Executive coaches can play a significant role in the ongoing development of teams and leaders. Through a series of coaching sessions in which the coach and client work closely to construct a strategy to reach specific goals and build new behaviours, the client is empowered to take control of their own learning. In making continual assessments and tracking their progress, it becomes possible to see the tangible development of skills that contribute to ongoing growth and success. The relationship is one of accountability, development and support, and provides a safe place for an individual to talk through what is working and what is not working with their day to day business activities.
For executive coaching to provide the most beneficial results, the coach must first work with the team or individual to identify performance gaps and their cause. This is typically achieved through executive coaching programs that aim to address the specific goals and desires of the client, as well as any behaviours they may wish to improve. Those behaviours that will provide the highest opportunities for advancement should be prioritised. In some cases, the specific goals for the coaching program may be aligned to other development activities, or will be agreed between the individual who is being coached and other representatives from the business.
Coaching for behavioural or cultural change takes a significant amount of time and effort to be done effectively, and therefore should not be a rushed process. It may take several coaching sessions for there to be a noticeable change. Set an intentional objective prior to each meeting that focuses on one or two specific behaviours. Doing so means that you can solidify progress in those areas without becoming overwhelmed by trying to do too much at once. The preparation stage should also involve anticipating obstacles and discussing strategies to overcome them. As you begin to introduce new objectives, you can see the progress that has already been made. In some cases, leadership assessments and profiling may be required for a more detailed assessment of the individual who is being coached, or in other cases the main areas for behaviour and cultural change may be identified through conversation and consultation with the individual and/or others within the business. The most important part of this step is that everyone involved agree on the area that requires change, and are committed to making the change, and recognise the benefits of working through that process!
Executive coaching is a collaborative process between the coach and the client. Collaboration suggests relationship and for that reason, trust is a big part of any coaching program. Each session should involve open dialogue and shared perspectives to determine the options of moving forwards. Both coach and client must be fully engaged and motivated to achieve the goals set out. The best executive coaches understand that much of their role is simply to ask the right questions that lead the client to reach the solution for themselves. Of course, their experience and expertise will offer guidance in this but really, a successful coach will act as more of a sounding board for ideas rather than provide direct answers. What remains in the vault, is a big part of collaboration, and is a critical part of how a coach builds trust and ensures a healthy coaching relationship.
To truly benefit from the positive effects of executive coaching, each session should take rigorous documentation of goals, the steps that need to be taken, and timing (if applicable) so that progress can be monitored. A useful tool for this process is the Actionable Habit Builder that allows the client to set, track, and reflect on their behaviour as they work towards their goals. The platform allows progress to be shared with the coach so that they are able to be kept up to date remotely. At the end of this program, the individual is asked to answer a series of reflection questions that allow them to delve deeply into self-analysis of their behaviour and emotions. The advantage of this is that it provides a measurement not only of what they did, but how they felt about it. By having a reference of what has been worked on and the levels of improvement, delivers the necessary feedback to keep everyone involved motivated to work through difficult situations and acts as a reminder to the value of the coaching relationship and progress that is being made.
The best leadership coaching businesses do not succeed on the basis of a singular session. For there to be continual improvement there must also be continual assessment. The reaching of one goal usually leads to the forming of another. In this way we are always able to achieve growth in our business and leadership. A cycle of feedback is necessary for building upon previous success. The Hogan 360º Report feedback tool is excellent for creating this loop. At the end of each implementation, clients are again asked to provide feedback on the skills and behaviours that are either working or can still be improved. One of the advantages of leadership coaches is having someone who is willing to push you to succeed not just once, but time and time again.
The top leadership coaches know that change takes time, skill, and dedication. Through executive coaching programs and behaviour development tools, clients are able build within themselves the skills they need to grow and reach new levels of success. How do we know if we are reaching our goals if we do not assess our progress? By working closely with the coach and regularly monitoring their progress, clients become more confident and begin to take ownership of their own development.
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you in creating value through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.