Executive Coaching is defined as a helping relationship formed between a client who has managerial authority and responsibility in an organization and a consultant who uses a wide variety of behavioral techniques and methods to help the client achieve a mutually identified set of goals to improve his / her professional performance and personal satisfaction and consequently to improve the client's organization within a formally defined coaching agreement (Richard R. Kilburg, 2007).
Executive coaching helps executives to learn and to make best use of learning in order to bring about effective action, performance improvement, personal growth and better business results for the organization. Therefore, Executive Coaching is primarily concerned with designing and facilitating change and continuous improvement. As such, it involves understanding and leveraging on an individual's strengths, as well as recognizing and overcoming his or her weaknesses.
Executive coaching is typically a series of one-on-one interactions designed to meet the individual needs of the coachee, but generally focuses on personal awareness and targeted skills to improve work performance. It is a process to provide executives with valid information enabling them to make well informed choices.
Executive coaching recognizes that no two executives are alike and that each person has a unique knowledge base, learning pace and personality style. It is a consultative relationship-based service provided by coaches who serve as sounding boards and it is ultimately about moving the executive towards increased versatility and effectiveness.
*Zeus Perry and Skiffington Suzanne, The complete guide to coaching at work, McGraw Hill, Australia, 2000.
**Richard R. Kilburg and Richard C. Diedrich, The Wisdom of Coaching - Essential Papers in Consulting Psychology for a World of Change, American Psychological Association, 2007.
Typical Coaching Needs
Executive coaching can provide enormous benefits in both problem resolution and personal development. Improved functioning of executives creates benefits for them, for their teams and for their entire organization – including bottom-line business results.
Some of the typical needs of a leader/organization that coaching helps address normally includes the following:
Coaching to help senior leaders realize their optimum potential
When leaders get into higher roles that are far more complex than what they were handling, they need help. Despite being exceptional in their demonstrated competencies and accomplishments, they might need help in preparing themselves to go to the next higher level. For people who have been promoted or who are new to their roles, executive and business coaching can prove to be an extremely effective support mechanism.
Coaching for behavioural change and personal effectiveness
Most leaders want to improve their level of effectiveness and also learn to demonstrate a much more versatile style of leadership given the challenging multi-cultural environment in which they work. This task becomes achievable, if such leaders, partner with a coach.
Coaching for taking your business to the next level of growth
Entrepreneurs and leaders quite often look to developing and expanding their business capabilities to take their business to the next level. This can include acquisition of new business competencies, development of new business perspectives and the ability to solve business problems much more comprehensively for which the need for coaching assumes significance.
Coaching as an important leadership development intervention
Organizations constantly make available leadership development opportunities for their employees with potential and promise. These leadership development initiatives include a variety of interventions ranging from conceptual inputs to structured feedback. To get the best value out of this investment and make the process complete, organizations constantly look forward to assign an executive coach to their chosen leaders so that he / she is able to build new perspectives, challenge his / her own thinking and learn to demonstrate new behavior.