What is Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching is an expert relationship between a coach and a coachee where the goal or objective is to improve performance, especially in leadership and management. Through engaging conversations and use of coaching tools and methodologies, the coach acts as a mirror to help the coachee inspect, determine and develop their decision making. This process provides the coachee with an opportunity of experimenting with new ideas and approaching situations with a different view which helps them take actions towards achieving their goals.

How do I know I need executive coaching?

I need executive coaching when:

  • I’m looking for clarity
  • I’m exploring and evaluating options
  • I’m looking for feedback
  • I’m in need of direction and guidance to specific work-related problems
  • I’m searching for heightened knowledge and learning for the specific action plans needed to address breakdowns and blocks to achieving personal results
  • I’m in need of structured patterns in interactions to improve relationships and enhance teamwork

I need to embed executive coaching in my organisation when:

  • Seeking to build consensus within the team in order to engage and move in the same direction to achieve set goals
  • The organisation wants to prepare individuals for succession
  • Members are transitioning to new roles and need clarity and guidance to specific work-related issues
  • There is a difficulty in building relations among the employees especially from the management level downwards
  • The organisation is experiencing a change in management and needs to align everyone to the new management style
  • Venturing into new markets or changes in products
  • The organisation wants to motivate their employees and contribute to their personal and professional development
  • The organisation wants to build a coaching culture

What should I look for in an executive coach ?

One must ensure that the said coach is accredited to international standards by leading coach training accrediting bodies. This accreditation helps to instil confidence that the coaching will be credible and that the objectives will be achieved. Read more about coach accreditation here.

There must a good working relationship between the executive coach and the client. Good rapport and chemistry between the two must be present at the beginning of the coaching relationship.

One must ensure that the executive coach will maintain confidentiality and remain ethical. Certified, accredited executive coaches are trained and mandated to hold the coaching space for the client, while maintaining confidentiality and observing professional boundaries.

To ask open and effective questions that will enhance understanding

  • The coach should be able to hold the client accountable.
  • A coach must be able to enhance the client’s self-awareness
  • A coach should be able to apply relevant models and creative techniques to make the learning process easy and enjoyable.

What value can I expect to get from going through executive coaching?

Executive coaching has proven to be transformational and impactful not only to individuals but also to organisations. At CBA (Commercial Bank of Africa) in Kenya for example, coaching was embedded to create a cultural shift and inspire a workforce largely comprised of young people, to higher performance. In the first year of introducing coaching to its staff, CBA witnessed more cohesive teams, staff that were more empowered in making decisions and people having a greater satisfaction with work-life balance.  According to CBA Group’s Managing Director, Isaac Awuondo, “Coaching is the only way an organisation can move forward. It creates a big culture change”. Read about CBA’s journey to building a coaching culture here and about how other institutions in Africa are driving growth using executive coaching here.

Some of the benefits you can expect to experience from executive coaching include:

  • Improved performance due to clarity of objectives and strategic planning
  • Heightened self-awareness and fulfilment
  • Reduced breakdowns and blocks to achieving personal and organisational results
  • Improved patterns of interactions and communication, leading to good working relationships among teams and the organisation as a whole
  • Enriched ideas of how to overcome system and personal issues among individuals in an organisation
  • Increased commitment and collaboration in managing change within an organisation
  • Improved communication, decision making and conflict management skills

Have you experienced executive coaching and would like to share the impact it has had for you or your organisation? Write to us and share with us your story.