I am often asked “what do executive coaches do?” Instead of trying to tell you what they do, I would rather tell you why companies invest in them.
The short answer
Executive coaches are most often invited into organizations for three reasons:
- To accelerate “time to productivity and success” of first time CEOs and other executives
- To accelerate the development and impact of high potential leaders
- To prevent valuable leaders from failing because they aren’t working well with their boss, peers, or direct reports
A good executive coach has a proven process and point of view that is based on experience and research and has worked in multiple industries with hundreds of leaders. They can take that experience, diagnose the real cause of an issue, and implement specific tools and processes to serve you and your organization.
Their experience coaching leaders in other organizations gives them an ability to recognize the true cause of issues and bring proven solutions. They are also able to see other issues that may not be problems yet but will become problems if they are not addressed.
Speaking truth to power
One reason organizations choose to invest in executive coaches is to gain a confidential, objective perspective. It is very difficult for CEOs and executive leaders to get honest feedback because of a fear of consequences. And executives are unlikely to confide in an inside person that ultimately reports to them.
Great executive coaches are courageous. They speak truth to power regardless of consequences and hold clients accountable.
Executive coaches offer unique insights that can help you approach your challenges from a fresh perspective. They help you discover new options that you may not have been able to see before.
Work with you, not talk at you
The best executive coaches learn from their clients at the same time their clients are learning from them. They don’t say “I did it this way so you should too.” Instead, they collaborate with you and combine their outside perspective with your insider’s perspective to find the best solutions.
At Bailey Group, one of our core values is to be “fully invested partners.” This means that you will feel that your coach is 100% committed to your success and will always work in support of you and your organization.
Robert Hogan defines leadership as “…the ability to build and maintain a high performing team.” A simple equation:
Leadership performance (drives) Team performance (drives) results
A great executive coach will be able to come in and help their client to build a high performing team that agrees on team goals, understands the roles of every team member, and learns to make decisions and leverage conflict to challenge the status quo.
Great executive coaches are skilled in the art of asking questions. They are also skilled listeners that will listen to you in a way you may never have experienced before. At first, their unique communication skills help to drive change. Over time, you will learn to use the same skills your coach uses to communicate empathy and speak courageously, two critical skills for success in leadership and life.
The bottom line
According to a recent survey conducted in the U.K. by consulting company Expert Market, about 12 percent of workers have fantasized about killing their boss. This is true despite the fact that literally millions of books have been written on leadership, and organizations spend billions of dollars every year on leadership training.
The best executive coaches understand that they bring value when they help leaders build new habits of thinking and behavior and build and maintain high performing teams.
Investing in an executive coach brings an outside perspective for your organization, partners with you and your leaders to reach your full potential, speaks truth to power, helps you build high performing teams, improves your emotional intelligence, and helps you build the new habits of thinking and behavior that great leaders share. Do you need one?