaching interventions are:
- Assessments – Assessments can be conducted in various stages of the executive training program. This completely depends on the required outcome, which in turn is completely dependent on the problem areas of the client that has been recognised . Various psychometric assessments like DISC can be used as part of behavioral coaching. These tools help in enhancing self-awareness of the coachee and provide key insights into probable behavioral strengths and challenges.
- Study Materials – The study materials are also prepared on the basis of the first basic assessment that has been conducted in the beginning of the executive coaching program. The study materials may consist of theoretical knowledge as well as some practical and real life case studies. Case studies are helpful because they sight real incidences and the various ways the solution has been attained. This basically refers to the experiences of successful professionals. The experiences aren’t always of great taste, but the bitter taste has always led to fruitful results. Such reading material can encourage new ideas and thoughts in the coachee.
- Audio Visual Resources – Audio visual resources in coaching add a new dimension to learning. This has been observed in many cases that visually imparted knowledge is better retained in the mind than the normally addressed ones. Inspiring videos that address that specific needs of the coachee are a great source of motivation and change.
- Seminars or Webinars – This is also the discretion of the coach and his idea of giving his best to his job. Attending suggested webinars and seminars can broaden the horizon of the coachee. Such tools also keep the coachee engaged between the coaching sessiona and enhance the learning.
- Worksheets – Coaching is a reflective exercise where the coachee arrives at action plan for various goals as outlined by him/her. Worksheets that ask thought provoking questions and provide a structure for reflection in those areas are an effective way to nudge the coachee to arrive at an action-plan. Worksheets should be created with a great deal of reflection to address the specific needs of the coache.
Coaching interventions do not require the coach to be a subject-matter expert. The coach is the master of the structure. This is the reason various tools are used by coaches to enhance the learning of the coachee and ensure that learning is relevant and engaging. Such learning tools help in making the structure of coaching highly effective for the coachee.
Executive Coaching Techniques
Executive coaching techniques are employed to yield maximum productivity of the individual as well as the company. They aim to ensure the recognition of the employee’s potential in the workplace, develop the leadership skills, provide constructive criticisms, provoke introspections and reflection along with other responsibilities that help the employees contribute and become more valuable in nature.
Executive coaching techniques are also supposed to improve the communication of the employee which acts as a major requirement in the case of leadership qualities. It needs to be understood that executive coaching techniques are dependent on the executive coaches and also on the area where the organization requires growth.
A learning and development roundtable study (Corporate Executive board) recognized the top five growing and investment areas from 2005 to 2006 as the following soft skills:
- Leadership Skills (40%)
- People Management Skills (35.7%)
- Job-Specific Skills (28.6%)
- Customer Service Skills (21.4%)
- Technology Skills (21.4%)
More than half the organizations displayed an increase in the employment of coaching services to work on the improvement of such skills and there was also a display of increased spending on coaching as well as mentoring. This shows that executive coaching techniques are vital to enhance such skills and improve the quality of the employee.
Executive coaching techniques varies according to the country, the person (coach) and other such variable factors that are more likely to influence the best outcome. However, some of the common techniques that were narrowed down on by some of the coaches were reflection, guided practice, appreciative inquiry, assessment and feedback.
Appreciative inquiry is a change management approach that aims to identify what is working well, analysis of the reason to why it’s working well and ensure the repetition of this work for efficiency. A coach who works with middle level managers claimed that they lay heavy emphasis on appreciative enquiry as it bridge the gap of the clients past success to the future action.
Some of the specific executive coaching techniques used might also encompass the use of mental models, inclusion of others as a part of coach initiative, finding mentors or even role playing. Role playing is a technique that has gained some importance as it helped the coachees identify their strengths and weaknesses from another person’s perspective.
Some coaches prefer certain instruments (Benchmark, Myers-Briggs), models (Assessment-Challenge-Support) or framework (Hofstede, Trompenaars, Edward T. Hall) to support as executive coaching techniques. The above mentioned specifics are mostly subjective to the coach. These instruments better the work of coaching as they are standardized. However, it is only opted by some coaches and is not a vital technique that is adapted even by most coaches.
Some of the small executive coaching techniques that contributes to the final required outcome are characterized by being extremely conscious of the timeframe trying to cover as much ground as possible and ensure that the material is conveyed effectively to the coachees. Another technique that is found to be effective for most coaches is a list on a flipchart to summarize the entire session and then discuss collectively while the focus is on the coachees answers.
