Climb on! Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve discussed the first 2 rungs of the Executive Coaching Hierarchy of Needs, inspired by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You learned about how executive coaching can equip you with functional and interpersonal workplace superpowers. This week, we climb to the top of the mountain, with what I call transformational needs. These are the skills and competencies you need to be an effective leader. Good executive coaches help their clients reach their professional objectives in a way that also impacts the business in a transformative way.
As challenges facing leaders and organizations have become more complex, executive coaching has become more needed. Top performing coaches have backgrounds in leadership positions themselves, in psychology, and in their clients’ industries. Effective executive coaching results in dramatically improved business success, both for the individual leader and for the organization. The benefits are indeed multifaceted. As Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot, once remarked, "I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities."
What exactly are the transformational benefits leaders achieve through executive coaching? Let’s take a look.
1. Increasing leadership potential
Employees rarely have access to professional development training aimed at advancing their career trajectories. Oftentimes, organizations do not exhibit the in-house talent and resources required to equip executives with specialized leadership training. But when companies invest in their employees potential, the immediate return on investment is high and so is the longer-term return on investment. Retention rates rise, not only of those having received coaching, but of their teams as well.
Many of my clients ask me to help them maximize either their leadership potential or the leadership potential of their star performers. My skills as an executive coach help me conduct a complete analysis and develop a highly-individualized action plan focused on specific areas of leadership development. In many cases, the skills required for leadership development and advancement can be learned. Executive presence, public speaking, negotiation training give you the confidence to grow as leaders and rise the ranks. The results speak for themselves. Research by ICM found that 80% of individuals who receive executive coaching report increased levels of self-confidence.
2. Driving results and organizational shifts
One of the most dramatic benefits of executive coaching is achieving measurable results that lead to organizational shifts. Executive coaches help leaders transition from the distraction of constant firefighting to a culture of creating sustainable and repeatable processes. There’s a domino effect. Executive coaching positively impacts the executive, their direct reports, the teams who report into them. The changes can impact hundreds or thousands of people, including customers, vendors, and partners!
3. Increasing opportunities for feedback
As you advance in your career, you’ll be more and more surrounded by sycophants and bootlickers. Your employees will often be hesitant to reveal harsh news or raise concerns out of fear of punishment. When leaders receive information, it is often sugar-coated. An executive coach is able to provide unbiased performance feedback that will cause you to identify your blind spots, prepare a plan, and enact positive change.
4. Accelerating career advancement
Goal setting is key to your career advancement as a leader. Far too often, leaders don’t set meaningful goals that welcome advancement opportunities. Great executive coaches are experts in the science of goal setting and are able to help leaders set inspiring and realistic goals. They help leaders set goals that are personally meaningful, fulfill their intrinsic values, and align with their authentic self. A 2009 study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that executive coaching enhances goal attainment. The close watch of an executive coach is especially valuable in helping executives remain on track in hitting their goals and advancing in their career.
5. Modeling effective leadership at the top
As a leader, your actions drive organizational change. When leaders solicit executive coaches to help them develop their capabilities, they send a powerful message. They demonstrate that they value constant and ongoing learning and are willing to embrace change. In doing so, they establish a strong culture that embraces development, learning, and growth. This is powerful.
There's a reason that top leaders such as HP's Meg Whitman, Google's Eric Schmidt, and Intuit CEO Steve Bennet all rely on executive coaching. The results can catapult you and your organization forward. Consider the wise words of John Kotter, a Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School: “What’s really driving the boom in coaching, is this: as we move from 30 miles an hour to 70 to 120 to 180……as we go from driving straight down the road to making right turns and left turns to abandoning cars and getting motorcycles…the whole game changes, and a lot of people are trying to keep up, learn how not to fall.” It’s well worth the effort to investigate how executive coaching can transform you and your organization and set both on powerful growth trajectories.
Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. provides Executive Coaching and Human Resources solutions. Her mission is to make the executive experience exceptionally enjoyable and effective. She believes that the world needs great leaders and has dedicated her career to helping them.
As an organization psychologist and former corporate CEO, Dr. Nadine understands the pressures and demands executives face. She offers her clients the high expertise that only comes with three decades of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nadine is an in-demand speaker, teaches in doctoral programs, and coaches other consultants. She is the author of two books: ‘The Art of Executive Coaching: Secrets to Unlock Leadership Performance’, and of ‘Stress-less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and in Life’. amazon.com/author/nadinegreiner