What are the advantages of using an executive coach?

  • Helping managers achieve their full potential.
  • Retention - making managers feel valued.
  • Improved confidence and performance.
  • Confidential sounding board.
  • Skill diversification to enhance their value to the business.
  • Build on strengths.
  • Address skill gaps.

A good coach is... 

  • A strong listener to understand needs and feelings.
  • Determined to maintain or enhance self esteem.
  • Able to flex between drawing solutions out of people and offering developmental tips as required.
  • Able to inspire trust quickly.
  • Coaches ask questions to help others achieve new insights.
  • Good questions help people think through issues for themselves.
  • When managers need to solve problems on the job, an effective coach asks supportive questions so that managers develop and own their own solutions.
  • More direct ''tutoring'' is OK for specific skill improvement such as how to manage time or delegate more effectively. In this case, executive coaching works exactly the same way as sports coaching.

Why coaching?

  • For the same reason top athletes and sports people have coaches.
  • To transform good performance into winning achievement.
  • Management is a sophisticated profession requiring highly developed skills.
  • Most sports people recognize that their best is due to a team effort.
  • Top athletes know that individual excellence is not enough to beat competitors.
  • It is not about doing it all yourself - such managers are only effective in a crisis.
  • The pressure to perform at high levels requires your continual improvement.

What do executives work on with their coaches?

  • Handling difficult situations with people.
  • Developing a more strategic perspective.
  • How to get more done through others.
  • Enhancing influencing skills.
  • How to build partnerships with key internal customers and stakeholders.
  • Fostering collaboration and innovation.
  • Issues that are hard to discuss openly with colleagues.
  • Concerns about competence, personal doubts.
  • Interpreting negative feedback from others.
  • Feeling plateaued, career stalled.
  • Recent blows to self esteem and confidence.

Coaching skills

  • Coaching in business has the same objective as in sports - to help high performers reach greater heights.
  • The coach works with the coaching client's objectives and skills to help fine tune them.
  • As in sports, the coach must understand the "game" - the context and rules within each corporate culture
  • Coaching is a mixture of direct advice and questions designed to stimulate thinking.
  • Open ended, non-judgemental questions stimulate broader thinking.
  • This requires listening skills, patience, sensitive probing and supportive feedback.
  • When the people receiving coaching get off track, ask them to consider certain implications of their preferred course of action rather than telling them your "answers".
  • Pose suggestions as questions: 'How do you think this approach would work for you?' 'What would be the advantages and disadvantages as you see them?'
  • Avoid closing down too quickly on a solution - strive to dig deeper into how the other person thinks by probing with further open questions, such as:
  • 'I wonder what leads you to that view?'
  • 'Can you help me understand your reasoning there?'
  • 'What are the benefits of that approach for you?
  • Acknowledge any insights gained and good points made.
  • Ask what they will do differently and by when.
  • Strive always in coaching to maintain and enhance the other person's self esteem.
  • Effective coaching is forward looking - where do you want to go from here rather than a lot of emphasis on why you got to where you are.
  • Too much of the latter undermines confidence, making the person feel that they have something really wrong with them.
  • A balance needs to be struck between backwards introspection and positive, forward action with the emphasis on the latter.
  • Even too much forward thinking can be like throwing darts in the dark - better to take some experimental action and review progress than spend too much time on navel gazing to make decisions that cannot be made in a vacuum. Otherwise it is like trying to decide whether you like an exotic food item without first tasting it.
  • Coaching adds most practical value whenl the other person has a concrete action plan to do something different.

What is your potential?

  • How coaching can help you determine and achieve your potential 
  • Why is it that the best sports people all have coaches?
  • Because they are determined to reach their full potential.
  • It is difficult for managers to accept coaching from their peers.
  • When did you last take stock of where you are and where you are going?
  • How clear are you about your strengths and weaknesses?
  • If you are junior you can accept coaching from very senior colleagues or role models.
  • But as you get near the top yourself, you have only your peers to look to.
  • A professional golfer would only expect ad hoc tips from competitors, not serious coaching.
  • In business it is hard to accept feedback from colleagues anyway- we are too defensive.
  • And they may have an axe to grind.
  • Their perception may be biased - they are too close to you - like in your family.
  • The closer anyone is to you the more they will be caught up in the same issues.
  • Greater distance is necessary to achieve a reasonable degree of objectivity.
  • A good coach should be like a mirror - you won't really see yourself accurately otherwise.
  • Without a coach, how do you expect to achieve your full potential?

Our Coaching Service

All of our coaching is conducted by Mitch McCrimmon, Ph.D. It is offered on a "pay as you go" basis, thus no need to sign up for a period of time that is more than you need. Our coaching is delivered face to face, over the phone or via Skype. Use our Contact page to find out more.