Research Paper By Amjad Ali
(Executive Coach, PAKISTAN)
What is Executive Coaching
Executive development is a critical aspect of all organizations for success but often is most overlooked.
People come to coaching for several reasons:
They could be “stuck” and can’t think of what else to do in order to move the organization forward; there may not be anyone at their level that they can have confidential conversations with, or they believe if they were to change/improve something within themselves, the greater organization would benefit. Maybe they are ready to do something different but are not sure what that “something” is. Perhaps they are looking for change, a different perspective, or have important goals to reach. Executive or “business” coaching focuses on helping individuals go from where they are, to where they want themselves and their company to be.
For whatever the reason, it is distinct from other forms of training, coaching focuses on a specific way of “learning” for the executive. It is believed that “the more an individual is involved in identifying problems, in working out and applying solutions for them and in reviewing results, the more complete and the more long-lasting the learning is. This form of self-improvement tends to bring about learning with a deeper understanding than learning that is taught.” Given the right circumstances, one-on-one interaction with an objective third party, who is not tied to the organization or other executive or company influences, can provide a focus that other forms of organizational support cannot. Coaching develops the leader in “real time” within the context of their current job while allowing them to maintain their day-to-day responsibilities.
“Unlike therapy, which goes into depth about various issues usually dealing with the past and consulting which generally results in giving the client answers, coaching is more action-oriented and focuses primarily on the present and future.” Coaching focuses on what the client wants and utilizes a process through the one-on-one coaching sessions to enable the client to self-discover, learn and determine their own “answers”. It is the client who determines the goals and commits to their goal, while allowing the coach to help hold them accountable.
Executive coaching is for a minimum of six months up to one year. The focus is to identify and prioritize developmental issues and goals with an action plan. The coach will collect data through various sources such as client questionnaire, a 360 degree feedback, and/or other assessments such as Myers-Briggs, Strength Finders, etc. The coach is responsible for working with the executive to determine the plan, its implementation and subsequent follow-up. The coach also lends support to the client in addressing and focusing on strategic issues of the organization, while simultaneously addressing personal developmental issues.
Levels of Executive Coaching
Executive coaching involves three levels of learning:
- Tactical problem solving
- Developing leadership capabilities and new ways of thinking and acting that generalize to other situations and roles
- “Learning how to learn”: developing skills and habits of self-reflection that ensure that learning will continue after coaching ends.
The third level is an important and sometimes overlooked goal of coaching. Its aims are to eliminate an executive’s long-term dependency on his coach and teach habits of learning and self-reflection that will last a lifetime, enabling him to keep developing throughout his career.
Difference in coaching, Mentoring, Consulting and Therapy:
The table below shows comprehensively how coaching differs from other forms of training / learning.
Why organizations choose executive Coaching
There is broad consensus on the purpose of coaching – four out of the five leading reasons given were connected with providing benefits for individuals. Organizations are more likely to engage in coaching for personal development (53%) than improving specific areas of performance (26%). Good coaching should be a facilitative process, with an emphasis on unlocking capabilities through guiding and questioning, rather than on teaching or instructing. As such, it is as much to do with personal skills as it is business and workplace skills. The research, however, suggests that the focus at present is skewed towards the latter – more organizations (95%) use coaching to focus on business and workplace skills than on personal skills (70%). The scope of the coaching provided appears to be linked to selection of coaches. When line managers are used to coach people who report to them, they tend to focus the coaching on business and workplace skills. But when organizations use internal coaches who are not line managers, they are more likely to say that coaching focuses equally on business and workplace skills and personal skills (76% vs 59% of those that use line managers). Organizations that only use external coaches are more likely than those that only use internal coaches to say that the coaching focuses more broadly – covering business and workplace skills and personal skills (78% vs 59%). The findings reveal that, where coaching has a broad focus, organizations are more likely to invest in it. Once again, these findings highlight the need to provide the appropriate training and development for coaches sourced from inside and outside the organization. Following shows division of for which executive coaching is used.
Individual – for general personal development 53%
Individual – to improve a specific area of performance 26%
Training and development – as part of a wider management or 21% leadership development programs.
Individual – to provide development for senior management 19%
Individual – to enable progression within an organization 12%
Organization – to support achievement of specific 12% organizational objectives/aims
Individual – to address a specific behavioral issue 8%
Individual – to provide support after a change in 6% position or responsibilities
Individual – to provide support to new employees 5%
Organization – to support organizational or transformational change 4%
Individual – to engage with or address individual employee concerns 2%
Don’t know 1%
Types of Executive Coaching
Personal/Life Coaching: The personal/life coach helps individuals gain awareness of and clarify their personal goals and priorities, better understand their thoughts, feelings, and options, and take appropriate actions to change their lives, accomplish their goals, and feel more fulfilled.
Career Coaching: The career coach helps individuals identify what they want and need from their career, then make decisions and take the needed actions to accomplish their career objectives in balance with the other parts of their lives.
