One of the early questions that I frequently get from prospective coaching clients is “What do I get out of having a coach?” The question focuses not co much on the on the value of the coaching but the collateral benefits. I like responding to it because allows me to highlight those benefits that most coaches do not.
Executives do not operate in a vacuum. They work within a context – a corporate culture and within the limits set by corporate resources. Whether is a leadership role or as a member of a team, they suffer from a range of challenges. Here are some of the benefits that I describe:
Executives can find themselves isolated – lacking critical and constructive feedback. Corporate politics and the need to operate under pressure often contribute to that isolation. As an executive coach, I give clients access to that kind of feedback. I questions, provide advice, and give counsel can be invaluable for the ‘lonely’ executive.
Professional Development – The demands of work and the of the work environment cause many executives to neglect the need for professional development. The alternative – an academic qualification – can seem disconnected from the ‘real world’. My approach to coaching focuses on the challenges at hand and the development of productive and effective responses. But it also focuses on the professional development of the client. or even attend a residential management development program. The overarching objective of any good coaching program needs to be the increased ability of the client to operate more effectively and efficiently – professional development is one of the keys to that process.
Recognition of Potential – Having an executive coach says something about the client and their company’s dedication to developing them as a leader and key team member. I have noticed that, when I work with a client, their contemporaries tend to see them in a different light. Enlightened companies recognize that people management skills are often the key to success at work. My coaching focuses on the development and enhancement of those skills. These skills are often difficult to enhance without the honest direct feedback from a supportive coach. In my role as a coach, I provide that feedback and hold the client accountable to making progress towards enhancing their skills.
Breaking Through the Ceiling – a good number of my clients come to me because they are feeling a need to move to a higher level but hare having trouble managing the process. Career plateaus can present a particularly difficult challenge to up-and-coming executives. As their coach, I help them evolve a mind set and skill sets that will help them accelerate the process and break through the glass ceiling. A critical part of that process is the assessment – leadership and executive – of the strengths and weaknesses of the client. I organize such assessments and present the resulting data. The process helps the client develop a better understanding of themselves. We can then organize a coaching program that will restart their stalled career. With my help, clients can more effectively address these challenges in a highly targeted manner.
Coaching says something important about the client. They are seen as someone who is focused on improving – on growing both professionally and personally. It also send a message that they have the long view – they see themselves on a path to greater things. My experience – having built six businesses and served as coach to more than two dozen senior executives – having worked with many companies and helped them turnaround their fortunes and unlock their potential – allows me to offer a steady and seasoned judgment. I become the partner of my client in their efforts to become all that they are capable of becoming. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than watching a client confidently master challenges that they previously thought beyond them.
Good coaching brings all sorts of benefits – unlocks all sorts of doors – and releases all sorts of potential. It is your life – and your future. Executive coaching can help you realize it more fully.
© Dr. Earl R. Smith II