From these techniques, we can conclude that executive coaching techniques is highly dependent on the coach and the techniques itself are subjective to the coachees as well the objective of the executive coaching training.
Executive Coaching Workshops
Executive coaching workshops are designed to train coaches in the process of coaching to enable them to be effective. Coaching is a specialised branch of learning that is designed to address individual challenges of executives in a structured manner. Coaching differs from mentoring in that it does not require a subject matter expert to take on the role of a coach, but rather an individual who is trained in the coaching process.
Executive coaching workshops are designed to provide insights on the coaching process, the role of the coach & coachee and tools & techniques that enable the coaching journey.
Examples of some topics addressed in coaching workshops are:
Diagnosis of personal talents:
This kind of workshop is aimed at identifying the personal potential and individual talents. This is generally led by experienced professionals. The possible outcomes that might be expected after the coach has successfully attended the entire workshop are:
- Enhance the coach’s ability to identify personal potential will of a coachee;
- The coach will have a better understanding of his/her role in the coaching journey;
- This workshop also introduces the coach to the major behavioral theories and tools that can help in identifying personal traits of a coachee.
Revisiting goals and history:
It is important to know the previous goals of the cochee and how they have been achieved earlier by him/her. The workshop guides the coach in various factors of goal-setting in a systematic manner. While the actual goal-setting is done by the coachee, the coach is responsible for the process and creating the right conversations that will aid in goal-setting.
Since coaching is a process-driven intervention, it is critical for a coach to understand the coaching process. Typically the process would include stages like:
- Rapport Building – As a first step it is important for the coach to build the right rapport with the coachee. Being a high trust relationship, it is important for the coachee to feel comfortable with the coach.
- Discovery – As the second step, it is important for the coachee to arrive at goals for the coaching journey. The coach needs to have the right structure to enable this conversation and ensure that the goals are both challenging and achievable.
- Strategy – The coach then needs to enable the coachee to arrive at the right strategy for achieving the goals. The buy-in for the strategy is higher if the coachee decides on it, the coach needs to act as a guide in this stage.
- Review – This is the stage where the coach plays the most critical role of ensuring that the coachee implements decided action plans. Holding the coachee accountable to ensure commitment is followed through is a critical role of the coach.
- Motivation – The coach continuously motivates the coachee to ensure the goals are met and the coachee moves a step higher in the professional environment.
Tools & Techniques:
Coaching workshops are also designed to equip coaches with the tools and techniques to design and deliver effective coaching interventions. These tools and techniques include:
- Communication skills
- Ethical dilemmas in coaching
- Listening skills
- Questioning skills
Executive coaching workshops are very important in providing training in the coaching process.
Executive Coaching Solutions
Executive coaching solutions refer to coaching interventions that are designed to provide specific solutions for executives in a particular business firm. The coaching solutions are designed to address challenges faced by the executives – the need can arise either from the executive himself/herself or from the organization.
Each coaching solution should de designed to address the specific needs and this makes each coaching journey unique. This is mainly sorted out by experienced coaches come into the picture – these are coaches who make coaching a customised experience.
Coaches can design these personalised solutions by observing the behaviour and habits of employees in a particular business firm. Coaches should have the potential to highlight the problem areas of every individual employee and attain the best possible solution to rectify them.
Executive coaching solutions should consider the following elements:
- Work with Strengths – Each coachee comes from a different background of education, experience and skills. The first step of an effective coaching solution is to identify the strengths of the coachee. The strength areas should be sharpened while inventing new possible key areas that might be helpful for them.
- Identify Challenges – Enable the coachee to identify problem areas. Most often the a coachee may be aware of certain professional challenges they face, the undertake coaching to help with these areas. However, sometimes the coach needs to employ various methods to effectively arrive at challenges. One such method is psychometric assessments. Often, workplace challenges stem from behavioral ineffectiveness. Psychometric tools can help identify such behavioral challenges. Working on specific behaviors in the coaching journey can enhance the workplace effectiveness of executives.
- Whole-person Approach – The coaching solutions should focus on the coache is a whole individual. The coachee should arrive at goals that can stem both from personal and professional spheres of life. An effective coaching solution should be able to work on both personal and professional goal areas.
