How To Increase the Effectiveness of Executive Coaching
Our natural tendency is to go into action and problem solving too quickly and that becomes the blocker of impactful executive coaching.
A natural response is ‘what can I say about this problem to add value, what have I experienced that helps solve this problem’ What happens in this context, by sharing how to solve the problem you are adding our own assumptions. It’s in these situations when the coaching turns into mentoring and the effectiveness of the coaching opportunity is lost.
By not really understanding what’s going on for the person means the problem is solved but the person remains stuck. It’s the difference between short term results and transformational change.
The starting point to any executive coaching conversation is peeling back what’s going on for that person, at this deeper level the person leads their way out of the problem, you as the coach hold the space and make the connection that guide them forward.
Executive coaching is about truly understanding the person’s perspective of what’s going on for them, their needs, wants and desires. The person is front and centre of your coaching conversation, the problem they are experiencing is secondary.
The power of brainstorming
I often position myself as a brainstorming partner or third eye with the executives I coach. As the executive coach I can take a step back from the situation and create a helicopter view. This style of executive coaching enables the leader to gain clarity on what’s really going on for them.
There can be so much going on that the person is completely absorbed in the problem. Lost in a maze of information, deadlines, pressure, and stress. Reverting to autopilot rather than a vision for what is possible and the options available to them. Heaving in the worry of getting something wrong rather than energised by the possibility of exploring what could be.
By having this constant focus on the person there is a strengthening of self-awareness. A reconnection with their strengths, their internal power and boosting self-confidence for what it is that they need to do next. Being a brainstorming partner, coaching the person in a way that allows their brain to explore, expand and energise. Creating curiosity for their own context.
This approach also means the person is organically developing their strategic mindset and conceptual capacity. They are in the driving seat. The leader is leading their way out of the maze and stronger for it.
Ultimately, executive coaching must have a strategic impact, that’s what you’re there to do, as the coach, to increase strategic impact that leads to improved performance and results.
Increasing strategic impact.
I talk about impact in every executive coaching session. Being clear in the impact we want to have becomes an internal compass for the work that we do.
Leaders are busy. A role filled with duality between rolling up the sleeves and getting things done and being a future focused vision creator. This duality means there is a level of chaos by becoming so busy leaders end up with this full plate, feeling overwhelmed.
To achieve greater strategic impact, we need to know that what we’re investing our time in will have the greatest impact on results. Reflective questions to help assess this might be:
- What problems did I solve that talked to the strategic direction of my team?
- What initiatives am I driving that only I can?
- What is out of scope for me in my role?
- What are the possibilities beyond the here and now?
Keeping things simple yet strategic is important. Be clear on how you spend your time. Time is possibly your greater commodity. An simple exercise to try involves listing out what you have been spending your time on, use a highlighter and ask yourself
- Did I do these tasks because I can, or I should?
- Which things did I do because I can do it quickly?
- What did I gain by being involved in this?
Stop and evaluate the strategic impact of your list.
Increasing your impact means you are crystal clear about what’s important to you and how you spend your time.
For more help with executive coaching programmes and assessment contact Kate Thomas at NewlandRock.
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