"I have a theory that it is not good to give people the truth. The thing to do is to help them to discover the truth about themselves for themselves" Maslow
Are you wondering whether you’d benefit from executive coaching - but you’re not entirely sure what is it or how it works? Or whether it could be good for your professional and personal development? Well, hopefully, this blog will answer your questions.
Executive and Leadership Coaching
Executive coaching - also synonymous with "leadership coaching" - is typically considered to be (or confused with) training, mentoring, therapy/counseling, and consulting. But it's none of these things. If you’re receiving executive coaching but your coach is in the business of advising, telling, fixing, or recommending, chances are you aren’t working with a coach, you are working with a trainer, mentor, therapist, or consultant.
So you might be wondering then, what is an executive coach? If it's not the above, what is it?
Here is the simple answer - executive coaching is facilitating the access of an individual or team’s internal and external resources to realising an agreed well-formed outcome of evolution.
But what does that really mean?
Coaching is facilitating (the act of making easy or easier) the access of an individual or team’s (people working together to achieve a common goal) internal (Thinking, knowledge, feeling, ‘attitude’ mind-body-emotion states) and external (time, money, support, other people, systems and environments) resources to realising an agreed well-formed (sensory-specific with evidence) outcome or evolution (leading to new attitudes, learning, and new choices in cognitive and behavioral flexibility).
How is that different from the other methodologies listed above?
Executive coaching is not about fixing problems
Executive coaching is not remedial. It’s about generating potential, excellence, and peak performance on the inside (thoughts, feelings, beliefs) and outside (behaviors) of an individual or team, in the face of all of the business - including its issues and its possibilities. Executive Coaching awakens, disturbs, challenges, and stretches a person or team to unleash more and more potential talents and possibilities. It is highly confrontative, direct, and explicit whilst being non-judgemental.
Executive coaching is about facilitating your expertise, not the coach’s
Executive coaching is about facilitating the client’s excellence. It is a dialogue of colleagues and involves interdependent roles. It’s about co-inventing the right solution with the client in real-time dialogue. It’s about knowing what to do when, with whom, and why. It’s about being able to search for the why and how when something doesn’t work in the realisation that there’s a structure for it and finding that structure puts us in charge.
Executive coaching is facilitation, not advice-giving
Executive coaching is a conversation that explores without judgment how a person or team performs a task, an emotion, a belief, a relationship, a business, or a life. It’s a fierce conversation that gets to the heart of things, to the heart of a person’s frames of meaning - to their beliefs, world view, self-view, view of others. It’s a conversation that invites heightened self-awareness and paradigm shifts.
Executive coaching is clean feedback, not evaluative
An executive coach listens in order to give the cleanest and purest sensory-based feedback so that a person can see him or herself as if in a mirror. An executive coach sees, detects, and identifies patterns in behavior and thinking and then offers insightful questions and explorations so that the person can see and discover their own leverage points and make the changes they are ready to make.
So that’s what executive coaching is. Now you may be asking do I need an executive coach? Here’s a quick checklist to see if it's for you.
- Want a process that will help you to evolve by shifting your (or your team’s) inner game, frames of meaning, underlying beliefs, values, and thinking patterns, that govern your behaviors and how you relate to others and the world?
- Want an environment that will enable you to facilitate your own evolution?
- Have the ego strength to face what is in the world?
- Show up as fully able to be an adult in thinking, feeling, accepting, and responsibility?
- Not need “fixing” or any remedial solutions, but want generative change?
- Embrace change, want it, plan for it, get excited about it?
- Show up as proactive, open, disclosing, and self-aware?
If you said yes to any three or more of the above, then it may be worth your time having a conversation with an executive coach that meets the criteria in this article.
If so, there are many to be found and the search alone can be daunting. There’s online executive coaching, executive coaching courses, face-to-face, group coaching - just to name a few. Whatever avenue works best for you, my most important recommendation is to meet and spend an hour with the coach you are considering working with before making any commitment.
Most reputable coaches will offer a free consultation, the better ones will offer at least 30 minutes so that both you and the coach can assess if you are right for each other. Are you ready to experience coaching?
Book your obligation-free 30-minute Exploratory Coaching session now.
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