Are you stuck? In transition or simply not at the top of your game?
Can an executive coach help you, both for your career and for your company?
As you progress in your career, you will need to plan and strategize how you can grow with someone you can trust. What are the key learning experiences that you need to have to get you to your dream career? A trained executive coach will help you grow your leadership and your career.
Three reasons why you should have an executive coach
Here are some of the many benefits you can get from executive coaching.
- An executive coach can hold up the mirror and reflect back your problems, thoughts and ideas back to you. Your coach will listen attentively and objectively. She will ask you deeper questions on matters involving your career that you haven’t considered. Sad but true, people need extra training on how to listen. Coaches have that training. Therapists have that training. Coworkers, spouses and friends…probably do not.
- You get a supportive and trusting professional relationship focused on your career goals. You share your concerns confidentially with your executive coach. You work together and create a strong bond. You may explore different options and avenues that you didn’t know existed. A coach will create a secrecy pact with you. Coaches are bound to keep your conversations confidential. You can be open and honest with your coach. Your thoughts and feelings will remain private. Can you say the same about secrets you tell your friends, neighbors and coworkers? Is your career advancement worth a conversation with a coach?
- An executive coach will challenge you to think outside your boundaries or free you of your limiting thoughts. The coach may push you out of your comfort zone to explore areas where you haven’t ventured. You can expand your thinking about where you are taking your career. Friends, neighbors and coworkers will tell you, “You have a nice car, a nice house and nice clothes. You have made it.” An executive coach will challenge you to evaluate your career and be clear on your long term vision. You will set higher expectations and enjoy the rewards.
I have a new client, Daphne. She thought she would remain a middle manager forever. “That’s just how it is with women in the workplace,” she told me. “We have a glass ceiling. Career growth is not as promising as it is for men. Also, I am already 48. I cannot advance.” Her employer knew she had potential and brought in an executive coach for her. I am helping her overcome those self-limiting beliefs.
In just a few months, she has reevaluated her career. She sees more senior level opportunities. She is asking what she needs to do before she can become a serious candidate for a VP role. She no longer thinks only men can advance. Daphne believes the sky is the limit.
Why would your company hire an executive coach for its upper management?
Suppose you are CEO for a growing company. You know that your people are your most important asset. A Board member says you need a coach to keep your upper management challenged and motivated. Your Board wants you to double your size. They feel you already have the talent in-house. What do you do?
You guessed it…bring in an executive coach. Your coach will work with you and your staff to find out what your true needs are. My niche is working at the vice-president level and above levels. Companies also hire me to develop their high potential talent.
Executive coaches help identify your brightest stars and make them shine. Coaches also help your brightest stars fast track their career growth. When this happens, they will feel challenged, they will stay.
Executive coaches are asked to work with companies for a variety of reasons:
- Future growth – to enable your high potentials to grow their leadership and prepare them for larger responsibilities
- Enhance current performance – to enable your leaders to perform their current job in the midst of change, expansion or new direction
- Performance Improvement – Coaches are hired when someone is derailed. Their success formula has not worked and they need a coach to help them develop their new success formula.
- Transition in periods of change, downsizing or new agendas – At times, your employees may suddenly find themselves in the midst of transition. They have been outplaced, fired or have completely lost interest in their jobs. A career coach can help your employees make the most of your transition and create new opportunities for them.
These are some of the reasons why a company may invest in a coach.
Bill is the CEO of a $75 Million company. His Board directed him to reach $100 Million in sales within three years, with his current leadership team. “My people are great. They are surely proficient at their jobs,” he tells me. “However, I sense they are content. How do I light a fire or move them out of their comfort zone without alienating them? How do I implement the changes I feel are necessary without having my best and brightest quit? I am most afraid I will fix something that is not broken. I am afraid if I do not accomplish what the Board wants, I will be fired.”
Bill hired me to achieve these goals and develop his leadership team. We used a 360 leadership assessment to understand their strengths individually and as a team. They each received feedback on their own results and together we debriefed the results of the team. As a group, we worked on leadership behaviors that promote a positive working environment. They also identified areas where they can improve. It was not easy at first, there was denial, rationalization and finding blame. These reactions are normal. As soon as we got past these responses and they accepted that they needed to change, we started working on their plans. Over the past year and a half, Bill and his team evolved to be the leaders that they want to be.
Are you in transition? Listen to Liza Sichon, Transition Coach and find a path to enjoy your transition and figure out your next move.
Too many good people are quitting. Is this good or bad?
Is the executive coach responsible for retaining my employees? Let’s suppose I hire an executive coach to develop my senior staff. Within months, my VPs have resigned. What is the deal?
- Is this something I should expect?
- Will the coach come back to me and say there’s something wrong with my environment?
- Will my coach help me deal with my attrition?
My answer is — this depends. What objectives have you set for the executive coach? Sometimes leaders hire an executive coach for their employee’s development. In that course of development, the employee then realizes that the current company is not the kind of environment where they can flourish. They make the decision to change employers.
As an executive coach, I require that my clients take full responsibility for their decisions and actions. They are also responsible for providing periodic updates on their progress to their boss.
If employees have resigned, maybe the problem is not the people who left, maybe the problem is the boss. My client has a responsibility to be honest with their boss about their career goals and how to best achieve them. I also encourage my clients to be honest with their boss about how things can be improved in the workplace.
My social media manager was a corporate trainer in downtown Chicago. He trained 1600 students how to use their desktop computers. Then one day, he realized it was no longer satisfying. He confronted a big decision. His options were a) stay in corporate training, or b) look for other opportunities. He chose option b), get another job. There was nothing wrong with his employer. He respected his boss. He liked his coworkers. He just felt a big change was necessary.
As a coach, I help people be true to themselves and encourage them to explore opportunities that are in line with their motivations, strengths and styles.
- Motivations are what gets you excited to jump out of bed in the morning. When you are working on things that motivate you, you do not track the time, you are lost in your own world. Think of a time when you just really enjoyed what you were doing.
- Your strengths are what you are naturally good at. There is no effort on your part when you are using your natural talents, you are in the flow.
- Your style is how others perceive you, this is your personality as you show it to the world.
At times, your motivations, your strengths and your style are not always congruent with each other. If you are not motivated to do a certain kind of work, you may be drained or burned out easily. If you are motivated but do not have the natural talents, it takes so much effort on your part to get the work done, you are using your acquired skills, not your natural skills. And if your personality or behaviors are not consistent with your strengths, you may not be receiving projects that you want to work on. It is important to know what your natural motivations, strengths and styles are so you are in the flow and completely enjoying the work that you do.
I use valid and reliable assessments to help clients find out what their motivations, natural talents and styles are. My clients tell me that this information has been invaluable to them as they made important decisions in their careers.