- Drive Commitment and Accountability – The coaching journey is all about the coachee arriving at solutions that work for him/her. The coach is required to provide direction and structure but the actual solutions are created by the cocahee. This is what drives commitment to the solutions. The role of the coach is to ensure that the coachee commits to the action plan and hold him/her accountable for it. The coach should ensure that the coachee works on the action-plan.
- Build a High Trust Relationship – Coaching is a high trust relationship between the coach and coachee. Many times in coaching, a coach may encounter an ethical dilemma. This may be in the form of the manager of the coachee asking for feedback without keeping the coachee in the loop or the coachee divulging some sesitive information. A coach should very clearly outline own and stakeholders conduct during the coaching journey. Remember that as a coach, you have accountality to the coachee, but the organization has a hight stake in the intervention as well.
Executive coaching solutions can have a high impact on the performance of the individual and on the organization. This makes coaching a high stake intervention and therefore it requires thorough planning.
Be it a promotion, new hire, change of role or a change in business dynamics, transition is one of the key reasons why organizations hire coaches. Strengthscape has been extensively engaged in Executive-level Coaching for the last couple of years and one of the major projects we have done in coaching is to help executives’ transition into the next or new role. Few organizations opt for transition coaching to help their C1 level executive employees to adapt to the role in the initial but critical days. Getting into that hot seat, right at the top, can be quite discomforting and therefore, support at this stage is imperative. However, many organizations are still doing very little to help their executives in this transition phase.
Transition may not sound that difficult when viewed from outside. Then, why do you need transition coaching? Often organizations fail to enhance the new executive’s credibility, create a brand for them and leave them in their new role to build important relationships, their sponsors and champions from scratch. They are expected to initiate major changes in the business without being completely equipped to do so. It could also be simple shift from a traditional, India-specific to a more global role that the executive may be ill-equipped with. In the process, there are certain leaderships skills that they are required to unlearn and then learn new skills that will help them to manage the multitude of demands placed on them.
Research states that organizations incur higher costs because executive level hires fail to fulfill their roles during their first year. For instance, when an executive is moved from one Line of Business (LoB) to another, surely this transition process will have new challenges which cannot be handled using the same techniques that worked for the previous LoB. This is exactly where a transition coach can come to the rescue. Transition coaching helps executives cope with these demands by helping them to decipher the complexity of the new role, organizational dynamics and the business environment to outline the way forward for them.
Consider this form of coaching if you:
- Need direction in your career
- Want to learn how to cope with the demands of the new role
- Build confidence to grow up on the ladder
- Align your personal goals to the goals of the organization
- Think your values are not aligned with the values of the organization
- Want to speed up your performance in the new role
Strengthscape’s coaching journey makes the best use of coaching principles and helps the executive or employee to:
- Create a plan for the first 90 days at work or in the new role and help the coachee to prioritize the right order and time of doing certain things
- Gather constructive feedback from stakeholders
- Construct an action plan to work based on the feedback received from various stakeholders
- Think about the various decisions to be made and how to go about it
- Identify common goals and how the organization is helping in the personal growth of the employee
Transition Coaching is different from the Executive Development or Leadership Development Coaching we provide. One of the major differences is that of having an SME involved in the former form of coaching. Someone who has been there, done that would be able to provide better insights into the coaching journey. The Transition Coach has high business acumen, knowledge of the market and trends, and can work with a structured methodology.
The coaching journey is time bound – duration ranges from 6-9 months. In this 6-9 months, Strengthscape’s Transition Coach will help the executive to create an action plan, develop insights by asking critical questions, provide various templates to work with – all these that will eventually help the coachee transition into the new role. We recommend starting the transition coaching journey as early as possible. A lot of our clients start the journey as preparation before getting promoted or starting a new role. Post being in the new role, a couple of sessions are held later to track progress and make course corrections if any.
If we look at reasons for a drop in sales performance today, we will observe that primary reasons are missed opportunities, difficulty in reaching target or goal, unqualified leads, unable to negotiate a deal etc. With this backdrop, organizations are increasingly opting for coaching for their frontline sales team and business development managers. A survey by Sales Executive Council (SEC) has indicated that when salespeople are provided with quality coaching, their performance improves by 19%. This high return on investment (ROI) reinforces the practice of selecting sales coaching for the team.
