It takes many professionals to make today’s organizations successful. As leaders rise to the top, they often need guidance and a neutral sounding board to help them make wise decisions. An executive coach can be that listening ear to help business leaders find greater success. Companies reap the benefits of having executive coaching on board with their team members. In fact, in one study, 77% of companies that used coaches indicated the coaching had a significant impact on their business endeavors, including improved employee satisfaction and overall productivity.
Executive coaching is good for business, but it’s often not well understood. Here’s a closer look at what executive coaches do and how they help businesses succeed.
What is an Executive Coach?
An executive coach is someone who is qualified to work with mid to high-level employees and executives to help them develop their personal objectives and reach their professional potential. They often use strategic questioning to help individuals evaluate their own positions, clarify their objectives and solve their problems.
Executive coaches may have training in therapy or consulting, but they do not work as consultants or therapists. They do not give advice or try to solve problems. Instead, they help clients arrive at their own solutions to their problems and needs.
What is the Role of an Executive Coach?
Executive coaches partner with leaders within an organization to provide support and guidance as they make decisions about their professional lives. They can increase the individual’s awareness about their competencies and how others perceive them, identify their current goals, and help them decide the appropriate actions to reach those goals. Companies hire executive coaches to help develop the abilities of their high-potential team members, while also helping to address behavior among top-level executives that may be derailing the success of an organization. An executive coach can also come on board to help facilitate leadership transitions and ensure both the talent and the organization are properly prepared for those transitions.
Regardless of the primary goal, an executive coach serves as a full partner working towards the client’s goals. They are often given the task of challenging assumptions to help their clients come to their own conclusions about a matter. They can also provide resources to help throughout the decision-making process. In some instances, they will conduct behavioral assessments designed to help clients become more self-aware, especially regarding their roles within an organization.
The specific support executive coaches provide clients is confidential. If the client is paying directly for the coaching, then all conversations are completely confidential. If the organization is paying, then status updates may be provided, but the information the person shares with the coach is never shared without permission. This type of confidentiality allows the coach and client to work closely together to find better overall success.
How Executive Coaches Help Organizations Succeed
Executive coaches are becoming increasingly important in the modern organization. In some companies, coaching is becoming an expected part of continuous professional development. Some of the ways companies can benefit from working with executive coaches include:
1. Helping Top Performers with Self-Awareness
Executives and other top performers who work with an executive coach often become more self-aware, especially about their leadership style and personal or professional goals. A good coach will help clients understand their leadership style while also helping them gain perspective on how that style impacts the organization as a whole.
2. Improve Ability to Assess Others
Leaders who work with coaches are often able to see and assess employees. This helps them reward those who are serving the organization well while providing support for those who need to do better. Because the executive coach is a neutral party to the organization, the coach can use questioning to help leaders become more skilled at assessing others and improve working relationships.
3. Better Leverage Existing Strengths
Executive coaches help clients discover their strengths and learn to use those strengths to their full potential to find professional success and organizational success. Often, leaders within organizations are not aware of the way their gifts can further the success of their companies. Executive coaches help clients see how unique their specific skillsets are, and how they can leverage those skills to benefit their teams and pursue their own professional goals.
4. Provide Honest, Unbiased Assessments
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits a professional receives from an executive coach is the opportunity to gain greater awareness of who they are and how they perform. Because executive coaches are not directly employed by the organization, but work independently, they can serve as an unbiased partner working towards the client’s professional development.
5. Help Leaders Build Productive Relationships
Leaders who are going to be effective must build solid relationships with the people they are leading. An executive coach can provide valuable insight into how those relationships are or are not working. By observing an individual in his or her work environment, working with the people in the organization, an executive coach can help push the individual uncover opportunities to move towards changes that are needed to improve work relationships to be more productive overall.
What Knowledge do Executive Coaches Need?
If providing this type of guidance and support is a role that appeals to you, then a career in executive coaching can be a good fit. This starts with the right training.
Executive coaches need training in coaching or and organizational leadership. They need to understand what makes a good leader so they can coach their clients to that end. They also need to understand what is required to make organizations successful, so business training is part of the package.
Executive coaches have background and undergraduate degrees in many different fields. They may work several years in industry and find that their leadership and coaching abilities would make them a good fit as an executive coach. This may cause them to go back to school for graduate training.
A master’s degree in organizational leadership can be a good starting point for a career in executive coaching. It provides the leadership and business training needed for this career field.
Start Your Organizational Leadership Training Today
If you are interested in learning more about a career in executive coaching, consider a degree in organizational leadership. Lewis College has bachelor and master’s degree programs in this field, helping develop leaders in the workplace. Our International Coach Federation ACTP accredited master’s degree in Organizational Leadership has a concentration in Professional and Executive Coaching that is approved by the Center for Credentialing and Education, providing a good foundation to start a career in this in-demand coaching role. Reach out to an admission’s counselor today to learn more about this degree program.