Nov 082014

Dr. Earl R. Smith II

Many of my CEO coaching clients are founders who have started a business and pulled it through the early stages. The challenges that they now face are very different from those of the early days. The team is bigger, there are clients and customers instead of markets and things are far more complex than they used to be. One of their pressure points is the need for their own personal and professional growth to keep up with the needs for the company. They come to me as an executive and leadership coach in search of the best ways to ensure personal peak performance and overall organizational development.

Many of these CEOs have done a great deal of research on the benefits of coaching. Years of research have established the importance of effective corporate coaching in raising productivity levels and reducing turnover. In 2001, a Public Personnel Management Journal published the details of an intensive managerial training program. It found that training alone boosted managerial productivity by 22% but when you blend coaching with training, productivity level increased by 88%.

Effective coaching requires an experienced coach working in a focused way with clients towards a series of important and well-specified goals. When selecting a coach, it is important to first focus on the experience question. I am a big fan of avoiding the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ coaches. Good coaching requires a tested judgment and a temperament that qualifies the coach to step into the client’s role if that were necessary. It never is – but you should ask yourself the question, ‘Could this person do my job?’ If the answer is no, you probably should keep looking.

Some of you might think this is an extreme position but I would urge you to think about it for a while. Business is not much of a place for intellectualization. It is finding an opportunity and monetizing it as rapidly and effectively as possible. Most under-experienced coaches attempt to substitute book learning for the integration of core coaching skills and an in-depth understanding of language, culture, processes and dynamics of an organization. Business is not a spectator sport – and neither should coaching be.

Remember, coaching is a way to improve personal and organizational performance. Coaching:

  • results in personal and professional growth that makes for a better, more effective member of the team – a better, more effective team leader
  • improves both personal and organizational productivity – is one of the highest return investment that a company can make
  • motivates not only the coaching client but also other team members to embrace change, focus on solutions to overcome limitations and perform better at work
  • helps not only the CEO but the organization make the journey to the next level – good coaching is all about promoting growth
  • paves the way for transparent and constructive verbal communication between employees and managers
  • results in higher commitment, increased staff retention and less absenteeism

As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Those first phone calls or chance meetings are first steps in a journey that I have been blessed to have taken with CEOs and other coaching clients. If you are interested in discussing the benefits of coaching, send me an e-mail and we will arrange a time to talk.

© Dr. Earl R. Smith II

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