If you play or watch sport, its easy to understand the role the coach plays in performance. It’s the person who understands the game, how its played and the skills, knowledge and mindset needed to succeed. It’s the person who has a clear view of the level of performance needed, the drivers of how X drives Y, the strengths and weaknesses of the individual or the team. It’s the person who knows how to maximise the strengths while minimising the weaknesses, and has the game-day strategy.
We instinctively know these things about sport. We instinctively know to look to the coach, for their thoughts on how they think the game is going. When the game is off, we put hope in the coaching direction and pep-talks given during intervals or time-outs. We have faith that the coach has this – he/she knows the playing field, has the bigger picture and has the game plan to enhance the player(s)’ s performance, to succeed.
Coaching for Business – Executive Coaching
We know this about sport and we value the importance of it, so how does this translate to the business world? Executive coaching is about working with an Executive Coach who knows the business/organisational playing field, has the bigger picture of executive performance in the workplace (and with humans), and has a game plan to maximise the your performance, all within the context of your goals.
Why get an Executive Coach?
Just like a good sports coach, an executive coach speeds up the length of time it takes you to have AHA monments. AHA moments are very, very important in leadership and management As we move up the levels, within an organisation or responsibility, we either take on more people management responsibility or we influence across the organisation, in a more visible way. With more responsibility and visibility comes the need to understand how we are perceived by others, of all levels.
Are we seen as inspiring, controlling, too busy, internally-focused, externally-focsed, always in meetings, influential, below the radar, pessimist, optimist, procrastinator, in the weeds, leading v managing… Do we know how others see us? Do we ever take time out to reflect how we impact on others and how that is helping our own performance as leaders?
As careers progress, there are numerous mind-shifts, skills, outlooks, beliefs, strategies that need to change. Some we need to dump, some we need to acquire, others we need to alter. Some are industry, functional, organisational culture-specific; some are universal. The executive coach helps you to understand the universal, while together, you can figure out how they apply to you specifically.
All of this takes insight, direction and effort. An executive coach can help with all of this.
What Does an Executive Coach Do?
An executive coach understands the universal playing field of leadership and understands the usual barriers that can stop people from getting onto that playing field. S/he uses that understanding to figure out where you are in relation to getting onto your company’s leadership playing field. You become clear on what playing field you want to play on – you have a clear, compelling vision for YOU. You may be quite happy to play on your company’s playing field, some other company’s field, or you may want to plough your own furrow.
An executive coach brings you insight into which specific mindsets, beliefs, strategies you need to dump, cultivate or change, to enhance your progress. An executive coach uses their expertise, tools frameworks, deep listening skills and powerful questions, to find out what is stopping you from getting onto your playing field. That can range from hidden beliefs, mis-matched values, doubt and negative self-talk, to lack of knowledge, skills or awareness, low emotional intelligence or identifying suitable opportunities.
As your unique combination of blockages are identified and named (some of them you might bring to your executive coach; others, you’ll likely figure out together), an executive coach works with you, to create your own compelling game plan, focused on helping you to prepare for and execute it, moving you towards getting onto, or enhancing your performance on, the playing field.
Finally, once you’re ready to to start walking onto your leadership playing field, your coach is there, as your number 1 cheerleader, your go-to during time-outs, and your support during intervals, to assess performance, guide you on tweaks and rev you up, as you head back out. They help you make sense of what is happening, they help you keep perspective by pointing to what worked and progress made, they pick you up, help you re-adjust the plan and get you back in the game.
A good executive coach will get you actively and successfully get onto your compelling playing field, faster than you can figure it all out on your own.
If you’ve used an executive coach before, share what benefits you gained, in the comments below. If you want to learn more about executive coaching and how it works, feel free to send me a message and we can arrange a call. If you enjoyed this post, please LIKE it or share it. Is there someone you think this post would be of use? If so, share it today.
If you’re interested in reading more about executive coaching, here’s a selection of useful books to browse through: