Executive coaching has enjoyed a massive boom over the past 5 years. It’s estimated to be a two-billion-dollar global industry. Executive coaching is making a mark on most companies and many top tier executive careers. But what exactly is executive coaching? Does it really live up to the hype?
During the next three weeks, I’m going to distill the benefits of executive coaching. Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Well, a similar metaphor is very relevant to illustrate the benefits of executive coaching. I call it the Executive Coaching Hierarchy of Needs. Just like Maslow’s Hierarchy illustrates the everyday needs of all humans, the Executive Coaching Hierarchy illustrates the needs of aspiring executives and leaders.
This week, we’re going to focus on the bottom rung of the Hierarchy. I call these functional needs. Functional needs focus on how to be productive and efficient as an independent contributor. These needs are relevant to all workers, regardless if they manage others or how senior they are. Let’s take a look.
1. Enhancing productivity
All workers are faced with constant streams of interruptions. Texts, emails, meetings, walk-ins, fly-bys, scheduling chaos, emergencies, timelines, presentations…distractions abound. It can be difficult to see the forest for the trees. An executive coach is equipped to help workers identify their blind spots, gain self-awareness, rank priorities, and prevent obstacles that prevent them from performing at peak levels.
2. Increasing decision-making
All executives, regardless of their rank, face information overload. This compromises their decision-making abilities. When information is coming at you from every which way, even deciding on your lunch order can feel overwhelming. Information overload is your foe. It results in hasty, irrational, or narrow-minded decisions. In other cases, it paralyzes you and causes you to procrastinate. Executive coaching can help you limit extraneous information and distractions. In doing so, you’ll be liberated to make informed and shrewd decisions that will propel you forward.
3. Increasing self-awareness
Humans are creatures of habit. We have firmly ingrained habits, behaviors, and tendencies. Our habits can cloud our judgment and cause us to adopt biased views of ourselves and the world around us. An executive coach is able to help you distinguish between reality and perception.
4. Enhancing self-management skills
Executives are often under intense pressure. They can easily lose their temper and lash out at others. An executive coach can help you learn how to self-regulate and keep your emotions in check. Through visualization, mindfulness, role-playing, and other training, executive coaches enable you to gain control over impulsive tendencies.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, ‘Can’t I learn these skills from a consultant, life coach, or even online’. Executive coaches are a unique breed. They’re a qualified professionals who work with executives and others to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, achieve their development objectives, unlock their potential. Yet the term executive coaching is often deployed as a catch-all phrase to encompass a multitude of different fields.
It’s also important to discuss what they’re not. Executive coaches are not life coaches, psychiatrists, or business consultants. For example, life coaches help clients deal with personal issues like improving personal relationships, finding greater meaning in life, and becoming more financially stable. Psychiatrists help clients overcome psychiatric disorders requiring medication, such as clinical depression or anxiety. Business consultants help clients solve complex business problems like supply chain optimization or attaining regulatory compliance.
Many workers and organizations grapple with the decision to hire an executive coach or work with an external one. One of the major advantages of working with an external executive coach is the fact that they’re not affiliated with your company or directly involved in your day-to-day affairs. You’ll likely feel safer articulating your challenges and discussing your thoughts. Rest assured that an executive coach will be politically neutral and will not disclose details of your interactions to your manager or other superiors. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Armed with greater levels of confidence and trust, you’ll be more likely to embrace executive coaching and benefit from it.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of the benefits of executive coaching. Next week, we’ll climb to the next rung on the Executive Coaching Hierarchy of Needs.
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