Perhaps you’ve considered working with an executive coach, but you wonder about the value. Or you’re worried that it will just be another person looking over your shoulder. Doing the research and finding an executive coach who will truly be an ally in helping you be your best self is one of the smartest moves you can make in your professional life.
Let’s start by exploring the benefits of using an executive coach.
Build Self-Awareness to Drive Personal and Team Success Working with a coach will help you build self-awareness in a few ways. First, talking out scenarios, dreams, and doubts with another person--one who is unbiased and extremely good at listening--can really help put things in perspective for you. Also, many coaches utilize assessment tools or frameworks to help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses. Not only do these indicators help you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, they will also help you leverage your strengths in times of challenge and build better systems and/or teams around yourself to overcome your weaknesses.
Improve Leadership Skills with Focused Goals and Greater Accountability Most likely, we are all setting goals as we move forward in our careers. But, as a CEO or senior leader, you may not have a manager or supervisor holding your feet to the fire to achieve those goals. Having a coach can help you both set goals that are actionable and hold you accountable to what you say you’re going to do.
Personal and Professional Goal Development Lead to Success Speaking of goals, you may have some areas in your personal life where you are striving to do better. Do you have health and fitness goals you’re working towards? Your coach can be an important check-in person to keep you on track. They can also help you navigate maternity or personal leave and your return to work. In a nutshell, coaches can be incredibly helpful in the space between the personal and professional.
Executive Coaches Provide Objective Perspective to New Business Challenges Your coach will get to know you intimately. They’ll be well-versed in your strengths, weaknesses, work style, productivity, and what makes you tick. So, it only makes sense that your coach will be a great person to turn to when you’re facing a challenge and aren’t sure what your next steps should be. You can also bounce ideas off your coach for an objective opinion. Your coach, in turn, can provide you with great ideas to build your business or deepen the impact of your organization.
Advance Your Career with the Development of New Skills There’s no doubt you’ve built skills on your rise up the corporate ladder, but what you need as a senior leader may be different. A great executive coach will be able to see what is holding you back from achieving further success, and drive you to change and improve. They can give you a clearer image of the skills you may need to refine and any new strategies you may need to acquire in your current role.
Now that you know some of the great benefits a coach brings, I’d love to share a real world example. I’m about to get a little more personal than I typically do on this blog and tell you about the work I’ve done with my own executive coach, Jackie Hanselmann Sergi, of Radical Spark Coaching. I began working with Jackie from right before I founded vChief, through a connection from my former employer. As a brand-new entrepreneur, I had a lot of questions and doubts. I also had a lot of work to do to build the vision for vChief, and set my own goals and priorities to get there. Jackie was an amazing resource in tactical ways - sharing templates and other tools, pushing my thinking - but also as a reassuring force who constantly built me up and made me believe in my own potential for success. As time went on, and vChief became more successful, Jackie’s role shifted a bit. We worked through a formal assessment of my leadership style, strategized about hiring and on-boarding new team members, and tackled specific challenges as they arose. She’s also been amazing about connecting me to people I should know - other entrepreneurial women, potential clients and talent for my team. Overall, I can’t say enough about the benefits I’ve received from executive coaching.
Undoubtedly, an executive coach can provide great value to your professional and personal life, as long as you find the right one. Just as there is a wide variety of personality styles out there, there is a wide array of coaching styles, too. Finding a good executive coach that you mesh well with is key. Ask your network for referrals of people they have personally worked with. Don’t be afraid to ask about both what they got out of the coaching and what they were hoping for that didn’t happen. Check into potential coaches’ training, certifications, client testimonials, coaching style fit, availability, and pricing. Developing a relationship with a coach that is a good fit is an invaluable move in your career.