Have you ever wished that you had a coach on the sideline of your office? Someone who could help you form a career game plan, develop your skills, correct your deficiencies, build your leadership strengths, and cheer you on? You are not alone. Men and women alike are increasingly seeking the services of executive coaches for a variety of reasons.
Before you determine whether executive coaching is right for you, it’s important to understand the process. Executive coaching is a formal engagement in which a qualified coach works with an organizational leader in a series of dynamic, confidential sessions designed to establish and achieve clear goals that will result in improved managerial performance. The relationship between a manager and a coach is different from other types of professional relationships. For example, a coaching relationship focuses on enhancing performance, while a mentoring relationship usually has broader objectives.
A coach is not an authority figure, but will be engaged with you on all levels to provide assessment, challenge and support. Above all, a coach is someone who is there for you for collaboration and to offer the type of counsel and support that you may not otherwise receive. A great coach will work with you to assess individual circumstances, strengths, weaknesses, and developmental opportunities.
In some circles, having a coach is something to brag about. In other situations, a coach may be brought in as a reaction to a certain set of circumstances that indicate a performance deficit. In today’s business climate, coaches are seeing an increased demand across the board at the ‘c suite’ level. An executive coach is a perk to which some top executives feel entitled and that some leaders negotiate as part of their total compensation and benefits package. Some companies provide coaching initiatives for new, transferring and high-potential employees, while other individuals seek out coaches and pay for them on their own. In my practice at Orbacz Strategy Group, I see a variety of circumstances that prompt individuals and organizations to engage me in the role of advisor and coach.
If you are considering an executive coach, keep in mind that your perception of coaching greatly affects the benefits you will glean. If you have a positive perception of coaching and think that it could help you, you’ve taken the first step toward realizing the full benefits. You should assess your own readiness for what will be a serious commitment and an occasionally uncomfortable experience. There are coaching readiness questionnaires that I use with my own clients to help them fully understand and assess where they are before the coaching process starts, as well as sophisticated behavioral and competency based assessment instruments.
When you work with a coach, you can expect to change your skills, behaviors and to develop better leadership abilities. Resistance to any kind of personal change is normal, realistic, and to be expected. It’s not a light decision to engage an executive coach. Only you can accurately assess your thoughts, feelings, and needs.
If you decide that you’re ready to benefit from coaching, take time to find a well-qualified coach with whom you can relate on a personal level. Selecting the right coach has a dramatic impact on how successful your results will be. Engaging a well-qualified coach that is a good fit for you will positively affect your individual growth and your future career path.
Much like an athletic coach, the right executive coach can be the difference maker that helps you reach your full potential. Having one on your team might be the winning advantage you need.
Debra Orbacz is the writer of the popular blog answering work and career related questions orbaczgroup.blogspot.com.
Debra Orbacz is Founder and President of Orbacz Strategy Group, LLC; a dynamic leadership development and management consulting firm supporting clients in the private and public sectors. Ms. Orbacz’s combination of experiential leadership knowledge from a world class organization and the latest research and theory on leadership development provides Orbacz Strategy clients with measurable results.