Marielena Sabatier, executive coach and founder of Inspiring Potential, looks at why businesses should consider executive coaching in 2016.
January is a time when many business leaders plan how they will improve their own performance and re-energise their business and their workforce. One of the ways to do this is though executive coaching.
A recent report entitled, ‘Coaching: A Global Study of Successful Practices – Current Trends and Future Possibilities 2008-2018’ commissioned by the American Management Association highlighted an expanding interest in companies using executive coaching worldwide to improve people’s performance.
A number of other factors are also influencing the rising popularity of executive coaching. Firstly, there is increased pressure on leaders and their teams with increased regulation, scrutiny and the need to be more accountable and transparent. According to Harvard Business Review, two out of five CEOs fail in the first 18 months and being a CEO can be a lonely and isolated role. An executive coach can be a confidant and a sounding board – helping a leader evaluate their options and make the best decisions.
Another driver is the fact that baby boomers are retiring or due to retire, so there is a need for good succession planning and to develop the next generation of leaders. Executive coaching can prepare people for promotion, broadening their skills, self-awareness and confidence.
Talent retention is another key driver as executive coaching can improve people’s motivation and engagement. A company that invests in coaching is demonstrating that it believes in its employees, values their contribution and cares about their happiness at work. In turn, this can make employees more motivated to make a difference, more fulfilled in their roles and more committed to the company.
Here are some of the main benefits of executive coaching:
Self-awareness and confidence
Coaching helps managers learn more about themselves because it shines a light on how people behave and identifies their strengths and weaknesses. This leads to improved self-awareness and increased confidence and tends to lead to people behaving more authentically and communicating more effectively with their teams and colleagues.
It also helps people become aware of any self-limiting beliefs that could be holding them back from reaching their full potential.
Denis E. Waitley, a motivational speaker and writer, consultant and best-selling author once said, “If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.” This is true across all areas of life, but it is especially important in the workplace. Executive coaching helps empower beliefs.
Empowering beliefs gives people confidence and this is good for both the individual and the colleagues around them. Negativity and not believing in ones ideas means they are set up to fail from the start.
Improved leadership skills
Coaching can help people become better leaders by developing their communication skills and emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand and manage emotions of self and others. People with high emotional intelligence can recognise their own emotional state and the emotional state of others. They can use the understanding of emotions to relate better, manage better and achieve greater success.
Learning how to become more self-aware, managing impulses and having empathy is important for anyone who wants to become a better leader at work and it’s becoming increasingly important that people use their emotional intelligence as a business tool for success.
Clear direction and purpose
Investing in coaching will make people feel they add value, helping them to feel more motivated which in turn leads to greater fulfilment. It can help align people’s values and goals which can be particularly positive at the start of the year as people plan ahead.
Business leaders that want to increase productivity, get more commitment from their staff and motivate them, improve communication and minimise conflict in the workplace should consider executive coaching as one of the best investments they could make in 2016.
Tips on choosing an executive coach
For executive coaching to be truly effective the client must trust the coach to open up and reveal more themselves in order to get the most out of the coaching experience, and the executive coach must have the experience, skills and tools to create passion purpose and results. Here are some tips for choosing a coach:
- Corporate experience – a coach must have a real understanding of what it’s like to work in a large corporate environment, although which sector this is in is not so important.
- Coaching experience and qualifications are a must, you’d like a coach to have enough experience to add value.
- Chemistry – people must trust their coach and trust is often built up over time as they work together on a regular basis.
- Confidentiality – people must feel confident they can confide in their coach and that this will always be confidential. Break this and trust will be lost.
- Challenge and support – a coach must be prepared to challenge, but also support people – a mix of challenge of empathy is needed in equal doses.