Coaching is a powerful, confidential partnership between client and coach, a customized approach to the client’s professional and personal development, to achieve the goals set by the client.   Leadership coaching is recognized as one of the most effective ways to develop the skills leaders and managers need today.

Executive and leadership coaching are for competent, high-performing people who want to expand their leadership capabilities.

Typically, clients seek leadership coaching when they wish to acquire additional leadership skills, are undertaking a new role, or are making their way through a challenging transition period or problem.

You may want to work with a coach when:

  • You’ve taken the management classes, you’ve read the leadership books, and you know what you want to do, but you’re having a hard time doing it.
  • You’ve just been promoted to a leadership or management role, and the type of work that got you to this position is not what will make you successful now.
  • You’ve received feedback at work (perhaps a “360”), and you’ve discovered some aspects of your performance that you’d like to develop further.
  • You are working with one or more managers, team members, or colleagues, and the relationship isn’t going the way you think it should.
  • You’ve been working for a long time, and you feel “stuck” in some way.

Coaching is Like. . .

You can think about coaching as a catalyst–the coaching relationship is to professional and personal development what a catalyst is to a chemical reaction.  You also can think of a leadership coach as a personal trainer–a personal trainer for your professional life.

Coaching for Individuals and Teams

Most coaching is individual, with the client and coach the only two people in the conversation.  Coaching conversations for individuals can be conducted either in person or on the phone.

Sometimes organizations adopt team coaching, to develop the effectiveness of a group in achieving both team and individual goals.  Team coaching is conducted in a group setting, with the coach in the room.

Coaching provides focused time, a quiet space, a trustworthy face, and a trained ear

Key elements of a productive coaching relationship include:   dedicated time, usually 60-90 minutes of private and confidential conversation at a time, when the client and coach focus totally on the client and the outcomes the client wants to achieve;  powerful questions posed by the coach;  candor and engagement on the part of the client and coach; deep listening on the part of the coach; the use of “tools” and exercises tailored to the individual client by the coach.

The length of coaching engagements varies, depending on the client’s goals and available time.  Usually a coaching engagement extends over 10-12 conversations, with a conversation held every two weeks.  The specifics of a coaching relationship are developed jointly by the client and the coach, to meet the needs and circumstances of the client.

Reference Works About Executive and Leadership Coaching:

The International Coach Federation (ICF) establishes standards for coaching, certifies coaching programs and coaches, and provides opportunities for continuing education in the coaching field, including the annual ICF conference.  The ICF’s code of ethics can be found at the ICF Website.

The Sherpa Institute conducts an annual survey on executive coaching that documents the ways in which organizations are using executive coaching and national trends in the coaching field.  See the latest coaching survey and past surveys at the Sherpa website.

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