You Need an Executive Coach?
Do you have a special competitive
edge in your career? Smart executives and professionals have a trusted
advisor who can help them navigate the ins and outs of personal
and professional life so they can keep stress low and burnout at
bay. An executive coach can raise executive awareness and assist
in devising peak performance strategies to create invaluable career
velocity and momentum. Read this article to learn the 16 reasons
executives and professionals make executive coaches an integral
part of their success team.
Do You Need An Executive Coach?
Use This Secret Weapon to Help Enhance
Your Career, Your Business and Your Life
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
It has forever been a major advantage in any sport
to have a good coach. Other fields too. Musicians have instructors.
Artists have mentors. Writers have editors. Graduate students have
master professors. People who wish to grow in any endeavor seek
the wisdom, perspective and guidance of an accomplished coach.
However, no one can teach you anything. Ultimately, only you can
take information from a teacher or coach and transform it into your
personal power. Savvy executives take personal responsibility for
their own learning and devise strategies and systems that put information
Why Do Executives Choose to Work With a Coach?
No executive reaches the heights of organizational
life all alone. While it is often lonely once at the top, many people
help the executive rise to that rarefied atmosphere. Almost every
high-performing executive has had a mentor, a confidant or a coach
to challenge them, help them ease past inevitable obstacles, act
as a sounding board and be an impartial collaborator in decision-making.
Here are sixteen reasons executives who desire to be peak performers
give for why they seek the services of an executive coach.
1. An Over-Arching Willingness to Grow as a Person. If you
are reading this article it means you want to grow as a human being.
This desire is manifested by your seeking experiences that help
you improve personally. The advancing, successful executive realizes
that to rise in any career, personal growth is a must. Executives
want 10 years of experience, not the first year's experience ten
times. A coach accelerates the learning curve and sharpens sensibilities
in a more acute manner than can an individual working alone.
2. To Build a Comprehensive Mental Toolkit. Smart executives
realize they are more than their job, more than a boss, more than
an organizational person. They have lives outside the office. To
develop the tools and processes that catapult one towards a life
of intentional design, savvy executives align themselves with someone
who can help take them there. A coach can assist the executive in
expanding the personal assets and capabilities so growth is accelerated.
3. To Be Able to Benefit from Mistakes. Peak performers respect
mistakes and use them to learn. Poor performers tie themselves up
with negative emotion after every mistake. When we view any mistake
as failure, our self-destructive emotions mask the valuable feedback
around every mistake. The aware executive welcomes all feedback.
A coach is one of the important secret tools used by executives
to assist them in learning from all levels of experience.
4. To Develop a High Degree of Self-Awareness. Self-awareness
is not about what should be-it is about what is. The smart executive
places a high priority on becoming self-aware and realizes that
self-knowledge can be about the past or present. Self-awareness
is the master skill. A coach uses experiential and reflective processes
to increase the awareness of the executive, so that experience is
5. To Deconstruct Personal Experiences. Peak performers use
self-reflection to deconstruct their experiences. They know that
the unexamined life fleets by out of control. Only by reviewing
personal experience do we gain some degree of awareness over what
we have done and over who we are. The ambitious executive embraces
this process so new realities and realizations can be consciously
created out of that. A coach knows how to encourage and access that
self-reflective process so the executive can bring that valuable
information to daily use.
6. To Identify Pertinent Learning Goals. The ability to sharply
define appropriate developmental goals is paramount for the forward-looking
executive. A coach is invaluable in identifying leveraged learning
objectives that can make significant, important differences to the
executive and to the organization. Once goals and objectives are
set forth, learning takes on a new zest and life and enhances the
executive's day-to-day world. A coach serves as a partner to advance
personal and organizational executive agendas.
7. To Identify and Recruit Available Assets to Meet Strategic
Goals. Every executive brings unique talents to the organizational
table. Many executives do not completely understand how to leverage
their strengths and minimize their weaknesses to full effect. A
coach helps the executive understand what personal and organizational
assets exist that can be recruited and brought to bear on organizational
priorities. Amazing things begin to happen when there is an alignment
of the executive's personal asset inventory as it directly impacts
on the organization's most important initiatives.
8. To Maintain Balance of Professional and Personal Goals.
Life balance coaching sounds like a luxury that retired executives
finally give in to after their productive years are at an end. In
reality, the most vibrant and forward-thinking executives embrace
a holistic, comprehensive examination and structuring of their coaching
to include every facet of their lives. This umbrella approach results
in a synergistic enhancement of their business life. This also staves
off brownout, burnout, and addictive tendencies to which many high-performing
executives fall victim. A coach can help maintain proper balance.
9. To Transfer Learned Skills Into a Self-Coaching System.
There is an old saying in sport. "An athlete who can perform to
potential with a coach, in a practice is good. An athlete who can
perform to potential with a coach, in a game is excellent. An athlete
who can perform to potential in a game, without a coach, is great."
