Executive coaching assists executives and high-potential employees with developing self-awareness and clarifying goals to attain their business development goals. Executive coaching entails direct interaction to unlock the potential within each individual so that they can navigate change or confront challenges.
The most effective professional executive coaches are disruptors, honing listening skills and intuition to the point of hearing when a client’s thought process is getting in their own way. Knowing how to interrupt it, helping the client to see for themselves the loop they are stuck in, and then discover how to change it to something that will get them a better outcome is the role of an executive coach.
What is the distinction between executive coaching and leadership coaching?
You may wonder what the distinction is between executive coaching and leadership coaching. Executive coaching assists the client with his/her larger vision in both professional and personal spheres. Leadership coaching is frequently viewed as a subset of executive coaching, with an emphasis on the client’s leadership growth rather than their business development and personal life goals.
What characteristics distinguish a great executive coach?
Experience is important for a business coach, but to be great in the field, a sincere interest in continued personal growth is imperative. At a minimum, passion for helping others achieve their business and life goals, an interest in business in general, a high degree of empathy, superior listening skills, and patience are the trademarks of a great executive coach.
An executive coach knows that the first thing a client says they need help with is not always the real problem. Professional executive coaches are trained to listen with “curious compassion” as they help their clients peel back the layers, until they get to the root of the problem.
Coaching Versus Consulting
Coaching develops the client’s ability to evaluate and respond to the needs of the business. Problem solving, goal setting and accountability are just a few of the skills an executive coach helps the client develop. An executive coach works with clients on their individual skills for achieving the business and personal goals they desire.
Consultants, on the other hand, are usually subject matter experts brought in to solve a specific problem. They evaluate the situation and advise a specific course of action to resolve the issue.
“Say you’re learning how to ride a bicycle. A consultant would ride the bicycle for a while and write you a “how to” manual. A coach would have you get on the bicycle and walk alongside you, guiding you through the process until you felt confident enough to ride on your own . . .” Leanne Wong
Executive coaches ask the tough questions.
Executive coaching requires asking a few forceful questions that provide the essential disruption to the clients thought patterns, which may cause some mental barriers that are a challenge at their current work. This can be extremely uncomfortable, but the client is able to do this because the coach provides a safe and empathetic space for the process.
Executive coaches help their clients get back in touch with their mission.
Especially when a business grows too quickly, it is easy to get stuck in the pattern of behavior. Executive coaches help a client step back, reassess goals, and get back on track.
What makes a great executive coach, then?
Great executive coaches are both cheerleaders and taskmasters. They have faith in their client’s ability to delve deep inside to develop the skills necessary to reach their professional and personal goals. They insist on accountability.
“In essence, being an exceptional executive coach requires a blend of qualities, including self-awareness, emotional agility, experience, and intersubjectivity.”