Today’s Insight comes from Michelle Western, Organizational Research & Analysis Consultant, on the benefits of Executive Coaching:
“Google ‘Executive Coaching’ and you’ll be bombarded by thousands of hits extolling the benefits of business coaches. But isn’t coaching really just “fixing people”? And is hiring an external coach really worth it? Well, no…and yes.
What Is Executive Coaching?
Executive coaching helps us achieve new insight and self-awareness to transform not only ourselves, but the people around us. It is designed to help senior leaders understand and capitalize on what they do well — and focus attention on what they could do more of, less of, or differently in order to continue developing their leadership skills and abilities.
Though it may be utilized to correct performance issues, executive coaching also builds engagement; reduces waste and inefficiency; and helps people grow and prepare for advancement. It can also lead to:
- Improved dialogue
- Increased trust and openness
- Reduced tension and improved relationships
- Increased productivity
- Higher performance ratings.
Why Use Executive Coaching?
According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF) leaders who participated in coaching saw 50 – 70% increases in work performance, time management, and team effectiveness. The same study also found that 86% of companies who used coaches made back their initial investment in the coaching process.
Who Should Coach?
So do coaches have to be external to be effective? No, though there are benefits to bringing in someone who is external to your organization, such as the fresh perspective he/she can bring. However, if you have direct reports, you probably do some coaching — even if you don’t realize it. Any attempt you make to help others improve their performance is coaching at its most basic. And since executives and managers often coach others without realizing it, they are missing out on valuable opportunities to make a positive impact.
How Can You Coach Effectively?
More often than not, this informal coaching comes in the form of what we call “two-step” coaching:
- Identify the problem
- Provide a solution.
This approach leaves out an important part of the equation, though: involvement of the other person! Instead of just solving the problem, consider instead this five-step solution:
- Create a Positive Climate
- Obtain Other’s Perspective
- Add Your Views
- Clarify and Resolve Differences
- Help Develop an Action Plan
By involving the other person, you are sharing ownership of the solution, rather than dictating it. That shared ownership means the other person is more likely to follow through and commit to real change.
When using Psychological Associates’ Dimensional Model of Behavior and emphasizing Q4 behaviors to guide the conversation, coaching:
- Gives honest feedback without a hidden agenda
- Focuses on the behavior, not the person
- Offers solicited advice
- Notices when people are doing something right
- Listens to understand the other person and the reasons for his/her behavior
- Involves the individual in developing solutions that work well for everyone
- Adapts the coaching style to fit the situation and the other person’s needs.
Just about everyone can benefit from coaching, whether it’s an executive who’s new to the role or a direct report who needs to work on interpersonal behaviors. By investing time and energy into the coaching process, your organization can grow your talent — and your bottom line.” Learn more about Q4 coaching.