When you’re in an executive position, it can be difficult to maintain your objectivity. Even if you have a management team you trust, it’s not always easy to see what’s happening around you. Getting outside expertise from an objective source can help you grow personally and professionally.
Businesses spend a lot of time and money training and helping their employees improve. Executive coaching provides a proactive way to improve your executive skill set to maximise your performance and minimise blind spots.
What Is Executive Coaching?
An executive coach is an experienced and qualified professional that works with executives on career development. It may include business coaching and leadership coaching, but the focus will be on helping you achieve your goals.
Executive coaches help others to improve their self-awareness, and people skills, and develop strategies to move businesses forward.
Executive coaching can play a pivotal role in a company’s success. Companies that invest in business coaching see an average of seven times their investment in ROI, according to a Price Waterhouse Coopers study. A quarter of companies investing in coaching report ROIs ranging from 10X to 49X.
Finding An Executive Coach
Whether you want business coaching, leadership coaching, career development, or all of the above, investing in an executive coach is a personal decision. It will be an important decision for you and your business, so choose wisely.
Here are the top traits you should require when engaging an executive coach.
The 10 Traits To Look For In An Executive Coach
- Strong Communicator and Presenter
- Exceptional Listener
- Innately Curious
- Passionate about Coaching
- Able to Grasp Concepts Quickly
- Experienced Coach
- Focused on Results
- Cultural Fit
1. Strong Communicator and Presenter
An executive coach will help you develop and articulate your business vision and values.
They should be able to clearly articulate their ideas and concepts as well. They should be able to work one-on-one or comfortable presenting in a group. The coach you choose should be able to speak with confidence in formal and informal situations.
2. Exceptional Listener
They should also be exceptionally good listeners and ask lots of questions.
Listening skills are one of the most important aspects of business coaching. The job of the coach is to hear both what you’re saying and what’s not being said. Listening can lead to insights and solutions that might otherwise be out of your grasp. Some of the best insights will come from asking the right questions.
3. Innately Curious
The best executive coaches are life-long learners. Businesses evolve. Strategies and techniques need to evolve as well to deal with changes in competitors and markets. Coaches need to evolve as well. If they are not investing in their personal growth and development, they likely will struggle to help you grow.
4. Passionate About Coaching
Executive coaching is not a job. It’s more of a calling. They are passionate about what they do and take pride in the results they’ve helped achieve. It’s not about ego; it’s about helping others grow and achieve their potential.
One of the key traits great leaders need is self-awareness. To be able to help executives in this area, your coach will need to self-aware themselves. They need to have an accurate assessment of how their actions and personality will impact those around them.
Trust is one of the foundational building blocks for any healthy relationship. For executive coaching to be effective, you’re going to have to be honest about your concerns and shortcomings. You need to work with someone you can trust will always have your best interests at heart.
7. Able to Grasp Concepts Quickly
You don’t have time to teach someone your business. You need someone that is a quick learner and can rapidly pick up concepts. They should be able to take complex ideas and processes and dissect them.
Executive coaches need to navigate business dynamics and provide effective insights.
8. Experienced at Coaching
Just because they are experienced in business doesn’t mean they will make great coaches. Executive coaching is different than business coaching.
It’s important that leadership coaches have experience in career development. Beyond their business or industry acumen, they need to have a proven track record of helping others grow.
9. Focused on Results
As a leader, you create cohesive teams, provide a vision for team members, and motivate them to perform at high levels. Ultimately, your job depends on getting results. The right executive coach will also be focused on your results. They are only successful if you are successful in achieving your goals.
When interviewing potential coaches, listen for how they describe results. Is it about what they did or is it about what the executives they worked with accomplished? You want to work with someone that judges their work based on the difference it made in others.
10. Cultural Fit
Every leader and every business is different. While there are certainly similarities, off-the-shelf solutions aren’t going to work. Your coach should be willing to create a customised development plan based on your goals and your company’s culture.
Ask The Tough Questions
When interviewing executive coaches, don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. You are making an important investment and picking someone that will help advise you and make you a better leader. They will have a significant role in your future, so you want to be sure they are the right fit for you.