Each year, US organizations spend approximately $166 billion on leadership development. One area modern-day companies are increasingly investing in is executive coaching.
Today’s business executives face unique challenges. The current volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and agility (VUCA) reality demands that executives be more than one thing to steer their organizations to lasting success. Every executive needs the skills to balance between business and people’s priorities.
To effectively lead in an increasingly complex business environment, an executive needs to develop such influential skills as self-awareness and self-reflection. That’s where executive coaching comes in.
But what is executive coaching? What benefit does it have, both to the participants and the business? What qualities should you look for in an executive coach before you hire them?
These are some of the issues we discuss in this comprehensive guide. Read on to learn more.
What Is Executive Coaching?
Executive coaching refers to a creative and thought-provoking process meant to inspire an organization’s leaders to maximize their personal and professional potential. Professional coaching is client-driven. It differs from other service professions, such as consulting, counseling, and mentoring.
Executive coaching is among the most individually tailored talent development practices. It involves a close and confidential relationship between the coach and the client.
What Is an Executive Coach?
An executive coach is a leadership development expert who focuses on senior managers and leaders of an organization. These leaders include the president, vice president, director, or members of the C-suite. Some of the responsibilities of an executive coach include:
- Assisting business leaders to understand their current competencies
- Helping leaders know how others perceive them
- Helping leaders identify and clarify their current business goals
- Helping leaders identify the necessary steps to achieve their goals
What Are the Benefits of Executive Coaching?
Initially, organizations looked upon executive coaching with a measure of curious skepticism. Today, this service is widely embraced as a sure path to a more enriched workplace. Managers, CEOs, leaders, and small business owners are becoming aware of the massive return on investment (ROI) of executive coaching.
In this section, we outline the five top benefits of executive coaching.
- Executive Coaching Heightens a Leader’s Self-Awareness
One of the first areas an executive coach target is your self-awareness. Why? Because self-awareness is the greatest catalyst for personal and professional growth.
Without this crucial step of self-realization, business leaders keep on doing things the same way they always do. People and situations at the workplace trigger responsive emotions in them that may cloud their judgment.
An executive coach helps you to develop the habit of asking critical questions that help you understand yourself and be more in touch with your emotions. By so doing, you can regulate your feelings.
- You Gain More Self-Regulation
Being aware of your emotions helps you gain more discipline to control them. You get better at self-regulation and start to handle different situations with ease and effort.
As a leader who oversees employees in your organization, feelings of inferiority and discomfort may arise from time to time. This is particularly the case when you’re overseeing a new employee you feel is more qualified or capable than you. Self-awareness helps you understand your feelings and regulate them so you can handle the situation calmly and competently.
But self-discipline isn’t just limited to uncomfortable feelings. It helps you improve in other aspects of your professional life.
III. Your Level of Empathy Increases
Few qualities are more desirable in a leader than empathy, which is why executive coaches focus on helping leaders develop it. Empathy allows an executive to feel how other individuals in the organization are feeling. When a leader empathizes with the challenges and concerns of their employees, the employees feel and appreciates it.
Empathy helps leads to better interactions with business colleagues and subordinates. It makes people want to be led by you and to seek your counsel. In today’s business world, empathy is a tool that every company needs as part of their culture.
- It Enhances the Leader’s Cognition
Executive coaching helps a leader gain the ability to view issues from the perspective of others. As a leader, your mind is opened up to new viewpoints on different situations. Instead of rigid thinking, you gain a flexible mindset.
Once you begin to stretch your mind, your cognition is boosted. This can benefit your work in many ways.
- Your Levels of Motivation Increase
As we pointed out earlier, effective leadership starts with self-awareness. As a leader becomes more self-aware, they discover their intrinsic motivation. This motivation is then channelled in the right direction through self-regulation.
Inevitably, you begin to accomplish more at the workplace, which in turn pushes your motivation levels even higher. Motivation is critical in achieving success and fulfilment in the workplace. Motivation is what makes leaders and their teams take on difficult tasks, work long hours, and overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.
Choosing an Executive Coach
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of working with an executive coach, chances are that you’d like to hire one soon. So how do you make sure that you’re hiring someone worth your time and money?
Start by seeking references. Friends and colleagues who’ve worked with executive coaches before can recommend one who may guarantee good results. Identify at least three executive coaches you’d like to interview.
Ask your prospective coach to clarify their coaching process. This way, you understand how they’ll help you learn beneficial skills and behaviors that you can transfer to your work. Enquire how they guarantee confidentiality. Finally, ask your prospective coach to give you a list of actual clients they’ve helped achieve demonstrable results.
Executive Coaching Can Help Boost Your Leadership Skills
Hopefully, we’ve sufficiently answered your question: what is executive coaching. As you’ve seen, working with an executive coach can be massively beneficial. A seasoned coach can help you see yourself much more accurately and help you gain the skills that help you compete in today’s business world.
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