A split second. That’s how fast many of us have to make decisions at work. Whether you work as a manager or a new team member, there is often little time to make choices regarding your career or a project. When time is of the essence, it’s imperative to be able to think quickly, be decisive and understand the landscape. Decision making is just one skill that executive leadership coaches can teach. So, what is executive leadership coaching exactly?
“Executive coaches act as coach, educator, mentor, guide, confidant, and challenger to those that carry the burden of executive level leadership, the c-level executives as well as their direct reports,” Whether one-on-one or as a team, coaching can take place for weeks, months or years. In addition to c-suite execs who tap leadership coaches, all employees can benefit from developing new skills, behaviors and embarking on a journey towards being better business people. Here’s why:
- Learn how to be an effective leader.
Leadership isn’t something that accumulates alongside the number of years you have spent at a
company or in an industry. It is something that must be learned and honed.
C-level executives, as well as those who aspire to lead at that level, need a safe place to have their ‘growing’ and ‘learning’ conversations. Company leaders often feel siloed or unable to
have mentorship conversations for fear of appearing vulnerable or incompetent. However, having a leadership coach allows an employee to dive deep into their growth without embarrassment.These conversations need to be rigorously honest, challenging, authentic, vulnerable, and compassionate to support growth and development.
- Gain a competitive advantage in your industry or team.
Years ago, companies would seek out coaching for executives who were perceived to have a
problem or needed fixing. However, these days, it’s seen as a proactive measure that any individual can take on. More and more companies and individuals view coaching as providing a competitive advantage to both individual and company by creating outstanding leadership competence. Think of it as learning CPR before a crisis. Getting coaching for how to deal with leadership challenges and obstacles will better prepare a person for climbing the ladder. Organizations and their leaders operate in increasingly complicated environments: the military acronym VUCA is often used to describe it (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous). We believe leadership is a huge privilege and a responsibility: leaders are at the forefront of establishing the culture in which their people operate and which their customers respond to.
- Improve self-confidence and human effectiveness.
While many people approach coaches to learn to deal with tactical challenges such as decision
making, conflict resolution skills or improving communication with direct reports, it’s the “soft skills” that are most often improved. A coach works on “human effectiveness” in his clients professional and personal lives. This includes, “building deeper relationships in work and in life, making a
difference in the lives of others in work and in live, powerful and authentic communication,
vulnerable exchanges with others and more.”
The initial objective for a coaching engagement might start out as rather tactical, such as ‘improve my communication with my direct reports’ or ‘move from being operational to strategic’… then we start exploring and improving the leader’s self-confidence and emotional intelligence, improving their ability to see the big picture or to deal/exist with ambiguity and complexity, improving their resilience, etc. A professional resume writer once wrote, “Employers aren’t looking for robots that can only execute on a job description. They need people who can positively impact the culture and see what’s around the corner.” This doesn’t just apply to candidates, but also to current employees.
- Learn to trust your team.
One of the toughest skills for an employee to master is trusting others to contribute to the overall
group’s success. Often, we as employees find comfort in being our own source of success and being solely responsible for both our wins and losses. However, climbing the professional ladder
means becoming a manager and helming a team. Enter: trust.
Coachees often set goals around moving from technical to strategic view, staying proactive rather than reacting, and delegating and trusting reports. Coaching and other forms of self-
development are great ways to explore and develop these parts of oneself.
- Develop oneself for the craziness of work and home.
All of us lead busy lives where we answer to titles such as mother, father, son, daughter, employee, employer, leader and doer. For many of the CEOs and executives creating a “vision for each of the roles of their many lives” is one of the biggest benefits of coaching.
Working with a leadership coach allows people to develop this vision which, speaks to the 4 to 6
core values that person wants in their busy lives. That vision helps refine their intentions, choices, and actions in their various relationships.
The second biggest benefit is the ability to manage their emotions and think clearly no matter what is coming at them. They learn to use paced respiration or meditative breathing to slow themselves down inside, shift away from the handling crisis all day long and then choose who they want to be as they engage different parts of their lives.
- Work purposefully towards a promotion.
Executive leadership coaching can help any employee attain the promotion that he or she wants. Perhaps you have been told by a boss that a promotion is years away or your workplace is lacking mentorship opportunities. Consider seeking out a coach that has the appropriate training and is a good fit for you. Generally, though, once people have had coaching, they understand the benefits.