This is a question posed at times by corporations and executives. As an Executive Coach and Fortune 500 executive, I have learned that it is easier to reach or exceed my goals and the expectations of my employer when I have a coach. It seems counterintuitive that a professional coach needs a coach but I benefit from an experienced person’s perspective. It keeps me sharp and keeps me constantly learning.
At the heart of coaching is an inquiry-based approach that focuses on improving performance by generating greater awareness and emotional intelligence, enhancing leadership attributes, setting goals and being held accountable. Coaching is a facilitation of learning through questions posed by the coach and being exposed to a different, external perspective. An effective coach holds the executive accountable to take action and produce results.
The reality is that executives and leaders need the benefits of a coach. In fact I believe that every leader needs an unbiased, outside perspective that a coach provides.
Here are the key things a great coach provides:
- Clarity and focus on your goals. It is important to discuss specific opportunities and challenges with your coach. This way you can know what to focus on and how to drive the best results.
- The ability to be the best version of yourself by increasing your emotional intelligence; especially your self-awareness. Emotional intelligence is the greatest indicator of a leader’s success. Some surveys say that emotional intelligence represents up to 85% of an executive’s success.
- Confidential discussions. As you move up in your career, there are less people that you have to talk to about challenges and personal leadership deficiencies. A coach provides an open forum to be honest and vulnerable.
- Gathering and providing feedback through assessments such as a quantitative and qualitative 360, emotional intelligence and executive presence.
- Enhance your performance and productivity. Leadership is ultimately about performance, specifically your performance and your team’s performance. A coach can help you see and act on performance issues and opportunities sooner.
- Strengthening and developing the core leadership competencies and attributes that will lead to success and improved performance.
- Increase your confidence to perform your job at a higher level. Most executives experience negative self-talk about their ability to perform their job, especially in the early months after a promotion. For example, an executive may be thinking, “What if my boss figures out that I don’t know what I am doing?!”
- An accountability partner. One of the primary responsibilities of a coach is to ask key questions at the end of a session that include, “When will you complete this action?” How will I know that you completed this action?”
While there are more things an effective coach provides an executive, these capture some of the key benefits. Successful executives have strong attributes and are results-focused. A faster way to develop these attributes and exceed performance goals is to find and develop a working relationship with a coach!