The use of executive coaches has become far more common over the past 30 years. If you are thinking about using the services of an executive coach, here’s how to get the most out of the experience…
Just because you have worked your way up the leadership ladder doesn’t mean you can’t do with some help. And that’s where executive coaches come in. While the staff in your team may still be offered training and coaching, it’s important that as a leader you are also continuing to develop and grow.
Executive coaches work with leaders to help them make the most of their potential, to identify their goals, improve their skills and skillsets and to ensure they continue to be stretched and challenged. This prevents managers from becoming stagnant – and can help you stay ahead of the crowd too.
Of course, like anything, you only get out what you put in, so here are some tips on how to make the most of the opportunity:
- Build trust with your coach. You will need to trust them in order to build a good foundation on which to grow. An executive coach can offer support, guidance and an outsider’s viewpoint, but this can only happen if you learn to trust them and are open and honest with them.
- Commit to the process. It’s not just a matter of turning up to sessions and hoping everything falls into place. There will be hard work to do – and a commitment to putting into practice what you work on in sessions, so that you can grow and make progress. It’s like learning a musical instrument – if you don’t practise between lessons, you’ll just go over the same old ground each week.
- Be open to identifying your weaknesses as well as your strengths. You know what they say – a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you can work on your weaknesses, you will be building on your strengths too.
- Be open to feedback from your coach and those you work with. They will look at your personality traits, your leadership style and the challenges you face. Without acknowledging this, you will be unable to move forward. Take it on board and you will see your communication and decision-making improve, making you a better leader than ever.
- Be prepared to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. Having someone come in from outside can present the perfect opportunity to look at the bigger picture. You will find that you can widen your opportunities and experience greater professional growth.
- Be prepared to acknowledge that what you see as strengths could be weakness in certain situations. For instance, you might take on the whole project yourself, when in fact it would be better to delegate according to your team’s individual talents and skills.
What will you get out of executive coaching?
The benefits are numerous. Having an executive coach on board will enable you to see yourself more clearly and be more self-aware. A great attribute for anyone who has to manage and lead others.
The coach is not your employee, so they will be in a better position to share their perceptions with you, something a more junior member of staff might shy away from for fear of jeopardising their own job. As you get further up the ladder, finding someone who can be totally honest with you becomes a rare occurrence – make the most of it! Not only that, but your coach will teach you the skills that will enable you to do this for yourself.
A coach will also help you to get a clearer perception of those around you – if you are liable to underestimate or even overestimate your staff, a coach can help you build the skills to heighten your ability to judge others.
An executive coach can also help you work in different ways, which you may not have learned previously. As you progress you need to learn to lead in a different way, to make sure the whole team works together to achieve success. A good executive coach can help you to do that.
One of the tenets of good leadership is building good relationships with all staff. Some people find they are fine with those who are like themselves – in working style, gender, class or education level – but may struggle with others. Creating strong working relationships is one of the most important things a leader can do.
Finally, a good executive coach can help you to achieve your goals. They will enable you to create a clear picture of where you want to be – and help you build the skills that will get you there.
If you would like to discuss this subject in more detail, and find out how you could benefit from an executive coach, we offer a free 30-minute Skype consultation – drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise please continue to browse the website or call us on tel: 07739 898167.