Executive coaching can be an integral part of a talent management strategy. Focused coaching helps individuals to realize their full potential and grow into the sort of leaders that they want to be. Coaches understand how to make individuals better communicators, motivators, and problem solvers. Through executive coaching, individuals can learn how to identify their goals and create a realistic plan to work toward those goals. While many people think of executive coaching as a long-term commitment, mentorship is often an effective way to show leaders how to overcome a specific, defined issue.
When people face an issue in their personal lives, they often choose to see a therapist. An executive coach is the professional equivalent of a therapist. As with a therapist, individuals can work to achieve a particular goal in the span of a handful of sessions or continue to meet over the course of months for more involved situations. There are a number of situations where individuals may not consider calling a coach, but where they could actually benefit from a third-party perspective. Following are some common challenges that business leaders face and a discussion of how consulting with an executive coach can help them successfully handle these issues.
Handling a major reorganization.
When companies undergo a merger, acquisition, downsizing, or another sort of reorganization, the pressure placed on executives can seem monumental. Individuals must continue to lead in a completely new and unknown environment that may entail new bosses, employees, and processes. The stress of this situation on all the parties involved frequently results in miscommunication and misunderstandings, which in turn can affect important professional relationships.
In these situations, a coach can help to make the transition smoother by advising executives to consider their previous role as they reposition themselves with a new team or employees. In addition, coaches can provide communication guidance so that executives are more aware of how employees may interpret their words and actions to avoid miscommunication. Sometimes, avoiding disaster involves simply tweaking a person’s communication style.
Assuming leadership responsibilities for the first time.
When an individual is in charge for the first time, he or she may not know exactly how to handle the responsibility. In this situation, an adjustment period is expected. However, individuals may not know how to use the time they are given effectively. People accustomed to focusing only on their own technical abilities and duties may not know how to transition to the new skill set required to be a manager.
Executive coaches understand the challenges of interpersonal communication, and they can help new leaders understand their personal leadership style, as well as the strengths and weaknesses that go along with it. By understanding potential weaknesses from the beginning, novice leaders can be diligent about recognizing problems and correcting them quickly, which ultimately helps to make them better at their jobs. Leadership involves a number of soft skills, such as building trust and communicating effectively, that coaches can help people to develop if they do not have much prior experience.
Getting rid of a bad habit.
When one is attempting to correct a bad habit, recognizing that it exists is half the battle. However, once an executive notices this negative behavior, the question of how to correct it may seem insurmountable. Asking for advice from colleagues may also be embarrassing. Without addressing these bad habits, individuals may have difficulty advancing in their careers. Some common bad habits among leaders include micromanagement, perfectionism, and a resistance to change.
A coach can help people to learn how to keep track of their negative behavior and counter it in an effective manner. Typically, bad habits cannot be corrected overnight, so coaches must set realistic expectations and an achievable timeline so that people do not become discouraged by a lack of noticeable change.
Importantly, coaches can also help managers learn how to correct bad habits among their employees. These bad habits can begin to reflect poorly on a manager if they persist over time.
Struggling to find a job.
Executive coaching is not limited to people who are currently employed. When business leaders are struggling to find a job, they may want to consult with a coach who can help them to identify potential opportunities and provide guidance on building a larger and stronger professional network. Frequently, people who struggle to find a job are unable to identify the reason, whether it is due to not looking for the right type of position, failing to impress during an interview, or another factor altogether.
Executive coaches are often most effective when it comes to preparing for an interview. A mock interview can be an excellent way to obtain feedback about how to frame one’s response to typical questions, as well as how to obtain more concrete feedback on how individuals can present themselves in terms of their dress, voice, and body language. This type of coaching can provide individuals with a major advantage during interviews. Of course, coaches can also to provide feedback on executives’ resumes and other aspects of their job search.