Ultimate outcomes of coaching expectationsBy Marshall Brown
Question: I have been thinking about hiring an exec coach. What should I expect and what will be the outcome(s)?
As for what you should expect, that really depends on what you decide to bring to the coaching relationship. Remember, it's your agenda, not the coach's. I can tell you that an effective exec coach should provide:
Ongoing inquiry for you (the client) to create your own
Encouragement and accountability for you (the exec); and
Ways for you to enhance awareness of your unique strengths, skills and abilities to improve your mgmt and leadership talents.
In addition, it should be a team approach that will help you eliminate obstacles that might be draining your time and energy. You and your coach should develop a plan to make your life the way you want it to be.
Coaching is effective
"The Exec Coaching Project," a recent study, by CompassPoint and the Sylvia Yee, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, underscored "the need to develop various strategies for supporting and retaining leadership talent in the nonprofit sector. Exec dirs are called upon to be strong mgrs, strategic thinkers, reflective philosophers, successful fundraisers, public speakers and inspirational leaders. Key recommendations included recognizing leadership and mgmt skills as essential assets for organizations – assets that must be strengthened and sustained."
The project studied 24 exec dirs over one year. The report concluded that "coaching has much to offer exec dirs in their professional and personal development, including increased confidence in exercising leadership, improved ability to connect with the organization's vision and better relationships with staff and boards."
Setting expectations for outcomes
Having said all that, what does it mean? What should you expect, and how should you be able to benefit from hiring an exec coach? I can't speak for all coaches, but I can tell you that in my experience, coaches have helped clients develop and accomplish strategic plans, enhance decision-making abilities, and lead more efficient and productive lives.
Coaches work with clients to recognize their weak points and build on their strengths. Coaches could also help execs deal with difficult people and work situations, meet sales goals or more effectively communicate. Often a coach will use an assessment tool as a benchmark or a starting point, to evaluate strengths and determine success.As for outcomes, as with most things in life, it depends on what you put into it. If you are willing to take some risks, look at various options and perspectives, and assess what is really important to you in your career, then you will gain from your coaching relationship. I wish you all the best and here's to great new insights for you (and your organization)!