Executive Coaching FAQ

What is Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching is a partnership between the coach and the client with the goal of maximizing leadership or professional skills. This process drives short or long-term goals for the individual, as well as their organization/business.  The approach is highly individualized and collaborative.

A coach’s role is to create an environment where clients engage in self discovery, learn skills, increase performance and effectiveness, and increase professional growth.  Goals are developed, feedback is provided, and clients are guided to learn, and elicit solutions and strategies.  A coachee is active and sets the agenda, is willing to be honest and open, an active listener, makes commitments to action, follows through and takes ownership.

Is Executive Coaching Right for Me?

Clients looking for coaching are looking to grow and further develop as professionals or leaders. Executive coaches often work with clients who are managers, executives, entrepreneurs and professionals (or with those who are working towards this).  Clients work in various types of organizations ranging from corporate, academic, healthcare, or own their own businesses.  Clients can also include those who are looking to grow their brand including writers or artists.

Typical client objectives can include:

  • develop skills or leverage strengths to succeed in a current or new position
  • a desire to advance ones career
  • developing best practice skills when starting a new business
  • refine skills to help businesses or departments thrive and be sustainable
  • refine skills to engage employees
  • manage a challenge, meet a goal or prepare for a new opportunity
  • manage the impact of industry or regulatory changes
  • strategic planning or change management
  • refining communication skills or managing conflict
  • deal with negative impact of work on personal life
  • finding purpose and meaning in work

Is Executive Coaching Provided in Person?

Executive coaching can be provided over the phone or video chat platforms which is convenient for many clients. As a result coaching can be provided with clients who live across the country.  However, coaching can be done in person depending on circumstances and travel. In addition, e-mail support is provided in between.

What is the Process of Executive Coaching?

Sometimes individuals seek out executive coaching for themselves, and sometimes organizations will seek out executive coaching for an employee.  An initial discussion will take place to see if coaching is suitable and if so, arrive at an agreement. The process then officially begins.

Initially, there is an assessment period focusing on understanding the goals of the client,  understand strengths, areas to build on, as well as assessing contextual factors including professional and personal context.  Depending on if the client’s company is initiating coaching, this may include collecting information from colleagues and/or management. Once the assessment is complete, a client is provided feedback and together goals for coaching are developed.  A ‘Blueprint’ will be produced outlining key goals and development plan. This will include built in metrics to assess when goals are met.

The executive coach will guide the client toward achieving goals, provide a supportive framework, feedback, education, monitor progress and adjust the Blueprint as needed. There will be opportunities to brainstorm, work on strategy, skill building and so forth.  Clients will be often given tasks to accomplish between appointments to help them meet their goals. Given the research on the impact of well-being on leadership and business performance, clients may also learn tools to maximize well-being in order to increase performance, efficiency, and leverage their skills.

What is the Difference between Executive Coaching vs Psychotherapy?

While there are some psychologists and other mental health professionals who provide executive coaching, this service is not the same as psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a healthcare service focusing on improving psychological functioning and includes psychological assessments, psychological diagnosing, and psychological treatment.  Executive coaching is not a health care service. Instead this type of coaching focuses on working with professionals and leaders to maximize their performance at work and help organizations thrive.

How Long is the Executive Coaching process?

It depends on the client, their goals and contextual challenges.  Many clients engage in executive coaching anywhere from 3-12 months.  For more complicated issues and goals, the process may take up to a year or beyond.  Once clients complete executive coaching, some clients benefit from follow up on a regular basis and some may require little, or no follow up.

What is ‘Coachability?’

This refers to a client’s readiness to engage in the work of being coached.  There are certain factors that can help a client get the most out of the process. Growth and development are fostered through a client’s comfort level and ability to examine themselves. Clients benefit from being reflective and observant of how they engage with others and various situations.  An openness to challenging beliefs that may not be useful to their careers or organizations, and a willingness to learn new approaches is key.