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Why Coaching? - (Association Leadership)

There’s a new breed of Coach out there these days. Not an athletic coach, but a success-partner and collaborator who has been professionally trained to take businesses, organizations and corporations—and the people in them—to the next level of personal and professional success. They’re called Executive Coaches and they are becoming a “must have” in the business world.

The statistics bear this out:

A recent study of Executive Coaching in a Fortune 500 firm by MetrixGlobal reported a 529% return on investment and significant intangible benefits to the business.
An internal report of the Personnel Management Association showed that when training is combined with coaching, individuals increase their productivity by an average of 86% compared to 22% with training alone.
A survey by Manchester Inc. of 100 executives found that coaching provided an average return on investment of almost six times the cost of the coaching.

A Hay Group study of Fortune 500 companies found that 21 to 40% utilize Executive Coaching; Coaching was used as standard leadership development for elite executives and talented up-and-comers.

Executive Coaches are not about giving answers; they’re about asking tough questions. They make you think. They pull out of you (whether you’re an executive, a team within an organization, a manager, an entrepreneur) the necessary understandings to help you bridge that gap between where you are and where you want to be. They’re about supporting individuals and/or the organization not only to find a direction, but to take action. And the entire process is totally confidential; clients are asked to meet periodically in joint meetings with their bosses and Coaches to review their coaching plans and to receive feedback on progress.

Coaching provides the more collaborative model of communication and motivation that the current business environment demands. It’s all about developing the highest potential in people (and within the organization) as well as creating a productive environment for such development to occur. It provides the technology of human interaction and development; the “people” part of business. It’s about who you are as well as about what you do.

Unlike counseling or psychotherapy, an Executive Coach does not deal with emotional problems or healing past issues. Coaching is for high functioning people who are ready to move into action to create the professional and personal successes they envision.

Executive Coaches work on site, by telephone or, most typically, by combining both; consequently, Coaches have no geographic boundaries. They might coach owners, CEOs, executives and other leaders as well as providing other services including professional assessment, team development, leadership programs, coaching skills training, succession planning and sales/marketing strategies.

Coaching an executive typically begins with assessments that might include analysis of managerial behavior, emotional intelligence, communication style, leadership competency and/or attitudes and values. A 360 degree feedback analysis (a powerful process in which a person receives feedback from his/her boss, peers and direct reports) is common. The coach might “shadow” the individual for a day, watching him or her interact, lead meetings or give a presentation. After the assessment process is complete, the client develops a Coaching Plan that includes specific action items and accountabilities and typically works with the Coach six months to a year to implement the desired outcomes.

Professional Coaches receive specialized training at one of several coach training programs; the largest one specifically for executive/corporate coaching is Corporate Coach University International (www.ccui.com), a virtual inter-developmental training center. Executive Coaches have had successful backgrounds in related fields—consulting, corporate training, sales, leadership, management, clinical psychology, etc.--before becoming Coaches. In an effort to steer potential clients toward trained Coaches (since there is no licensing and anyone can call him/herself a Coach), The International Coaching Federation has developed two levels of professional certification for external coaches, the highest being Master Certified Coach (MCC). Requirements include that the Coach has completed a minimum of 200 hours in an ICF-approved training program and has coached a minimum of 2500 hours. Forty hours of continuing education every three years is required for certification renewal.

What do Executives talk about in their Coaching sessions? Topics include delegation, time management, work-life integration, communication, executive presence and presentation, interpersonal skills, aligning with company vision, marketing and sales, strategic planning, productivity, performance management, career planning, stress reduction and decision-making. Coaches challenge clients by pointing out “blind spots” and by making requests to stretch their clients to achieve greater, more meaningful outcomes. They also provide the support, encouragement, sounding board and accountability to help clients achieve their goals.

So what do Executives say about coaching? One CEO’s remark is typical: “The best part of having a Coach is that I finally have somebody I can talk to freely, somebody who will be objective, somebody who doesn’t have a personal agenda and—most importantly—somebody who will tell me the truth about what they see in my behavior and attitudes.”


Judi Craig, Ph.D., MCC   13620 NW Military Hwy., Ste. 202-2   San Antonio, TX  78231.   210-824-3391

Email: jcraig@coachsquared.com