Introductory Case study: A middle-level executive working with a global brand, had a difficult boss, and a difficult relationship. At some stage, he decided to find a certified executive coach for himself. In their first meeting, he shared with his executive coach, that he had a fight with his boss and had just quit. He did not want the coach to take him beyond his career, a burning issue then. His coach partnered with him to set long-term goals, work backwards, and take action. Over the next few months and years, he managed a truce with his boss, went on promotion abroad, changed two jobs there, and has ticked all his long-term goals for himself, both on professional and personal fronts.
Considering this opening case of a high performing Executive, the following questions emerge for every executive – When is a good time to hire an executive coach?
- Would executive coaching work in all situations?
- How can Executive Coaching benefit me?
- What should I look for in an executive coach?
- How will I know if I have set ambitious goals?
Introduction – Executive Coaching:
Coaching was always part of our culture. Great leaders always had mentors and coaches who helped them navigate their life journey, at all levels of existence. International Coaching Federation (ICF) has brought together the various elements of coaching in a holistic way and is backed by solid research for the benefit of all stakeholders. Philosophy, spirituality, sports, psychology, therapy, healing, and all other areas have been tapped into to make modern coaching as we see it.
And it is still evolving. Professional coaching these days are further understood through its prefixes such as leadership coaching, executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching, spiritual coaching, relationship coaching… At the core, it is just pure & classical Coaching. These prefixes help a client connect with a professional coach who has experience and expertise in dealing with such clients.
An executive coach typically handles all the problems and opportunities an executive faces at work, and in life. It is about maximizing the potential of the executive, both personal and professional. An executive coach empathises with the An Executive Coach works with the aspiring or practising executives to let them shine and be the best executive they can be!
What is Executive Coaching?
All coaching is about maximizing the potential of the client, both personal and professional. It is different from short-term, myopic, transactional goals. Coaching was always transformational. When an executive coach partners with the client on a transformational path, the coach has got to be trained, certified and experienced to handle the subtleties.
All leadership was always meant to be transformational. Transactional leadership is no leadership, just as there is nothing like transactional coaching.
All coaching, like leadership, is transformational. Executives have a responsibility to go beyond the month-end, quarter/annual closing to look at the next 10, 20, and 50, years.
Executive coaching helps the executive to look into the future, with a long-term perspective. Executive Coaching helps aspiring executives build their executive persona and presence. The best executive coaches enable the clients to balance their work-life, iron out any wrinkles, unclutter the mind, evoke awareness and most importantly be a sounding board to the executives. Executive Coaching is enabling the executives to envision & empower their goals and elevate the executive presence to achieve them.
How Does Executive Coaching Work?
The executive coach partners with the client to set goals, explore deeply, and come up with actions, on strong foundations of ethics and trust.
Step 1: Set Goals for the Executive Coaching Engagement:
A critical aspect of an executive coaching engagement is to establish goals, but these goals are different! With a certified Coach – executives set goals which are;
- SMART: Specific, Measurable, Audacious, Relevant, Time-bound,
- PURE: Positively stated, Understood, Relevant, Ethical,
- CLEAR: Challenging, Legal, Environment-friendly, Appropriated, Recorded.
“If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.” My coach reminded me recently of this line from Alice in Wonderland. How simple, but profound. Executive Leadership coaches spend a considerable amount of time setting and polishing the right goals
- Case Study: A scientist for 20 years wanted to spend the next 20 years overseas, as a CEO, in just three years. In 11 months, he moved abroad with a CXO slot and is very happy and successful, and on course to achieve his dream, and also maximize his potential.
Step 2: Deep Exploration with the Certified Executive Coach:
- The executive coaching process assumes the solutions to all problems and opportunities for the executive lie within the executive. The executives usually see and blame a lot of external factors for all their struggles. An executive coach enables the client to focus on what is within the control of the client, not even his circle of influence or beyond that.
- That acceptance enables the client to look within themselves. Also, take responsibility for all the external constraints. When the client then chooses to respond, rather than react, he would be able to come up with steps that could have a transformational impact on himself.
- During my executive coach training, I asked my mentor, “so, in executive coaching, are we working with the assumption that most of the solutions lie within the executive?” My mentor said, “all of it, 100%”. That acceptance can be magical for the executive. It need not come up in the early stages of the engagement. But the orbit-shifting possibility emerges for the executive when he is open to that state of consciousness. And this consciousness can lead to an effective executive-leadership coaching conversation!
Case Study: A middle-level executive was facing a toxic relationship with his boss at work. She had come out of a bitter marriage, with all the baggage thereof. She came out of the organization and moved from the frying pan to the deep sea. The new boss was as difficult, though in a global organization. Over a period of time, she moved a lot achieving multiple goals along the way. But these core issues kept cropping up, as though in a perpetual loop. Her coach then held the proverbial mirror to her asking, ‘what is it that she is doing and being to attract similar people in authority?’ She discovered how she was expecting her supporting father in all her superiors, and how they were not living up to it. Also, how her mind was focussed on these issues in life, at the expense of awareness regarding a lot of other beautiful things happening around.
