In the ‘old days,’ executive coaching often was reserved for leaders who were struggling and needed intervention. Today, however, the role of an executive coach has evolved so that coaches are rarely called upon to serve in a ‘rescue mission’ for a leader in trouble. Instead, they chiefly are called upon to work with the most valued executives in an organization. So if your boss offers you an opportunity to work with an executive coach, you should be flattered, not dismayed.
If you are the recipient of this “gift” from your employer, or if you have decided to seek out executive coaching for yourself, here are some tips regarding what you can expect and how you can get the most out of this experience.
Coaching works best when a talented, motivated individual seeks to do the right thing but finds him or herself facing one or more inhibiting factors. Coaches offer executives an impartial sounding board without fear of disclosing confidential information or having a colleague’s biases throw your assessment of a situation off track. They can help you make informed critical decisions, manage personal and organizational change or resolve conflicts.
Coaching can also help you:
- Deepen awareness of your leadership style, your strengths and areas for development
- Enhance your communication skills and personal effectiveness
- Improve your ability to build and nurture teams
- Think more strategically and creatively
However, coaches can’t magically turn you into someone you’re not. Business habits are typically formed in one’s 20s and they gel by middle age. Expect that coaching might give you a ‘bump’ over the threshold of success, but not that it will turn your leadership approach 180 degrees.
Being offered an executive coach is a wonderful opportunity for your career. Then it’s up to you to make the most of it.
As the former CEO of LifeBridge Health and Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Warren Green has been coaching others for decades. He also personally has experienced the benefits of being coached. Contact him at wgreen@protegeECC.com