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Thursday, July 10, 2014

From Wall Street to the Local Non-Profit, Executive Coaching Works for Leaders


Executive Coaching

Today’s professionals are pulled in many directions and have to manage their careers while working long hours and dealing with inflexible schedules. This is on top of managing to find time for family obligations and downtime. How is this even achievable when there is a temptation to be constantly in touch with work remotely through email and smartphones?

These are common concerns working professionals tend to share in executive coaching. More often today, companies are recognizing the strategic value of using coaches individually or in small teams to help develop their high potentials to find smarter ways to work.

It’s been estimated that of the $80 billion being spent on corporate education, approximately $2 billion is being spent on executive coaching according to Business Wire. The Hay Group estimates that upwards of 40% of Fortune 500 organizations actively use executive coaching for talent development.

What does coaching do, exactly?

Research suggests that executive coaches can help increase job performance and productivity as well enhance leadership skills, increase agility and credibility, improve interpersonal skills, and foster personal growth (Kampa & White, 2002). Leaders are increasingly sensitive to the idea that there is value in working through challenges through the facilitation with a non-judgmental and unbiased professional.

Business and executive coaching is appropriate and effective for all levels of leadership—from front line employees to CEOs. The meeting format ranges from an individual meeting with the coach and one client or the coach and a team collectively working through issue processing and development.

What are some typical challenges executives work through in coaching?

• A team leader needs to influence senior leaders to add additional staff to their team despite a hiring freeze.

• A leader needs to motivate his direct reports when there isn’t a budget for promotions or pay raises or there has been poor company performance.

• An executive attempts to build buy-in with the staff from a plant they’ve just started managing overseas virtually.

• An executive is working across a matrix to influence senior leaders to consider a change that isn’t tied to those managers’ performance metrics.

• A Director is confronted with two employees who are consistently bickering and undermining each other in an offsite office.

• A senior manager discovers that their boss is playing favorites to certain employees, misappropriating company funds, and giving services away to certain customers.

• A second-generation business owner has plateaued in their career and needs to continue to grow the business.

• A non-profit executive director is passionate about the cause of the organization, but uncomfortable approaching new perspective donors for contributions.

What does a successful coaching engagement look like?

Successful coaching should lead the client to have greater clarity about their opportunities and challenges, some solid actions steps to implement, stronger self-awareness about their strengths and learning gaps, and a wider band width to solve even the most intractable challenges.

By Sam Turner, Ph.D. Sam serves as an active member of the Organizational Development Network, the Triad Coaching Connection, the Human Resources Management Association of Greensboro, the American Society of Training & Development, the American Psychological Association, and the Society of Intercultural Education, Training & Research.

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