Harvard Business Review recently posted an article “4 Signs an Executive Isn’t Ready for Coaching.” While not every executive needs a coach, this practice can be transformational and help a leader ascend to a higher level of performance. With over thirty years of international coaching experience, Career Partners International (CPI) provides trusted advisors to thousands of executives. Our team highlights five excellent opportunities to partner with an executive coach:
- Organizational Changes
Change can disrupt the status quo. Even senior leadership teams that have previously worked well together can be thrown into disarray when impacted by organizational change. If there are already areas of dysfunction within the team, then change can exacerbate it, making it even more difficult to achieve goals and meet deadlines.
Expert coach led executive coaching and senior team facilitation can help leaders assess where they are, acknowledge and address their personal barriers, constructively surface and address individual or group conflicts, and help them to develop team cohesion, whilst re-embedding commitment to shared objectives.
On a practical level it can also have an immediate impact by raising the skills and competencies of team members and helping them to identify and address issues that are impacting the effectiveness of the change journey.
-Lynne Hardman, CEO, Working Transitions, London, UK
- Improve Interpersonal Skills
CEOs have long benefited from working with external executive coaches. Jack Welch was an early example of a success story in terms of making incredible changes to his demeanor as well as his effectiveness as a leader, changes that were the direct result of taking advantage of executive coaches back in the day when he wanted to transition away from his reputation as “neutron-Jack.”
CEOs are often reluctant to show their vulnerability, let alone their weaknesses to anyone in the company, and understandably find it difficult to discuss these areas internally. It is rare for CEOs to receive ongoing necessary constructive feedback about their performance as a leader. Who is going to volunteer to provide it? Sure, they are typically immersed in data regarding bottom-line results, but what about day-to-day positive reinforcement and timely feedback about potential dysfunctional behavior?
That’s where an executive coach comes in. Ideally, we recommend matching a CEO with a seasoned external resource who can establish a supportive relationship. In addition to being available as a neutral third party to challenge the CEO’s thinking, the coach can solicit feedback on the CEO’s behalf and deliver it in a way that can be heard and reacted to.
– Joan Caruso, Managing Director, The Ayers Group, New York, USA
- Stepping into a New Role
Taking the leap into a new position in the C-suite requires a different set of skills than most have used in the past. As in sports, executives can improve their performance by having a coach. Coaches can lead executives to their state of excellence. Coaching helps professionals to enhance their self-awareness as well as to develop competencies that improve their performance and increase employability.
Following a promotion, new executives may experience doubt or conflicting plans of action. A mobilizing factor to seek a qualified coach is the need to stay steady and make progress. A coach also helps when professionals are in crisis regarding their jobs, in doubt about what to do, or even when they intend to implement projects for which they lack experience.
-José Augusto Minarelli, CEO, Lens & Minarelli, Career Partners International Brazil
- Seeking Alternative Viewpoints
An openness to, and acceptance of coaching is one of the most valuable traits for an executive to bring to the table. Understanding that there is always room to improve oneself has led to extremely impactful coaching engagements. An experienced coach can provide viewpoints that may not be readily available within an organization. Once a leader has acknowledged they may be operating with blind spots, opportunities to identify weaknesses and enhance strengths present themselves.
A coach can help foster a leader’s natural curiosity as well, providing new perspectives and creative ideas to help the organization excel. Coaches may be able to provide suggestions for unique literature or other sources of information on leadership and organizations. A coach’s viewpoint, through direct interaction with the executive and communications with their team, can provide an unbiased perspective and highlight new opportunities for growth.
-Margarete Dupere and David Brendel, Executive Coaches at Camden Consulting, Boston, USA
- Professional & Personal Development
Many executives have already experienced the value of having a coach and seek out this benefit throughout their careers. Having a professional coach keeps them at the top of their game and allows them to explore new avenues of development. They recognize the importance self-awareness and self-development have on their success as a leader. By being open to observation, reflection, and committing to an action plan they gain an elevated perspective on issues within the organization. A trusted partner is a key tool in this executive’s kit, one they know elevates their performance personally and professionally.
-Nance MacLeod, Executive Coach, Career Compass, Toronto, Canada
While executive coaching isn’t a silver bullet, a trusted advisor can often help unlock potential to go from good to great. As Joan Caruso says, “My guess is that if your CEO golfs, he or she has a golf pro, if they play tennis they have a tennis pro, so why not have a leadership pro in the form of an executive coach?” For over 30 years, CPI has helped organizations and individuals realize their full potential and sharpen their competitive edge.
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