An executive needs to be nimble, to be able to change direction,
to be self-aware, to be able to self-coach, and to do so accurately.
A coach can instill those abilities so the executive gains confidence
and sureness under fire.
10. To Identify and Overcome Personal, Internal Obstacles to
Strategic Goals. Some executives are unable to see, or may not
want to see, their blind spots. Everyone has one. Not seeing this
liability places any executive on rocky footing. Leadership vision
becomes suspect, followers lose faith, colleagues begin to talk,
and executive effectiveness is degraded. One of a coach's major
gifts to his clients is the illumination of the executive blind
spot and the amelioration of its damaging effects. Many executives
have thanked their coaches for this vital and often career-saving
insight that allows sure-footed circumnavigation around the whitewaters
in the executive suite.
11. To Maintain Balance of Linear Personal Qualities With Asymmetric
Personal Qualities. The familiar Mental Model of left brain
(analytical, orderly, organized, mathematical) and right brain (creative,
performing, intuitive, spontaneous) qualities, while not exact,
affords a helpful model to use in describing what a successful executive
needs to operate optimally. Frozen, locked in, linear, narrow capabilities
take one only so far in organizational life. Open, creative, non-traditional,
asymmetric, changing capabilities form a nimble basis for continual
expansion of personal boundaries and potentialities. A coach co-manages
that balance of the two sides of the executive personality.
12. To Balance The Demands of Task Orientation With People Orientation.
Most hard-charging executives are outcome-oriented, as they should
be. Some leaders who have the motto "Ready! Fire! Aim!" miss
the mark. These executives need a balance of people skills as well
as get-the-job-done skills. A coach can help set a proper balance
between the two. The optimally-performing leader embraces an appropriate
balance of operational focus with people focus to move forward with
speed and humanity.
13. To Transfer Learned Coaching Session Tools to Sessions With
Colleagues. A coaching conversation is a dialogue of wisdom
that enhances a person's abilities in numerous areas. Insights arise,
new ways of speaking are created, different viewpoints emerge, and
an overall sense of helpful solution-focused discussion is developed.
This new reality can then be transferred to collaborations with
colleagues and anyone else in the organization. A coach models and
facilitates executive coaching session tools for the executive to
expand behavioral vistas.
14. To Cultivate Application of Insight and Intuition. There
is a saying in sports, even at the highest levels. An athlete "does
not say as he does or does as he says". What does this mean? For
many elite athletes, they perform at those rarefied levels due to
years of training and then execute in competition mindlessly, with
little or no conscious awareness. They may not be able to explain
what they do or how they perform it so well. So it often is with
executives. They rise to the organizational heights and to get to
the next level, they need to develop higher personal awareness so
they can control their present situation better and deliberately
design their futures for optimal results.
15. To Sharpen Reflective Abilities in Practical Applications.
Many executives are on such a fast track that they rarely take time
to sit, review, plan and then set in motion optimal systems that
drive organizational performance. Quiet time is required for effective
strategic analysis and enhanced performance initiatives, for both
the organization and the executive. A coach not only provides structured
exploration into those areas, but acts as a brainstorming partner
and sounding board to facilitate that journey.
16. To Develop a Career and Life Game Plan. Executives with
vision know that strategic thinking paves the way to success. Busy
executives make the time to review and plan for the outcomes they
desire. Executive coaching provides structured time for that process
to occur on a regular basis. It provides a collaborative partner
dedicated to the executive's well-being, with no biases or agendas
that others inevitably have from within the organization. This confidential
neutrality is possibly the most powerful tool the executive coach
possesses. It is something the executive often values above all
Be Clear and Open in Your Desire to Work With
Whatever reasons you decide are the ones for
working with a coach, be clear in your motivations for engaging
a coach, yet be open to new potentials once the coaching process
is underway. Executives often are surprised by what new directions
emerge as the coaching process progresses. I have found myself altering
my role strictly as a coach, and also evolving into a speech-writer,
consultant and course developer, once I understand my client's situation
with more clarity.
That perhaps is one of your coach's greatest assets to you--that
once the coach goes inside your head, your heart and your organization,
the levels of understanding deepen to a level where greater levels
of support, insight and creative value can be provided.
Your Next Steps
Remember that coaching is a process, one that
evolves over time. The reasons you hire a coach may not be the ones
you have to retain the coach. Enjoy the process and allow the beneficial
aspects of coaching to resonate throughout your entire being.
This next helpful article explains why iNLP Center Life Coach Certification students want to become an executive coach or business coach. The article is written by Hope Bundrant. Hope is the director and co-founder of the iNLP Center in Temecula, California. She has a BFA from the California State University of Fullerton and has completed postgraduate education at Harvard Business School. Hope is happily married to Mike Bundrant and manages their circus of teenage monkeys. If you have questions, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2011-
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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