One the most important management tools that any executive must master is strategic planning. It allows an organization clarify its future direction within the corporate world. One of the most important strategic plans is the one that deals with the career development of the individual executive. An Executive Business Coach can be very helpful in assisting an executive to develop and refine the required skills to master this challenging complex and subtle process – and to apply it to their own career and personal and professional development.
The strategic planning process adjusts the company’s direction within an ever-changing competitive environment. Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to identify and implement the decisions and actions necessary to bring a business into its brighter future. The same should be true of the planning for personal growth and development of important skills and capabilities.
In order to design the most effective strategic plan, an executive should seek the guidance of a qualified and competent Strategic Planning Coach. The Coach should help them establish goals and metrics for the strategic planning process and support them as the plan is developed and implemented.
After the Executive Coach and the company’s client have plotted out the strategic context of the plan, they can then continue through plan development and implementation. The coach should focus both on successfully completing the planning process and on the personal growth and leadership development of the client. This process includes five, very important steps:
1. Creating an Engagement Outline: The Executive Business Coach will conduct an interview with the client. During this meeting all expectations – such as milestones and responsibilities of each party – are agreed upon. This agreement serves as the basis for the coaching engagement.
2. Leadership and Management Assessments: The next step in the executive coaching process is a leadership/management assessment. Since there are a variety of management assessments that can be utilized, it is up to the Executive Business Coach to recommend the most effective one for any given situation. The significance of this assessment process is that the results will establish a baseline and highlight areas of strengths and weaknesses of the individual Executive being coached.
3. Executive Coach’s Response: The third step is for the Executive Business Coach to provide feedback to the client. The purpose of this is to re-examine the objectives that were previously set out in the first meeting. The Executive Coach will usually refer back to the business requirements, leadership attributes, expected results, and compare them to the Executive’s current performances. This meeting will help the Executive to understand their strengths and to identify development needs.
4. Actual Coaching: After the Executive being coached and the Executive Business Coach have come to an agreement on exactly what traits need to be strengthened, the coach will then reinforce the development strategies, which can include techniques such as action learning, role play, case study, simulation, video feedback, shadowing, and journaling. This step usually involves a series of regular meetings. Meetings with others in the company may also take place. The objective is to help the client make as rapid progress as possible within a context of support and trust.
5. Success: The last step involves a comparison between the initial leadership assessment and the subsequent assessment. This comparison determines the impact that the coaching process has had on both the Executive and the company. The results of the assessment give credit for progress and address areas in which changes are still required. It will also suggest necessary midcourse corrections.
Every company should be concerned with the professional growth of its key executives. Coaching has been proven to significantly increase the rate of that development. If you would like to learn more about executive coaching and its benefits contact me and we will arrange an initial consultation. In the end, its your future and that future will be brighter or less so depending on the strengthening of your abilities to lead and manage effectively. The choices are yours and your future is truly in your hands.
© Dr. Earl R. Smith II