What is Executive Coaching?
Coaching is a form of consulting. Like a consultant a coach helps you to improve your performance through:
- Opening new interpretations, seeing new approaches and building new practices
- Helping you articulate goals and design a plan of action
- Building new conversational skills and behaviors for relationship and action
- Increased self awareness and emotional intelligence
- Staying centered and grounded
- Creating trust and credibility with managers, peers and clients
- Raising the performance bar for self and others
- Producing ongoing assessment and continuous learning.
What type of goals and skills can a coach help me achieve?
New practices for managing and mobilizing others through:
- Listening to evoke trust, authenticity and credibility
- Improving your capacity to handle greater complexity, volume and speed
- Using language to generate new possibilities, make assessments, create action and get results
- Speaking in a way to enroll, mobilize and gain commitment
Building the presence of a leader:
- Staying present, open and centered in the midst of stress, uncertainty and change
- Responding instead of reacting
- Influencing individuals and groups
- Creating trust and credibility non-verbally
- Producing consistent customer satisfaction
- Leveraging your energy
Create the space for others to flourish:
- Listening for the best in others and then providing acknowledgement and support
- Making assessments and giving feedback that produce change, trust and action
- Expanding the capability and capacity of your clients and your team
- Creating and managing a mood of success and ambition.
Why does coaching work?
Coaching works because it builds on your strengths. By being aware of your weaknesses while focusing on bringing out your best, together we can build on your natural, authentic momentum and effectiveness. As an already successful professional, there is more leverage in fostering your strengths and abilities. We believe that people are only tapping a small part of their potential – our coaching is designed to better leverage your energy, skills, desires and human capability.
A coach believes that for the most part you have good insight to yourself and have many of the answers you need already. The coach works with you as guide to expand that self-awareness and discover what is most fruitful and satisfying for you. The coach acts as a committed listener to help you expand your possibilities, grow your capabilities and help you produce what you want for yourself and others.
How do you do coaching?
My approach is simple, but takes many forms as I build a partnership with each individual client. My main role as a coach is to help my clients move to a higher level of self-realization and expression of who they authentically are. As this happens they gain more choice and flexibility, which in turn produces greater power to act in the world to take care of what is important to them, their team and the business.
We all have gifts and talents to give to the world, but we are sometimes unable to see what they are – and sometimes need outside help to discover that for ourselves. I have learned that people who act out of what they truly care about and what really gets them passionate are those who make a difference in the world and who are alive, purposeful and fulfilled. A good coach in business, performance arts or sports is able to help each client see, get in touch with and manifest that self generated passion for them. While coaching is ultimately aimed at improving one’s performance, I believe that this happens most effectively and efficiently within a framework of revealing one’s passion to oneself and others.
To allow this to happen requires that I, as a coach, help my clients open new levels of awareness about themselves, their relationships and the world around them.
1 – Listen to what satisfaction looks and feels like
So, first, I listen to my clients to understand what they see, what their professional and personal concerns are and what according to them would make them more satisfied. I listen to what they consider their strengths and weaknesses and what behaviors need to be strengthened or added and which need to be reduced or eliminated. In our early sessions we will mutually define what success looks like for you so that we are agreed upon our mutual satisfaction. The coaching needs to have a result that we can both observe or measure. This might be a building a new capability, completing a challenging project, gaining more responsibility, producing a result you do not think possible or producing a new identity with your manager, client or peers.
2 – Observe with new awareness
Based on this understanding, I can then help them see or observe some new aspect or dimension about themselves that is currently out of their consciousness. Each of us is blind or unaware to some part of our life or how we show up. Seeing ourselves through other’s eyes. Tools such as 360’s, performance reviews, leadership assessments, etc. are helpful and necessary. However, we also need to understand that we each unknowingly operate with certain assumptions, strategies or constructs that shape our world. In that world only certain possibilities or actions are available to us. Often we have inherited or created that space or those strategies based on what has worked for us in the past.
Most coaching occurs when people (or others) are either dissatisfied with their current performance or they are moving into a new arena of responsibility. This when the old approaches, strategies and perspectives must be re-examined. I help my clients observe the shape and nature of their current operating space and together we determine which dimensions will serve them in future, which will not and what new strategies will be needed. At the same time I am helping them gain the perspective to keep doing this for themselves as their professional and personal lives evolve.
Shifting one’s perspective, powerful as it is, is not enough to consistently produce new levels of performance, authenticity or power. Learning new competences is about being able to produce new results.
3 – Develop and Embody New Practices for New Results
The third step in my approach is to develop a program of new practices or recurrent behaviors so that each client begins to embody the new understandings and insights. With each client I design a certain set of practices that is suited to him or her that, when practiced, will begin shaping their behaviors and strengthen their self-awareness in ways that reinforce the new more useful strategies. Over time we share the results of these new practices and sometimes make modifications as certain behaviors take hold or others become even more challenging. Because people are not predictable machines, this process of learning and growing is never linear. At the same time we can and do track progress. Periodically I also check with the client’s manager or peers to see how they are showing up in their community. I also use these indicators in shaping the assigned practices.
4 – New possibilities and more effective actions
Over time the client becomes more aware of his or her thoughts and mental patterns and how these ongoing, automatic, internal conversations influence their beliefs and actions. Slowly they are also able to move the new behaviors from a conscious level to an unconscious level. Essentially we develop together a new default or automatic behavior that better serves the person, her or his team and is more in alignment with who they are and what they care about. The result is someone who is not only more competent, but more self-aware and self-realized and who is in a condition to keep leading their own growth and expansion.
What happens in a session?
During a coaching session I will:
I will listen fully because you are the focus. I listen to what you say, what you are trying to say and what you are not saying. I help you listen to yourself. You will provide a report or update with a general assessment about yourself, your work and your mood since we talked last time. You will report on what you and doing, how your learning is progressing, what shift you may have seen, and what is working for and what is not. You will report on any results or accomplishments you have achieved. You will share any insights, observations, questions or concerns you currently have.
After you have fully reported or communicated, we will set a direction or theme for the conversation. We will decide together how I can be of most help. I will respond with my observations, provide advice, introduce new distinctions, and offer new interpretations on your situation, dilemma or opportunity.
Acknowledge and Endorse
Everyone needs a knowledgeable outside voice full of endorsement compassion and acknowledgement. Not someone to say nice things, but as someone who knows what it takes to try something new, to stretch yourself and to achieve.
I want a lot for you. I want you to be satisfied, fulfilled and healthy. I want you to have solid, rewarding relationships and be making a contribution to what you care about in the world. I want you to have a life that inspires others –and yourself. Part of my job is to be three steps ahead of you, yet be with you. As such, I make assessments, suggestions and requests. And, you are the client.
“If it is to be, it is up to me.” The true value of a coach is to be able to produce new insights, fresh possibilities, expanded capabilities and new action in his/her clients. That only happens through you taking new action, seeing what happens and learning from it. Every coaching session will complete with some assignment that you and agree that you will complete by the next session. This may include reading an article or chapters in a book; it may include having conversations with someone; it may include developing and doing some new practices that are needed to help you achieve some new level of performance. I will ask for a progress report at the next session and possibly in between sessions. We will keep the assignments relevant to the overall coaching goals.