Step 3: Determine Action Plan:
This bias for action is what makes executive coaching very powerful for the executive. An executive is ( & always will be) judged by the results. No escape from it. The results come from only action. Any amount of intellectual discussion on strategy and plan of action will not give the benefit of execution. Waiting too long for strategizing is a mistake a lot of good leaders make, and prevents them to move from good2great.
- Setting goals, with all the elements thereof, can be a very powerful experience. Deep exploration will enable the client to see part of his personality that he was not aware of before. Holding the mirror, and peeling the onion are popular metaphors in the realm of executive-leadership coaching.
- But the transformation happens when the client converts the awareness to action. Else, he would remain in the ‘intellectual high’ of the new awareness, without any potential benefits. A Certified Executive Coach can nudge the client from awareness to action easily & smoothly.
- A client hires an executive coach for the action to be identified, and then the support to stay on course.
Case Study: An executive was overlooked for a promotion, and he was devastated. The company felt he was not ready, he felt he was more than ready. The company hired a certified executive coach as a last-ditch effort to help the leader to come out of his shell, and do well for himself. He was sceptical about how an external coach can help. Over the first three sessions, they got connected, developed trust, and became open to the possibility of executive coaching. Over the 12 months, he developed new habits which he felt were necessary for his success. Late-night to early morning, focus on fitness, started reading again, dog-walks daily, family time/dinners, reflective journaling, and blogging. He was an alcoholic. It was a pleasant surprise even to his coach when he unilaterally decided to quit drinking totally and successfully implemented it without any external support.’ Success is where you started, and where you are now. He chose to take action to move toward his full potential.
What Can an Executive Coach Do for You?
An executive coach is your friend, philosopher, guide, mirror, cheerleader, and challenger. An executive coach thus wears multiple hats, all in the realm of pure coaching, not any other role as a mentor/boss/any other position of authority. All for the service of the client.
The executive-leadership coach is trained to listen deeply, be fully present for the client, be non-judgemental, and give a safe space for sharing. The executive coach operates within the code of ethics, in letter and spirit. An executive coach is a professional partner, a friend for life, whom you can trust. The coach has only the client’s interests at the core, beyond the buzzword, ‘client centric’.
Benefits of Executive Coaching
An executive coach starts with the stated goals of the client. It is very important that the client and the coach, and the stakeholders are clear about what the objective of the engagement is & what benefits can executive coaching accrue. That is a part of measuring the ROI of the coaching engagement. The real outcome has to be more than the stated goals, at Regal Unlimited, we call it #ManifestMagic, and it is beyond what the client would have anticipated, closer to full potential, and truly transformational.
For example, if a professional trainer has been overweight for nearly 15 years. Tried multiple things. Reached out to an executive coach, a friend from college days. A quick exploration showed to him it was much more than losing weight, but gaining wellness, sleeping better, singing better, having energy for day-long training sessions, et al. While he walked away with deeper self-awareness and an action plan for 3 months, what he realized was about his limiting beliefs, habits and other areas that needed focus and attention. Needless to say, he achieved his weight goals, with a little delay and more benefits thereafter.
An Executive Coach can be a thinking partner, an accountability partner for the clients.
Clients can benefit from the executive coach because he partners with them to show them the ‘mirror’ and give perspective and feedback on the intended outcome. And the most crucial benefit of the executive-leadership coach is – a certified executive coach will HOLD THE SPACE for the CLIENTS – a rare occurrence for executives to express him/herself completely!
And that is the power of the journey to ‘become a coach’. Only part of it is certification. A certified Executive Coach is equipped to handle the subtleties of Coaching, is trained to deliver consistently, and is absorbed by a set process! A certified executive coach can add immense benefits to the Executive (on the personal & professional front) delivering outcomes that are organization-centric. These direct benefits of executive coaching can not only shift the performance of the executive but also improve the results of the organization!
What Is a Certified Executive Coach?
A professional coach is one who is trained, certified, credentialed, and experienced. The training will include elements of executive coaching, apart from ICF coaching competencies.
Additionally, the business side of coaching is also covered. It helps the coach to build the practice along with the training and certification. It helps the coach to identify the niche and chalk out a marketing strategy to attract the right clients. Irrespective of your background, experience, and accomplishments, a coach serves the client best when trained and certified.
What Is the Best Executive Coaching Certification?
ICF is the gold standard in executive coaching certification. ICF-approved entities like Regal Unlimited are leaders in coach training and certification. We all are naturally gifted. If we back that with professional coach training and certification, we will be in a better position to serve our clients.
Training to become a COACH is an important part. Just because a leader is superb – high-performing executive doesn’t mean s/he can be a high-quality EXECUTIVE COACH as well. Coaching is a different art and therefore executive coach certification is a must to become one such executive Coach. At Regal Unlimited, we provide Coach Training to become ICF-Approved Coaches. Executive Leadership Coach Certification is one such niche we offer!
Pandemic has ensured that Executive Coaching happens online (equally effective) but we are open for F2F executive coaching in Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai & Hyderabad. So if you are an executive looking for coaching in India, then we have a cadre of successful executive coaches to select for the engagement!
You are on your own Hero’s Journey. An executive coach can be your friend for life. It is better to choose a trained, certified, experienced executive coach, who continues to work on themselves. Schedule a Chemistry session with a Certified Executive Leadership Coach to explore how can an Executive Coach partner with you towards achieving your goals. Please visit our website here.