While executive coaching is huge nowadays, it should not be treated as a cure-all drug that can fix every organizational dilemma. Putting it another way, executive coaching is not aspirin. It’s more like interferon. Before you turn to executive coaching, you first need to figure out if it’s really something the organization needs.
The following questions will help you gauge if it is high time to invest in the services of an executive coach:
How valuable is the person to the organization?
While highly beneficial, executive coaching is not just for anyone. Oftentimes, it is reserved for key people who are critical to the organization’s success. Generally, this can include those who belong to the C-level, heads of major functions or business units, functional and technical wizards, and young leaders with exceptional potential.
It is also important to take into account that executive coaching can be costly. While fees and arrangements can vary, you’d most likely shell out an amount that’s similar to what you pay your top attorney.
While this can seem excessive at first glance, nothing can be farther from the truth. Aside from an executive coach certification, executive coaches bring exceptional experience, expertise, and guidance to the table. Truly, it is an investment that will benefit the organization for many years to come.
What are the challenges the executive is facing?
Executive coaches are masters at people, organizations, relationships, and behavioural changes. When an executive is having difficulty managing people and engaging others, then it might be time to invest in the services of an executive coach.
Are you a CEO struggling to connect with members of your board? A regional manager learning how to lead your former peers? You can definitely benefit from the expertise of an executive coach.
However, you also need to consider that an executive coach is not a consultant. While they may have functional or technical background, they should not be considered as answer persons or bolsters for weak leaders. They can help executives think through and find their own solutions. In essence, self-reliance and not dependency is one of their main aims.
Is the executive willing to work with a coach?
For the coaching relationship to truly work, the client must be willing to invest time and effort and stay committed to the endeavour. Otherwise, it will just be a waste of effort, time, and money.
Coachability is crucial. Executives who are willing to be coached are realistic about their strengths and weaknesses. And while they are open to learning from others, they often do things their own way and take ownership of the results. In other words, they know how to leverage the help and guidance a competent coach provides.
Are key individuals in the organization ready to support their efforts?
Changing the way one thinks and acts can be difficult even if there is support from others. However, when key leaders are sceptical, indifferent, or hostile to the changes an executive is trying to implement, things can get even more challenging.
Executive coaching works best when the person is getting unwavering support from key people in the organization. Without any support, the coaching relationship will not be able to achieve anything substantial both for the individual and the organization.
When done right, executive coaching can be one of the best investments an organization can make. However, it should not be seen as the answer to every problem haunting the organization. Take into account the following questions so you can gauge if the expertise of an executive coach is exactly what you need to steer the organization in the right direction.