Why Executive Coaching Works
Unlike most business processes, which tend to reduce information to abstractions, executive coaching engages with people in customized ways that acknowledge and honor their individuality. It helps people know themselves better, live more consciously, and contribute more richly. The essentially human nature of coaching is what makes it work—and also what makes it nearly impossible to quantify.
Executive coaching is distinct from other types of coaching. The broader field of coaching includes life planning, career counseling, health and nutritional advice, New Age aura readings, and training in skills from public speaking to flirtation. We don’t do that stuff. Our role is to help “coachees”—the people being coached—produce business results for their employers. Executive coaching is also distinct from psychotherapy; indeed, people who need therapy tend to make poor candidates for coaching. That said, most executive coaching is intellectually indebted to a small number of disciplines, including consulting, management, organizational development, and psychology.
It is remarkable how many smart, highly motivated, and apparently responsible people rarely pause to contemplate their own behavior. Often more inclined to move on than to reflect deeply, executives may reach the top ranks without addressing their limitations. Coaching gets them to slow down, gain awareness, and notice the effects of their words and actions. That enables coachees to perceive choices rather than simply react to events; ultimately, coaching can empower them to assume responsibility for their impact on the world.
Coaching doesn’t end with self-awareness. It is a form of active learning that transfers essential communication and relationship skills. Strategic coaching should integrate personal development and organizational needs. This approach can help leaders adapt to new responsibilities, reduce destructive behaviors, improve retention with a perceived perk, enhance teamwork, align individuals to collective goals, facilitate succession, and support organizational change. Systematic coaching programs, reaching whole cadres of executives, provide a disciplined way for organizations to deepen relationships with their most important employees while increasing their effectiveness. The most valuable coaching fosters cultural change for the benefit of the entire organization. ” Harvard Business Review By Stratford Sherman and Alyssa Freas