What is executive coaching?
An executive coach is a qualified professional that works with individuals (usually executives, but often high potential employees) to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, achieve their development objectives, unlock their potential, and act as a sounding board.
They are not consultants or therapists (although many have consulting or therapist backgrounds) and usually refrain from giving advice or solving their client’s problems. Instead, they ask questions to help an executive clarify and solve their own problems.
What Exactly Do Executive Coaches Do?
Executive coaches provide a confidential and supportive sounding board to their clients. They ask questions, challenge assumptions, help provide clarity, provide resources, and yes, sometimes, with permission, provide advice. They often administer and help interpret 360-degree and behavioural assessments, conduct confidential interviews to help a client gain self-awareness, and establish development goals.
Why it’s not a bad idea.
At the core of any executive coaching the question is: “How do we improve in the face of complexity?” Atul Gawande (Surgeon and public health professor by day, writer by night) has studied this question with a surgeon’s precision. He shares what he’s found to be the key: having a good coach to provide a more accurate picture of our reality, to instill positive habits of thinking, and to break our actions down and then help us build them back up again. “It’s not how good you are now; it’s how good you’re going to be that really matters,” Gawande says.