Group Coaching: Group coaches work with individuals in groups. The focus can range from leadership development to career development, stress management to team building. Group coaching combines the benefits of individual coaching with the resources of groups. Individuals learn from each other and the interactions that take place within the group setting.
Performance Coaching: Performance coaches help employees at all levels better understand the requirements of their jobs, the competencies needed to fulfill those requirements, any gaps in their current performance, and opportunities to improve performance. Coaches then work with the employees, their bosses, and others in their workplace to help the employees fill performance gaps and develop plans for further professional development.
Newly Assigned Leader Coaching: Coaches of individuals assigned or hired into new leadership roles help these leaders to “onboard”. The goal of the coaching is to clarify with the leader’s key constituents the most important responsibilities of her new role, her deliverables in the first few months of the new assignment, and ways to integrate the team she will lead with the organization. The major focus of this type of coaching is on helping the new leader to assimilate and achieve her business objectives.
Relationship Coaching: The relationship coach helps two or more people to form, change, or improve their interactions. The context can be work, personal, or other settings. High-Potential or
Developmental Coaching: The coach works with organizations to develop the potential of individuals who have been identified as key to the organization’s future or are part of the organization’s succession plan. The focus of the coaching may include assessment, competency development, or assistance planning and implementing strategic projects.
Coaching to Provide Feedback Debriefing and Development Planning Organizations that use assessment or 360 feedback processes often utilize coaches to help employees interpret the results of their assessments and feedback. In addition, coaches work with individuals to make career decisions and establish professional development plans based on feedback, assessment results, and other relevant data.
Targeted Behavioral Coaching: Coaches who provide targeted behavioral coaching help individuals to change specific behaviors or habits or learn new, more effective ways to work and interact with others. This type of coaching often helps individuals who are otherwise very successful in their current jobs or are taking on new responsibilities that require a change in specific behaviors.
Legacy Coaching: The legacy coach helps leaders who are retiring from a key role to decide on the legacy they would like to leave behind. The coach also provides counsel on transitioning out of the leadership role.
Succession Coaching: The succession coach helps assess potential candidates for senior management positions and prepares them for promotion to more senior roles. This type of coaching may be used in any organization that is experiencing growth or turnover in its leadership ranks. It is especially helpful in family businesses to maintain the viability of the firm. Since assessment is often part of this intervention, clear expectations and ground rules for confidentiality are essential. It may be necessary in some companies to use separate consultants for assessment and coaching.
New trends in executive Coaching
Workplace dynamics have dramatically changed over the past two decades. Globalization, increased competition and regulations, emerging technologies in the cloud, global connectivity and social media, evolving workforce demographics, and a shorter shelf life of knowledge have not only shrunk world borders but have also all converged to make the workplace more fluid, complex, and ambiguous. These sweeping changes may have unleashed the need for a new breed of leaders with new skills and competencies. Gone are the days of superhero CEOs who swooped down to rescue organizations. Globalization and inter- and intra-connectedness have destroyed the cult of the hero-leader and made it mandatory for organizations to develop leadership capabilities throughout the organization.
Businesses today operate in an environment where the pace of work will continue to accelerate, talent will be the single most important factor in driving competitive advantage, and the skills and capabilities needed tomorrow may not exist today. This focus on talent and human capital in an evolving business environment has also been the primary and most critical challenge that CEOs globally have identified. This was the most important insight to emerge from the responses of 729 CEOs and presidents from across the globe to the 2013 edition of The Conference Board CEO Challenge survey.
Executive coaching is a growing industry around the world, particularly for leadership development. More than 70% of formal leadership development programs in organizations use some sort of coaching. it’s not just for the C-suite; one survey stated that coaches spend almost half of their time serving managers at all levels of the organization, not just top-level management. Moreover, coaching is becoming a world-wide phenomenon. Coaching as an industry is growing on the entire continents. Coaching is also becoming increasingly important in Asia with its growing economic and business prominence on the global scene. Given this popularity, coaching models, tools, training and other resources abound. Even so, not enough has been learned about what makes a coaching process an effective one. A key variable in the success of any coaching engagement is what training and practices coaches use with their clients. But what exactly are those practices that result in success? What practices do coaches believe work best to bring about positive results?
Organization believe that when executives reach at certain level or at senior positions, they encounter personal and organizational challenges of increased pressure, inspire and leading big teams, sharpen his skills and have all the answers. In actuality, they can eventually get there on their own but the engagement of a qualified executive coach will exponentially increase not only the time it takes for the executive to get there but also the ability for the executive and the company to sustain the change.
Engagement of coach in organization provides enhanced executives learning better relationships, improved work life balance, increased business results and increased leadership effectiveness. In the process, not only do executives improve themselves but substantially have a greater impact on their organization. Benefits to the organization include enhanced individual and organizational performance which positively affect organizational culture. These further provide enhanced reputation within the industry, improved employee morale, and positive work environments, thus greater productivity and enhanced client relationships.
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