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  • Tamar Balkin

What Is The Point Of Executive Coaching?

In the past, promotion was gradual, and employees would get a combination of mentoring, formal training and experience as they progressed through the structured hierarchy to leadership. Accordingly, organisations tended to rely on training, mentoring and formal study to develop their leaders. Now with the rapid pace of change, coupled with the flattening of formal hierarchies, leaders often rise to the top quickly. As such, evidence has demonstrated that these leaders desperately need support and guidance as they travel along this quick trajectory. Fortunately, organisations are recognising the multitude of benefits of Executive Coaching whereby the content and process are individualised and specifically tailored to the Leader. As I touched on in a previous blog, according to Dr Tasha Eurich introspection will not adequately enable us to recognise the impact of our behaviour on others. Executive Coaching is a tool, to not just enhance self-awareness but to hold the leader accountable to effective long term sustained behaviour change. Individual Executive Coaching provides focus, validation and reality testing. It helps leaders think differently, break out of traditional mindsets and be innovative. Through Executive Coaching leaders can also change bad habits and build key relationships with individuals and groups for ongoing positive influence and collaboration. So can a change in leadership behaviour have an impact on the broader organisation? Picture for a moment a leader you have worked for or with who was either average or disastrous. I’m sure you can recall one small thing they did that had a dreadful effect on the business. Now imagine they had decided to actively make a small positive change in their behaviour. This small change could have a substantial impact rippling down through the organisation. I worked with a senior executive who was the top revenue earner for his organisation. His clients said he always exceeded their expectations and they were quick to give him repeat business and refer others to him. However, his colleagues described him as aloof, uncooperative and arrogant, for he made no effort to even say hello to his peers. The coaching process enabled him to see the impact of his behaviour on those around him and the benefits associated with changing his interactions with his peers, colleagues and subordinates. Over time, he began to gradually invite his colleagues to joint marketing opportunities, and to refer business leads to them. This collaborative behaviour resulted in increase in morale, discretionary effort and a growth in business opportunities, and revenue. Previously, Executive Coaching was seen as remedial, a last hope for an otherwise ineffectual leader. Increasingly there has been a shift in perceptions and Executive Coaching is used as a highly effective technique for improving the leadership capability of high performers. My clients have used coaching to become better leaders, to quote an often-used phrase they want to go from “go from good to great”. Specifically, they have gained promotions, reduced staff turnover, managed incivility, decreased conflict, other have motivated their teams, and increased their influence, with peers, clients and key stakeholders. In my 6 month post coaching follow up, my clients often tell me they have not only achieved strategic business goals but also personal goals. In my opinion, irrespective of the pace of technological change, and the nature of business disruption, excellent leadership will be always be a business-critical skill. Increasingly, you will want your leaders to successfully take the path “less travelled by”, therefore it will be beneficial to invest in the leadership capability of yourself and your Executive team.

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