As an Executive Coach in Thailand, I am facing the difficulty that many people do not know what coaching actually is. Often coaching is confused with consulting, counseling, or training.
I admit that it is not easy to describe the essence of coaching in two or three sentences to someone who has never experienced coaching. Thus, I am always grateful to find other sources that help explaining what executive coaching is all about.
Earlier this week FoxBusiness published a nice article titled
and they give some excellent examples when Executive Coaching applies in organizations.
1) “Companies are hoping to ease transitions by hiring executive coaches to work with newly-promoted managers.”
This said, it becomes clear that an executive coach not only works with “executives”. An executive coach has an understanding of the corporate world from which of course also junior managers will benefit.
2) “Executive coaches typically focus on the issues that come with managing people.”
I love that statement! Leadership skills “aren’t necessarily skills that come naturally.” Often times newly promoted managers may have great professional or technical skills that helped them to excel in their former jobs. However, the key for excelling on the next step as well is to know how to deal with people effectively.
3) “Coaching is about ‘bringing more depth and focus to particular challenges. Those in leadership roles often need a thinking partner for support and guidance when dealing with complex people issues.”
Indeed a coach is a partner and can act as a sounding board for new ideas. We human beings develop the best ideas when we can exchange our thoughts with other people. We seldom bring out the best in us when we have to work alone. Moreover, sometimes you would prefer to discuss your ideas with an objective confidant outside of your organization.
“Coaching can be boiled down to one simple concept: being a thought partner. (…) We are all victims of living in our own heads and at times we all need help getting perspective. It’s not easy to evaluate ourselves, which is why there is so much value in having that thought partner bring perspective to our internal conversations. “
4) “Coaching is not a makeover” and is not intended as a way for making wholesale changes in one’s character or personality.
In particular in the past, coaching was often understood as a means for fixing derailing behaviors of managers. According to the Harvard Business Review in 48% of the cases coaches are nowadays hired to help develop high potentials or to facilitate transition. Today, having a coach is considered an honor. “According to Dr. Kenneth Randall, director of executive talent at Banner Health, ‘coaching can truly unleash a leader’s hidden potential.’ ”
5) “Coaching is more about defining the goal than finding a solution. People start by telling me what they want. But what they really want is tied to having more of or less of something important or threatening to them. The idea behind working with an executive coach is to bring clarity to the issue and develop a plan of action for tackling it.”
To add to that, coaching is about finding out what is it that really counts in your life. Often a coach is hired to support managers in achieving certain business goals. However, there is a saying among professional coaches that every coaching becomes life coaching after the third session. In fact, there is only one life, and to me, it does not make sense to distinguish between professional and personal life. The values that are important to you will determine what motivates you personally and professionally – as well as what is holding you back.
So, does it make sense to distinguish between Life Coaching and Executive Coaching?