Role of the Executive Coach
The role of the Executive Coach can be described in many ways, some of which include:
- working to raise performance – whether at individual, team, department or organisational levels
- as a change agent, raising awareness of the forces for and against the organisation achieving its goals and, from this, enabling the organisation to achieve these goals more swiftly than would otherwise have been the case
- providing a unique support for senior executives to explore professional and personal issues, thereby enabling them to raise performance. Thereby executive coaching acts as an enabler and a facilitator. My role is to get the manager or potential manager to start thinking in an unpressured environment.
- acting as a ‘critical friend’, both to individual executives and the organisation
- enhancing the quality of thinking of the individual executives, freeing them of cognitive (thinking) traps or blind spots which they may be subconsciously be unaware of.
- Provide psychometric testing (with the agreement of the client) to determine one’s strengths and weaknesses, thereby focussing on what areas to work on.
- Adopting the stance of neutrality. An Executive Coach will remain impartial and free from organisational politics thus reducing the risk of becoming a corporate staff supervision.
- Executive coaching can also help managers who are performing below standard and are losing face with fellow peers. It is better to offer help rather than fire a good employee.
- Using the famous GROW model in moving the client forward. Conquering one’s inner demons and self-limiting beliefs.
- As human beings or being humans, we are all capable of remarkable success. We just need the right Coach to challenge us and get that momentum going!
When big things in the organization change.
Coaching is extremely useful when an organization realizes that it must change. If it doesn’t change, in the UK companies such as BHS, Blockbuster, C&A, MFI are damn good examples.
Skill development for individual transitions.
Coaches can help high performers or even junior managers with potential acquire the necessary new skills as they move to positions of greater authority and responsibility.
Specific skill development.
Sometimes an executive realises that he or she has never learned one specific critical skill, such as how to work with an advisory board or board of directors. Or it could be that he/she lacks confidence in putting forward new innovative ideas to the Board of Directors.
Resolving specific problems.
Frequently a powerful and successful person possesses one or two sets of dysfunctional behaviours that cause repetitive difficulties.
Let’s look at these in turn:
When big things in the organisation change
The change could be chosen or imposed. For many companies, the development of an increased array of digital communications has transformed many aspects of business. We now live in a digital age. Coaching can be a powerful tool at organisational and individual levels to support executives and businesses to navigating successfully through these changes.
Skills development for individual transitions
People are often appointed to management positions because of their technical skills and knowledge. But new sets of skills are then required – skills around leadership, for example. A new skill for a new manager might be learning to step back and achieve results through others. A skill development for a director might be to break out of purely departmental or ‘silo’ thinking and see the company’s bigger picture.
Specific skill development
In educational settings in the UK, the head teacher or principal reports to a Chair of the Board of Governors. How can the principal shift the relationship so that she/he is increasingly successful in working with the board? Influencing them?
Resolving specific problems
The highly successful executive who achieves great results, may have the tendency to fly off the handle. The higher he/she gets, the more apparent the problematic behaviour becomes. They may get less feedback and may need a soundboard who can help them think through problems and encourage a workable solution(s) through creative systems thinking.