What is Executive Coaching?

Executive Coaching is a development process that takes place between a coach and management-level clients to help them achieve goals related to their professional/personal development, while benefitting their organisation’s business performance.

What topics are commonly addressed in executive coaching sessions?

Coaching sessions vary as individual and organisational needs vary. Common themes in executive coaching sessions revolve around the following issues:

 

  • Adapting to Change: transitioning, preparing for a more senior role
  • Leadership: delegation, confidence, gravitas, projecting senior presence, stakeholder management
  • Emotional Intelligence: self-awareness, decision-making, interpersonal communication, self-expression, stress management
  • Strategic Outlook: strategic mindset, thinking, insights
  • Communication Skills: instilling trust, reporting, presentation skills, developing rapport, conflict/confrontation, connecting with others
How can coaching / workshops help my organisation?

No matter the industry, one thing that is certain is that your organisation’s success revolves around the interconnectedness and communication among individuals. Technical knowledge is definitely important for success and profitability, but as individuals climb up the corporate ladder into positions of leadership, it is emotional intelligence/awareness that is more and more important to ensure effective team working and hence productivity. Unfortunately, this kind of intelligence usually gets the least amount of attention in organisations’ training & development programs, leading to issues related to awareness, perception, communication and, of course, leadership.

Coaching & leadership workshops allow individuals to overcome limiting beliefs & fears and raise awareness & compassion leading to happiness, team cohesion, productivity and profitability.

What is the difference between training & facilitation workshops?

In training:

  • Trainer pushes information
  • More theoretical
  • Wisdom comes from the trainer
  • Objectives are set and are the same for all participants
  • Mostly framework based

In facilitation:

 

  • Facilitator pulls information
  • More experiential
  • Wisdom comes from group
  • Everyone works on their own objectives and has different takeaways
  • Mostly explorative
How is confidentiality addressed in 1-to-1 coaching sessions and workshops?

Certified coaches are bound by a code of ethics which ensures they maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with all client and sponsor information, unless release is required by law. When dealing with sponsors (typically the organisations that hire the coach for the coachee), the coach will explain to the client, before any sessions, what information is confidential and what information needs to be publicly shared with the sponsor.

In workshops, the facilitator needs to set agreements with all participants to ensure confidentiality among the group.

Is coaching common? Does it bring successful results?

Bill Gates

Founder of Microsoft

“Everyone needs a coach”

Eric Schmidt

Former Executive Chairman of Google

When his Board Member told him to get a coach he said “I don’t need a coach, I am an established CEO. Is something wrong?” He then got a coach and said “Every famous athlete and every famous performer has somebody who’s a coach.  Somebody who can watch what they are doing and say ‘Is that what you really meant?’ They can give them perspective because the one thing that people are never good at is seeing themselves the way others see them.  A coach really really helps”.

Oprah Winfrey

CEO of Harpo Productions and Host of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’

Oprah has attributed some of her success to her coach and she has been a major advocate for coaching as a result. Over the last 25 years, she’s presented a multitude of life coaches to her fans and highly suggests her viewers to use a life coach to succeed.

Bill Clinton

Former President of the United States of America

Bill Clinton, once arguably the most powerful man in the world, has had a coach in his career as a President and then afterwards to help him transition out of the world of politics.

Paul Tudor Jones

Investor, Hedge Fund Manager and Philanthropist

Paul Tudor Jones’s hedge fund has managed over USD 15 billion and his personal net worth is almost USD 5 billion.  He uses a coach and invests over USD 1 million annually in coaching.  He is quoted as saying “The amazing thing about my coach is how he can deconstruct what drives certain behaviors and help me develop a plan for action with carefully considered risk and reward propositions”.

Metallica

Heavy Metal Rock Band

Metallica are estimated to be worth roughly USD 500 million. Some years back they were at each other’s throats and had lost focus and perspective. They had been under pressure from the press as well as their fans and had not produced new music in years. Fear was stopping them from reaching their potential, and they hired a coach to help them move beyond their limitations. It has been said that vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield confided in an interview, “[My coach] has been like an angel for me. He’s been sent to help me.” Meanwhile, drummer Lars Ulrich stated “We realize now that there’s nothing creatively or nothing practically that’s worth damaging that relationship over, and — dare I use the word — empathy shows up occasionally in this band now. Like, wait a minute, I wonder how he’s feeling about this!”

Why not let friends / colleagues coach me?

You may have friends/colleagues that are great at giving advice, but coaches do not give advice.  When you give advice to someone, you are somewhat implying that your view of the world and your beliefs are correct – this is not objective.  Coaches have no agenda in your life and are professionally trained to be non-biased, unlike friends/colleagues who usually have a preconceived opinion of you.  When others already think they know you, this in turn allows them to fill in the blanks while listening to you, giving you an opinion that is subjective and even inaccurate.

With respect to filling in the blanks, coaches are trained in active listening.  Most people are thinking or rehearsing what they will say next, and in worse circumstances speaking at the same time as you, which is not active listening. It is said that more than half of all errors made in business can be linked directly or indirectly to poor listening.

Apart from listening, friends/colleagues may make biased decisions based on their knowledge of your organisation.  This leads to generalisation as they may feel like they understand your situation without really listening to what your issue is. They may also find it hard (without realizing it) to remain objective as they have preconceived expectations of how you should behave.

Advice and/or coaching from friends/colleagues can sometimes help, but for best results you want someone who only has your agenda as their priority, has no preconceived image of you, actively listens to you, and supports you with full objectivity.