Do you suspect that executive coaching is an overrated time-suck? Or maybe you believe it can be valuable for other people: the ones who are screwing something up. Does individual coaching seem irrelevant to you? Maybe self-indulgent? Or a sign of weakness?
On the other hand, do you feel drawn to the challenge of developing yourself? Do you, maybe just a little bit, like the idea of having someone join you in paying attention to your goals?
This post will shed some light on what makes individual executive coaching a uniquely powerful tool for those who dare to stretch themselves.
In the business world, coaching addresses anything from corporate strategy to emotional intelligence to personal organization tactics. Executive coaching focuses specifically on executive-level leaders but is also broad in its application. Coaching can seem vague or touchy-feely to busy executives. How do you determine if working individually with an executive coach is right for you?
Here are five benefits to individual executive coaching:
1. Self-Awareness: Just as your business benefits from ongoing analysis and improvement, so do you. Working with a coach one-on-one allows you to see yourself reflected in the eyes of the coach. As you work together, you will begin to realize things about yourself that you would like to change. Self-reflection is uncomfortable and most of us instinctively avoid it. But the best leaders make an art of self-reflection and constant improvement. The best executive coaches help you embrace (not necessarily enjoy) self-reflection.
2. Education: Learning new skills makes you a better leader. You’re probably quite comfortable learning new technical skills or new industry information, but when did you last learn a new way to think? A good executive coach finds ways to turn their clients’ work challenges into fodder for new learning. Working individually with an executive coach will allow you to not only get help solving current problems but also to learn new ways to think about problems going forward.
3. Accountability: You spend time holding others accountable for their work, and you probably have someone at work to whom you are accountable. But who holds you accountable to developing yourself? A good executive coach will create a strong relationship with you so that you feel motivated to do things you might be tempted to blow off. We all naturally want to avoid doing things that stretch us to change. But if you know you have to face your coach, your reluctance to disappoint your coach might be stronger than your urge to stay in the comfort zone. The better the coach, the stronger the relationship and accountability.
4. Customization: A program designed specifically for you. There are lots of excellent books and webinars out there talking about leadership development and other topics relevant to an executive. These forms of information are inexpensive, convenient and often helpful, to a degree. Any message designed for mass consumption is, by nature, going to serve the needs of around 86% of its audience. For the statistics geeks out there, 86% is the proportion of the population within one standard deviation from the mean, or norm. Since you are reading my blog, you are definitely not normal – you are part of the population I call exceptional, or more than one standard deviation from the mean (you decide which direction). Exceptional people don’t always get what they need from normative (designed for the masses) products or processes. You will likely get something from books and webinars, but not as much as you would get if the information were tailored specifically for your delightfully exceptional nature. One-on-one coaching with a good executive coach will always be customized to you. By accounting for your unique nature, the coach is able to be far more effective with you than a standard program would be.
5. No one does it alone: This may sound like a cliché. Sometimes clichés are clichés because of their universal truth. We are all social creatures, and we can’t thrive in isolation. Everything you have created for yourself up to now is the result of your interactions with others (whether you realized it or not), and everything you will become will likewise come out of relationships to other people now and in the future. When you work one-on-one with an executive coach, the two of you deliberately create a relationship with the intention to help you achieve your goals. A good coach will be keenly aware of the power of that relationship and will teach you how to create other relationships in your life that deliberately support your goals.
Are you curious about trying coaching for yourself? These five benefits of one-on-one executive coaching just scratch the surface of what is possible in this powerful process. I have personally benefitted from many different one-on-one coaching relationships over the years. If you decide that one-on-one coaching is for you, then look for my upcoming post on what to look for in a coach.
The best is yet to come.