04.2013 - Guidelines for Effective Coaching

A High Impact Approach to Leadership Development

Executive coaching provides leaders with the opportunity for laser-focused support and guidance.  It stresses a peson's strengths, identifies unique opportunities for growth and then focuses on making strategic behavioral changes.

The old-school methods of assembling groups of people and having them "digest" the content can be a great solution when the needed changes don't involve significant mindset changes.  When complex issues are at stake, coaching provides the process, guidance and reinforcement necessary to create growth. 

Important Factors that Contribute to Success

Good candidates:

  • Have a sincere desire to improve, in other words, they are "coach-able."  Good coaching candidates strive to stay open and not defensive to new ways of looking at their world.
  • Have the functional skills necessary to get the job done already and are valuable contributors to the organization functionally.
  • Are viewed as high potential future leaders and/or strong contributors by senior leaders and their peers
  • Have the ethics and integrity to be organizational role models.

What to Look for in a Coach

The ability to develop rapport with a candidate is essential. The coach must truly be in the candidate's camp. In addition, the customization that is necessary to identify and then design for a specific individual's growth warrants the services of a highly trained professional with a repertoire of helpful tools and resources.

Coaches can be certified, have life experiences with rich background in psychology, communications and organizational life, or achieved high levels of accomplishment in their coaching careers.

What to Expect

Coaching includes assessments by self and others, deep inquiry, checking assumptions, goal-setting,action planning and objective reflection.  Frequently, a coaching series is contracted to support performance change over a six- to twelve-month interval and involves the organization's regular feedback to reinforce the desired changes.  Sessions can be in person or over the phone and typically last from one to two hours.