Five Ways Executive Coaching Can Help You

Executive coaching is a growing trend that’s helping executives become stronger communicators, effective team players and respected leaders. In this global economy, it’s no longer enough for executives to get teams to meet sales goals or income projections. They have to be effective leaders who know how to communicate with their employees and garner trust and respect.

David Lewis, CEO and co-founder of Pinnacle Performance Company, a Chicago-based communication skills training firm explains how executive coaching helps professionals and outlines situations where executive coaches can benefit company leaders.

Sometimes an executive has reached that level by virtue of their performance expertise and knowledge, not necessarily because of people or leadership skills. Executive coaches can develop an executive’s ability to delegate and to trust others to support his team and receive support in return. As with any service, due diligence is crucial. “Ask peers for referrals and seek out a specialist for your particular needs, not just a jack-of- all-trades,” Lewis says.

What are a few common situations where an executive coach can help?

 

  1. Company Transitions

Leading your team through a transition–whether it’s a merger and acquisition or a product/service shift–can be tricky. For instance, even if your product has gone through a multi-year rebranding and your team is involved and on board, there’s always a chance that plans will change. If you can’t convince your team that the new focus is better, there could be integrity and morale problems. A coach can help iron out strategies and performance plans–as well as an effective way for you to present them–so the team understands the company’s new focus and how the team will benefit.

 

  1. Cultural awareness

It’s crucial to understand team and vendor cultures. “Paying attention to detail and punctuality in Europe is different than it is in Japan. Understanding [both] cultures creates a global message to put everyone on the same page,” Lewis says. Culture also extends to generational team members. Hiring millennials, for example, takes a different skill set than hiring more mature employees. Detailed information about the job and its full responsibilities must be clearly conveyed so that all employees completely understand what is required of them, no matter the age spread. Executive coaches can give you perspective on how to effectively hire, motivate and retain the best people for your team.

 

  1. Executive Transitions

An executive who is up for a promotion or is newly promoted has more responsibility right from the first day on the job. “They are frequently in situations where their predecessors have moved on or things are moving so quickly that there’s no time to learn the new job. A coach who has experience in your area allows you to hit the ground running,” Lewis says. The executive can focus on what he needs to do to improve the job, staff and the company (and put out fires) while the coach takes on more mundane tasks, such as corporate reporting. She then can train the executive as time permits.

 

  1. Objective peer review

Coaches can be effective, unbiased sounding boards for executives’ self-awareness, leadership abilities and communication skills. “For example, in smaller companies, it’s relatively easy for executives to solicit and implement suggestions from their teams. In larger companies, executives might not have that freedom or they might not want to ruffle feathers. A coach can help to fine tune them and present only the best to top-level bosses,” Lewis says.

 

  1. Unbiased career coaching

If an executive is in a dead-end job, sharing his frustration with a peer or team member will likely result in office gossip, not an effective solution. A coach can help executives deal with those feelings and help them understand alternative solutions and options-whether that means moving on or shifting priorities within the existing job. In this case, the executive might need to bear the cost of a coach himself unless his company has already retained one.

 

Shelley Moench-Kelly

Shelley Moench-Kelly, MBA, is a Vermont-based writer and editor. Freelance clients include Google, L’Oréal Paris, MedEsthetics magazine and www.TheWeek.com.

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