The process of coaching for enhancing sales performance is iterative, personalized, focuses on behaviors, skills and techniques rather than numbers and is based on the salesperson’s daily routine and targets. Individual motivators and strengths of the salesperson is considered during the journey and a one-size-fits-all approach is not used.
Some benefits of opting for sales coaching are as follows:
- It gives a medium to share and know the best practices in sales and adopt strategies for greater effectiveness
- It helps to reduce the high attrition rates commonly seen in sales team
- It reinforces sales training and therefore, helps the learning to be continuous and retention to be higher for the sales team
- It focuses on bringing about a behavioral change and developing key skills necessary for effective sales
- It plays on the strength of the salesperson
- It provides the sales professionals with strategies to overcome sales challenges
- It focuses on building relationships within the sales team so that together they can increase the sales performance
- It provides ongoing support to the sales professionals rather than being a one-time effort
With all these benefits listed, there is no further room for explanation why sales coaching is important for your team.
Here are some highlights of Strengthscape’s approach when coaching for sales team:
We start by building trust and rapport as it is key to any coaching relationship followed by asking probing questions to help the coachee gain insights on personal strengths, motivators and stressors
- The initial awareness session is clubbed with proper evaluation of where the coachee is against key sales competencies such as networking, customer focus, ability to understand needs and pitch, sales acumen etc. For this, well standardized and highly reliable psychometric self-assessment tools are used. It gives an edge and additional information to reduce the blindspot the coachee may have.
- Our methodology broadly remains as DANCE (read more about it here – insert hyperlink) within which the objectives agreed upon with the coachee are related to their sales role
- As mentioned in the benefits – sales coaching focuses less on numbers and more on behavioral change. At Strengthscape, the coach takes a behavioral approach by providing an understanding of what are the behavioral priorities of the coachee as a seller and how it is different from the behavioral priorities of the buyers. In certain cases, self-assessment tools are used for evaluating behavioral priorities in the context of selling and buying styles. The coach helps the coachee in providing a structure to come up strategies to manage these behavioral differences.
- The role of the coach is not to be commanding and directive but be a resource who helps the coachee to develop insights and come up with their own action points
- The coach also plays the role of being a hard task master when holding the coachee accountable for their action points and follow up through their commitment
- Since sales coaching is aligned to one’s daily, monthly or quarterly targets, the coach can also engage with the manager of the coachee who can use the existing data from the CRM platform to indicate and work on the areas for coaching.
- Sales coaching process can work with all levels in the sales team. The area of development only shifts focus. For instance, in a sales representative’s role, we would focus on the basic selling skills and behaviors and the process of achieving the sales numbers. However, for a sales manager or Director of Sales, we would focus on Strategic Selling, Account management as skills.
- The process for coaching can be either time bound, say 3-6 months or can go upto 9-12 months depending on the seniority and complexity of the role and the areas of development arrived at.
To know more about the coaching journey for sales team, our past work, the assessments we use and any other details, contact us.
The question is not ‘whether culture really matters’ today in the modern world but to know ‘how culture really matters’ – Amartya Sen
One of the most fascinating methodologies of having a thorough perspective of life is through journeys. For years, people have travelled far and wide for business and leisure. If we take India as a case, there are more than 300,000 expats and the number is just increasing by the day. With fast growing economy and plethora of opportunities, especially in the outsourcing industry, it is very important to understand the dynamics of the land and its people. Being “inter-culturally operational” is the key to succeed today. This is where Cultural Coaching as a service becomes very useful.
With that, let us bust some myths around cultural coaching.
- Working with a cultural coach doesn’t mean the coached is incapable of figuring things out on your own. Cultural knowledge of basic etiquette and dos and don’ts can be gained off the internet and by reading books. However, cultural coaching helps to get a different perspective, get practical insights to have better business conversations and supports the executives to up their game in order to reach where they want or need to be. Opting for cultural coaching indicates self-awareness which is the first step to developing Cultural Intelligence quotient (CQ).
- The cultural coach will not FIX all the problems. Coaching is beyond just knowing the basic cultural etiquette – “do not point your fingers”, “do not shake hands” etc. The coach would support to develop awareness and skills around how to handle complex situations in a different country or when working with people of a different cultural background.
