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Executive coaching

What can executive coaching do for you as a leader?

What more could you achieve if you mastered, or delegated executive coaching to expert others?

You could

Get improved performance from your staff, on both an individual and team basis;
Empower your key people them with a sense of ownership and commitment;

And if you learned the skills yourself, you could

Provide effective executive coaching when it was mission critical to do so
Create a feeling of support for key staff who are in difficult situations;
Develop key commercial skills.

If done well, and that is a big IF, (because there are so many who claim to have the skills who are one way beyond anything conventional management methods can offer. VPs, Directors and Senior managers can focus where real value can be added. Typically, even average levels of executive coaching provide a five times ROI. With PsyPerform executive coaching the ROI is ten times the investment or there is no fee.

People, people, people

Every company is as good as the people in that company.

For any grouping of individuals to succeed in a world of people, they must provide what people want, in the way people want it, and they must be skilled in their handling of people. Every chief executive wants his or her company to succeed. The best CEOs do so by encouraging their people to succeed through people. If you, as leader, had access to the most effective executive coaching methods known of today, and applied those techniques, or delegated their application, you can expect to make huge improvements.

Directing people to ‘Do!’ has always produced inferior results to inspiring people to ‘want to do’. Increasingly we are finding out why. People want to do when they are consulted, when they are engaged, when they are empowered.  Executive coaching delivers that cocktail of success ingredients, if provided skilfully, is able to inspire people ‘to want to.’

At its best executive coaching can increase levels of

enthusiasm and commitment;
productivity and loyalty;
flexibility and persistence;
responsive crisis management and conscientious crisis prevention;
team work and mutual support;
creativity and cooperation;
managed risk taking and perpetual self-regeneration;
staff ownership of problems and responsibility for solutions;
adaptability and responsiveness to change;
purposeful, specific and appropriate staff development…

What is executive coaching?

Coaching and MentoringIt is NOT teaching, instruction or training (although it can include elements of each). The executive coach does not have to be a relative expert in the field being coached. In fact a good executive coach can coach anybody, on any subject, at any time, even if s/he knows nothing about.

It is not managing. So what is it? An executive coach is someone available for the performer to learn WITH. Executive coaching is the process whereby one individual helps another to: unlock their natural leadership ability; perform, learn and achieve; increase awareness of the factors which determine executive performance; increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to leadership achievement.

Definition by contrast

Sometimes a definition of what something is can be achieved by contrast. Comparing executive coaching to mentoring can be productive.

What is mentoring?

A mentor is someone available for the performer to learn FROM. At least that is the theory. In practice a mentor will be the assigned ‘teacher’ of an individual. There is enormous variation of expectation in the function and behaviour of people bearing the same title – mentor. Some of the roles lead to the following definitions. Mentoring is the process whereby one senior individual is available to a junior other:

to form a non-specified developmental relationship;
to seek information from;
to regard as a role model for the purposes of emulation;
to pick up what the organisation/ dept/ company expects;
to show the performer how the organisation works; to ensure cultural compliance;
to guide the performer through a phase of operational, professional or vocational qualification;
to provide feedback and appraisal;
to teach all the relevant facts that will enable the junior individual to perform effectively in an organisation.

The executive coaching – mentoring distinction

The Perfect Coach Book Cover 160kThe two roles are worlds apart and overlapping, depending on which dimension they are compared. In terms of volition, a mentor can be unwitting or even unwilling, but still a successful mentor. How? By a performer choosing a role model at a distance. An executive coach could never be unwitting (could they? see The Perfect Coach), and is unlikely to engage in the process if unwilling.

The roles overlap when a person performs successfully as a coach. He or she is likely to be adopted as a mentor of coaching skills. The reverse is not true. A mentor can never be an executive coach unless they deliberately adopt the skills involved in successful executive coaching.

Focus distinction in executive coaching

The executive coach is focused on helping the leader or manager learn how to achieve more through staff. The mentor is focused on being available for the performer to use as a resource.

Skills distinction in executive coaching

A mentor can fulfill the role quite adequately with basic management, people and training or teaching skills. An effective coach must have the knowledge, technique and skill to help the performer achieve, without directing. As always with definitions, the difference between coaches and mentors is not defined in theory, but in practice. Whatever an organisation defines for each role creates the parameters of that role. Note of caution: choose your definitions wisely, much damage is done by poor definitions of coaching.

Ownership distinction in executive coaching

We will come back to the word ‘ownership’ with nauseating frequency. The level of ownership assumed and encouraged in the performer is one of the dimensions on which it is easiest to define the coach – mentor distinction. Coaching assumes more self-responsibility on the part of the performer. Mentoring assumes more performer responsibility than that of a conventional training course, but not quite that of a participant-led course.

The self-coaching distinction in executive coaching

Ultra high performers typically have become self-coaches who do everything listed in the section above (At its best executive coaching can increase levels of…), for themselves in any way they can. The highest performers seem able to self-coach through the most unbelievable adversity. Some psychologists even suggest that a history of serious adversity is a prerequisite, or aid to outstanding achievement. Self-coaching is the pinnacle of coaching success for an executive coaching. Taking an executive to the point where they are able to self-coach gives the executive a huge advantage over his/her peers.

Great and ethical executive coaches strive towards that moment.

If you want to explore executive coaching contact PsyPerform.


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