An executive coach is a qualified professional that works with individuals (usually executives, but often high potential employees to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, achieve their development objectives, unlock their potential, and act as a sounding board. They are not consultants or therapists (although many have consulting or therapist backgrounds) and usually refrain from giving advice or solving their client’s problems. Instead, they ask questions to help an executive clarify and solve their own problems.
Executive or Career Coaching was first introduced in America but is now catching up in a big way in the United Kingdom (UK) as well. According to The Telegraph, Career coaching is fast becoming a new trend and buzz topic especially among professional and career-minded women in the UK.
It’s critical to know why you are working with these executive coaches, often called career coaches. Perhaps you feel stuck in your career and need help getting to the next level or maybe you are deciding whether to change course? ‘Those who swear by their services claim they can help you achieve anything from a healthy work-life balance, to acing a job interview, securing a promotion or adapting to a recent one. According to a personal career management blog post, Executive Career Coaching is suitable for “Senior leaders and professionals who want to develop outstanding leadership skills and move forward in their career, leaders who want to make much more of an impact within their organization, executives at a crossroads in their career and high potentials who want to know their ‘brand’ and develop stronger leadership.”
The coaching process provides a uniquely challenging and yet supportive working partnership that benefits the individual and the organization in which they work and usually entails a number of sessions. The entire process involves intake, assessment, goal setting, development planning and is regularly monitored with the executive’s manager or the executive him/herself if the sessions are self-paid. The process is over when the development goal(s) is achieved or when the coach and/or coachee decide that it should stop. The typical duration may vary from three to 12 months.
HERE ARE SOME TYPICAL WORK SITUATIONS WHEREIN AN EXECUTIVE COACH CAN HELP:
Executive coaches can help you get unstuck quickly by providing clarity and focus to your goals. They will facilitate you in overcoming confusion, unsurety, and indecisiveness. Some specific examples include:
- You wish to achieve clarity regarding your career choices or you have many ideas but are not sure which one(s) to pursue.
- You have outgrown your existing career and want to do something better, something more exciting, and something bigger but don’t know where to start.
- You are unsure about what brings you joy and excitement.
Executive coaches can provide you with increased accountability to achieve your work and business goals so that you save yourself from procrastination. They will encourage problem solving, creativity and self -reliance. Some specific examples include:
- You have something urgent, exciting or compelling at stake (challenge, stretch goal, new opportunity).
- You want to address gaps in existing, knowledge skills or resources that exist owing to lack of confidence/guidance or analysis paralysis.
- You have a desire to accelerate results and expedite your progression/promotion.
- You want to realize your full potential.
Executive coaches will encourage self-refection. They will allow you to pause, take a break from an existing mind frame, step back and look at things from a fresh perspective for yourself and others. Some specific examples include:
- Your success is becoming problematic, and you wish to up your game and revive your stunted career growth.
- You have been stuck with issues for a very long time.
- You want to identify and leverage core strengths and do well.
- You feel overwhelmed and wish to achieve work-life balance.
Executive coaches can facilitate you in making yourself more self-aware of your emotions, thoughts and feelings so that you can question yourself, challenge limiting beliefs and thought toxins, and concentrate on what really matters. Some specific examples include:
- You have just been promoted OR have changed your company/job/industry and need support with the transition.
- You are experiencing difficulties coping with your boss, team members and colleagues.
- You want to gain more traction or recognition at work or business.
- You are experiencing behavioral issues with team members and/or clients.
- You want more confidence and assurance in pursuing your short- and long-term goals.
Every year thousands of people turn to Career and Executive Coaches to fast track their progress and give their career a boost. While coaching is mostly company sponsored, a large number of managers, business owners and C-suite executives still choose to self-finance coaching to give themselves a distinct advantage over others.
The 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study evidenced that there were presently approximately 53,300 professional coach practitioners worldwide. The estimated global total revenue from coaching has also witnessed a 19 percent increase from the last study. That has, of course, brought in other concerns regarding the credibility of some self-proclaimed coaches who are selling their services without any formal training or accreditation. In the ICF research, when coaches were asked to identify the biggest obstacle for coaching over the next 12 months, the main concern expressed by coach practitioners was untrained individuals who call themselves coaches. And since the coaching industry is not regulated yet, the challenges seem to be even more. It is important to check for accreditation as well as experience, background and testimonials when hiring an executive coach.
Finally, Executive Coaching is not for everyone. It is often easy to sideline professional development in favor of other pressing expenses, but if you truly wish to prioritize your professional growth, can afford it and hope to create a difference in your career trajectory; then an executive coach may very well be your answer. Rest assured, whether a career makeover is on your agenda, or career acceleration is what you are looking for, executive coaches who are good at what they do can get you there and are undoubtedly a great investment!
Posted by Coach Federation on 13 Nov 2017, by Hira Ali, Founder of Advancing Your Potential and Revitalize and Rise.