- The cultural coach will not be around forever as a friend. Cultural coaching does create an open and trusting relationship between the coach and the coached, but this professional relationship should not be considered as friendship. Coaches are required to be third party observers who could help in the development rather than being the go-to-advisors for every smallest thing. For the latter, one must reach out to their colleagues or peers.
- Don’t mistake the cultural coach to be a “Book” or “Google”. The cultural coach is expected to have good knowledge about business exchanges across cultures but not really about the history, local folklore, food, places to visit, politics etc.
Strengthscape’s Cultural Coaching as a service is in line with the busted myths stated above. The coaching journey provides a deep-rooted understanding of cultures that guides the expats and executives on the tenets of business dealings in the country and to handle complex business conversations in a cross-cultural set-up.
In cultural coaching, the basic methodology of coaching – Strengthscape’s DANCE methodology – is applicable as it provides the structure for the coaching journey. Within that structure, the conversations and action points to implement are from the culture perspective. Here are some highlights of the cultural coaching service of Strengthscape.
- To begin with, a clear understanding of the culture(s) that the individual has to work with is established (the different countries/cities)
- There will be an SME coach who would be appointed to work with the expat of executive. The coach will be an SME with respect to that culture (preferably someone who has worked in that culture as well so that he or she can provide valuable insights in the business context)
- If cultural coaching is a sub-part of a larger coaching journey which is focusing on multiple developmental aspects, then there will be one anchor coach who would be working with the coached throughout the journey and multiple SME coaches who would work from time to time.
- At times, use of some assessments may be recommended to assess the current understanding of the coached around that culture
- The coach will also spend some time to understand and familiarize oneself with the cultural background of the coached in order to help him or her understand the differences and similarities and have more meaningful conversations
- If there are multiple cultures that needs to be focus, the coach would focus on them one at a time. Which also means that the coaching journey will be longer
The above stated highlights are followed in the larger process of coaching which starts with discovery and rapport building that defines the relationship and objectives, building self-awareness, creating a new strategy for action, getting a buy-in for the same, implementation and follow up on the action plan and celebrating success.
The duration of a cultural coaching journey will be anywhere between three to twelve months depending on the complexity of role, culture and objectives. The coach will differ from one engagement to another depending on the expertise needed. For more details, contact us.
CROSS CULTURAL COACHING
Many organizational coaches today find themselves working with leaders from different cultural backgrounds as well as coaching leaders who work with culturally dissimilar teams. It is thus very important for them to understand the role of culture in their work. The wider a coach’s understanding of culture, the better they are able to identify important aspects of human behavior and seek their meaning. Cross cultural coaching emphasizes the importance of using cross-cultural knowledge as a way to customize coaching to each person.
There are five basic principles for an efficient cross-cultural coaching relationship –
- Study Foreign – To build harmony with a coaching client, a coach needs to explore their culture of origin carefully. This may sound very obvious, however, the more a coach acquaints himself with the refinement of a client’s background the better.
- Know Thyself – Only if a coach is fully acquainted with his own culture will he be able to harmonize with people from another.
- Context Exceeds Content – A coach needs to look at the context as the holder of the client/ coach relationship.
Coaches shouldn’t use formats with their learners, since every client is different.
- Mandatory Action – Once a good relationship is established, there should be a written agreement which specifies how the coach will work with the client. Call it framework, contract, or code of honor, it helps to keep everyone answerable.
Steps To Avoid Hidden Cultural Dangers
For this the coaches need to follow a few steps –
- First, the coaches themselves need to be aware of the fact that the very cultural differences they’re helping their clients with can also interfere with the coaching process. Sometimes coaches lay so much emphasis on the external issues, on what the client might be struggling with in his or her work environment, that the change within the coaching relationship gets overlooked.
- Second, the coaches should use the coaching process as a ground for noticing and working with cultural differences. If a client has trouble with authority, see how that develops in the relationship. The coaching session should be an opportunity to both point out cultural differences and to practice developing global proficiency.
- Third, the coaching process should be understood as valid and authorized. For some, especially those from Western cultures, there are several benefits to the idea of personal skill building. But that’s not necessarily the case for others who may feel that it’s not appropriate to focus on enhancing one’s own personal welfare. Instead of depicting coaching as an individualistic process of self-improvement, it can be seen as a tool for building relationships and community, which, for some, is a far more attractive goal.
We, at Strengthscape, with our coaching programs, help executives to look into themselves to understand where they can unlock potential, and also able to see different perspectives and engage in their role as a worldwide leader with greater clarity and understanding.
