Until recently, corporations hired business coaches as fixers who would come in, help meet a leadership gap or crisis, and then go on their way. But that attitude has changed dramatically within the last decade and a half.
Companies are now more proactive about their leadership needs and the difficulty of upscaling C-level skills to meet evolving business challenges. Business waits for no one these days, which is why organizations invest in executive coaching to equip dynamic and well-fortified enterprise leaders.
To get the best out of executive coaching, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the benefits of coaching and the scenarios where it can provide the most value. Here we describe the role of an executive coach, when their skills may be required, and the value they can bring to companies.
Challenge an executive client to identify, appraise, engage, and powerfully move past leadership blocks or difficulties.
Keep senior management personnel grounded and well-equipped to meet obvious and non-obvious business challenges. “When you’re moving fast, it’s hard to assess everything going on around you,” saysBonita Thompson, former senior human resources executive and HR innovator. “A coach can help you avoid being blindsided.”
Help their clients see around corners, leverage decades of top-level experience, and poach wisdom or skills that help them forge ahead in business and in life.
Executive coaches bring a broad range of experience to their work, often consisting of cognate experience in fast-moving, high-achieving business or administrative roles. Frequently, an executive coach will have substantial experience in Fortune 500 companies or multinationals, alongside extensive coaching experience within similar environments.
Ultimately, an executive coach is someone who has been there, seen it before, and now gives their clients the benefit of that wisdom. They can also share unique and deep insights about organizational and leadership challenges to give their executive clients new perspectives, strategies, and knowledge.
When Does It Make Sense to Hire an Executive Coach?
Organizations will require executive coaching for their enterprise leaders in various circumstances. Here are some of the most common opportunities or complications that lead companies to seek executive coaching:
Ensure a great start: Organizations may choose to invest in executive coaching as part of the onboarding process for a new senior management hire. Since a fast start in the first weeks and months in the role can help launch a successful tenure, employing an executive coach can prove pivotal. The coach will typically help clarify and track goals for the near term, share lessons on how to navigate internal and external work relationships, and sharpen the skills needed for the new role.
Meet a new opportunity or challenge: As business demands and challenges evolve, so do the skills needed to thrive in this environment of change and disruption. Executive coaching helps equip leaders with the learning and skills they need to exploit emerging opportunities or combat complex problems.
Groom for a new role: When prioritizing an internal leadership pipeline, organizations may find it beneficial to secure coaching services for high potential employees. Grooming promising mid-level talent can be an inexpensive way to ensure top-level roles have a sustainable succession plan, and executive coaching can help impart the necessary skills.
Improve performance: In other instances, upscaling productivity and performance across various functions may be a corporate target. In this case, an executive coach can come on board to help identify leadership bottlenecks and facilitate collaborative deep fixes that get your company going again.
Fix a challenging relationship: Managers are human and, as humans, they can have problems with others. These difficult relationships may be with a colleague, direct report, manager, or even a customer or supplier. The remit for an executive coach may be to come in and help the feuding parties work through their relationship difficulties.
Fill a skills or behavioral gap: The most effective leaders never leave the path of self-improvement, which is why future-focused companies see executive coaching as a continuing investment. When you need to help leaders acquire new skill, polish old skills, or bridge some other management skills or behavioral gap, an executive coach can help.
Experienced coaches often have settled frameworks and tools to help clients work through these common scenarios. Where organizations present with niche difficulties, they are also able to provide leadership guidance and solutions, particularly when they also possess relevant industry knowledge.
Top Benefits of Executive Coaching
Executive coaching presents numerous potential benefits for leadership clients, including increased effectiveness, better team interaction, and clearer corporate goals and strategy. Likewise, great coaching can help organizations support their leaders to:
Sharpen skills and competencies: A fast moving business environment requires leaders that are agile, forward-thinking, and always relevant. But those qualities don’t come pre-packaged in all leaders. Executive coaching helps inculcate and improve these characteristics in business leaders.
Augment weaknesses and uphold strengths: While saying “leaders are made, not born” sounds cliché, the truth is this is practically the case for all successful management figures. Executive coaching helps leaders learn by proxy, absorbing lessons and experiences from towering industry figures that help them become more complete organizers and administrators.
Supercharge productivity and creativity: With executive coaching, organizations provide the support that C-level members need to remain dynamic leaders and avoid burnout. The stress of leading a business in an unpredictable environment will take its toll. But investing in great executive coaching helps provide a buffer and a lifeline that keeps your management team from going under.
Generate powerful momentum: Refreshed and reinvigorated executives provide a net positive for companies. They can operate quicker, pivot faster, spot opportunities easier, and profitably take advantage to the benefit of the company.
Overall, executive coaching helps companies equip leaders with the skills and competencies they need to thrive in an often unforgiving business world.
Learn how we deliver top talent, no matter the need, with our industry-leading research and resources. Discover the strategy that made Cowen Partners a leader among the nation’s best executive search firms in New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Nashville, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and beyond.