Cultural knowledge can be learned through coaching and increased cultural competence needs practice. Successful global leaders need a coach to practice with. Coaches accomplish this via a structured workout regimen which includes face-to-face meetings, regular coaching calls, video conferences, and email support.
Benefits of Executive Coaching for Business Leaders
Business leaders eager to achieve long-term success would benefit from working with an executive coach. Mentioned below are a few ways executive coaching can benefit you as a business leader –
- Self-Awareness – Self-awareness is the stimulant by which growth occurs. Self-aware executives are better able to handle their weaknesses. If executives have evaluated their blind spots, they won’t be caught by surprise and they’ll be better able to plan for success.
- Self-Regulation – Being aware of one’s emotions brings about discipline to control them. The task of self-regulation is made more achievable. Self-awareness is the foremost step in regulating your emotions and handling the situation with ease and comfort. Individuals with high emotional intelligence have better self-regulation skills. As your coach moves you along the path of greater self-control, you will notice an increased self-regulation in your professional life, too. You gain control over every aspect of your personal and professional life.
- Empathy – Empathy is something that allows people to feel how another individual is feeling. It is the ability to understand someone else’s situation and feelings from their point of view. Empathy is an essential skill for you to have as a coach. It contributes towards proper understanding of your clients, their perception and concerns. It also enhances your communication skills since you are aware of your client’s needs. Empathy is a powerful stimulant that soothes the soul of the receiver. It leads to awareness of other people’s emotions and enhanced communication with business colleagues follows.
- Rise in Perception – One of the main elements of emotional intelligence is the ability to view situations from another person’s perspective. When this occurs, your eyes are opened up to new aspects of many situations. In other words, a flexible mentality replaces rigid thinking. By exercising your brain, you boost perception and awareness which will benefit your work in many ways.
- Motivation – Motivation begins with self-awareness. When people are self-aware, they discover intrinsic motivation, and with self-regulation, they channel that motivation in the right direction. Motivation is an essential component to becoming successful. The difficult tasks, long working hours, and the obstacles at the workplace are not possible without motivation. The coach’s role is to create the environment and to provide the opportunity for the client to express their motivation in all that they do.
- Social Skills – Executive coaching helps you in becoming a person of value. Social skills make up the framework of successful relationships, whether it’s in the workplace or elsewhere. Teams with high emotional intelligence have an excess of advanced social skills. They have effective communication skills and they negotiate adequately so that all parties feel like it was a win-win situation. They work well in collaboration, merging their leadership and negotiation skills to help attain the target.
- Achieving what you want – A good coach can help you in identifying your goals and dreams, and about your capability in achieving them. An executive coach can be your support system throughout your journey. Since a coach is not dependent on you for his success, he can be honest with you about how you’re doing, reminding you time and again about your dreams and letting you know about the obstacles that are coming in your way of achieving those goals. Finally, your coach can teach you innovative ways of thinking and operating, new skills that will allow you to better reach your goals and create the career you want.
Over the past few years executive coaching has become very common. It can help you to lead ideas to results. It helps you to look at things in a different way, leading to greater productivity, more progression, with a lower risk and bigger profits. We, at Strengthscape offer a variety of services in the area of people’s development, executive coaching being one of them. And people aren’t just tools.
Benefits of executive coaching for the business leader
Executive coaching is a two-way relationship between a coach and a leader. In today’s fast-moving world, high performing individuals are more likely expected to possess intense technical strong leadership skills. Each coach will have their own strengths and weaknesses and their own respective styles to contribute to the organization. Mentioned below are some distinct qualities that all good executive coaches have in common which can benefit you greatly as a business leader.
- A good coach is always self-aware. To understand oneself and one’s coaching style, and how it is perceived by others, is an important first step to becoming a valuable and effective coach. Self-awareness is a journey into oneself and knowing one’s potential.
- A good coach brings specific issues to the attention of others because being unspecific about the problem areas, or failing to bring them to the respective parties, suggests a reluctance to bring a positive change and a lack of leadership qualities.
- A good coach prepares for each session with appropriate information. Executive coaching sessions should always be scheduled in advance, and the coach should have a solid agenda for each session that portrays the mission for the day. Without a proper structure, the coaching session can be more like a casual conversation session with no real agenda or direction.
- A good coach treats participants as partners in the organization, encouraging their work input and trusting them to carry out the given assignments. All good coaches have the respect for their mentees as common. Contempt and resentment should have no place in an effective coaching relationship.
- A good coach knows the strengths and weaknesses of his or her employees and knows how to trigger the individual strengths of employees to get the most out of them and to get the greatest amount of work efficiency and productivity from the team both collectively and individually.
- A good coach allows enough time to adequately discuss all the issues and concerns.
Keeping out enough time for a solid session, rather than rushing through the session, respects the employee’s time and encourages them to engage more thoughtfully.
- A good coach boldly asks for a commitment for the solutions that have been agreed upon.
- A good coach provides the desired resources, authority, training and support necessary for others to carry out the solutions.
- A good coach always offers support and assistance to those he or she is coaching to help them implement positive change and achieve the desired goals. Professional development is always a team effort.
- A good coach follows up on coaching sessions in a timely and orderly manner. At the end of each coaching session, it is always a good idea to go ahead and plan the next one, and to hold onto that commitment when the time comes.
When the results do not turn out as expected, a good coach helps to define alternative actions proactively.
Benefits of effective coaching for the employee
The executive coaching forum works to promote the best practices, ethical guidelines and knowledge of executive coaching. There are reports that employees who have had coaches have felt a positive impact on their lives, which has helped them too.
- Establish and take desired actions towards achieving goals
- Become more confident and self-reliant
- Obtain better jobs and life satisfaction
- Contribute to the team and the organization more effectively
- Take bigger responsibilities and be accountable for your own actions and commitments
- Have an easy and productive work environment with the team
- Communicate more efficiently
Executive coaching helps employees and the business leaders of organizations to stay on track with their businesses by providing them with the motivation and training of executive coaching. This could translate into helping coaches identify their own potential so they can efficiently go through their day’s tasks and eventually gain personal mastery. Executive coaching thus helps them to become more productive.
The Foundation of a Strong Coaching Business
The foundation of a strong coaching business begins with the assumption that we are dealing with a person filled with his or her own hopes, aims and dreams, as well as insecurities, fears and hindrances. Thus, we automatically understand that coaching is not a neat intellectual process that begins with listening, moves to feedback, and steadily results in insight and related behavior change. Instead, we recognize the process is more like an inelegant deep personal exploration in which neither the coach nor the talent knows the real goal.
While there’s no standard procedure for coaching, there are some key tools that professional executive coaches exercise to foster extraordinary performance in others.
- Acknowledgment – Great coaches are very alert. They pay attention to others and they spend time thinking about how to best utilize the energy of those around them. They notice when others are performing well, and they easily voice consent when they see this. They also recognize when others are performing poorly or below their capability. They are inquisitive as to why, and readily commence the discussions needed. They actually see themselves in others, and thus, they want for others what they most desire for themselves: greater success, happiness and accomplishment.
- Open Questions – Yet another aspect of laying the foundation of a strong coaching business is the ability to ask great, indefinite questions. The greatest leaders are always interested and eager to learn. They investigate the experience of others and into situations to expose deep issues and rise to positive change and greater success. They know the power of asking one bold question, and they are brave enough to ask it.
- Intuitional Perspectives – As we move in our lives and careers, we gain endless experience that allows us to recognize something on a spontaneous level before rationally presuming to reach a conclusion. Our intuition is a great source of information to be analyzed and shared with others, but often we keep our intuitive responses concealed, not trusting them. Using intuitional perspectives involves bringing more of your innate dialogue into your outer discussion with others. We do this best when we share our real thoughts with compassion, curiosity and the intention to honestly advance others.
- Silence – Most outstanding communicators teach themselves to use the power of silence. It is perhaps the most unused tool available. By adding it more in conversations with those we seek to coach, we can actually listen to the powerful answers of others because they come from the person who needs to own and act upon them. With time, your business will grow and strengthen.
As you work on the areas noted above, you will be able to form a foundation of a strong coaching business. Things will become easier. As you go through this process, you will learn what are the worthiest resources that will help support your business and won’t waste time with the other, purposeless methods. You will have triumphs along the way, but your business will become more mature and stable the more the above list works for you. But, when you’ve accumulated these things, you can look back at your journey with contentment and pride, knowing you’ve built a foundation of a strong coaching business.