Anna and Terrance are two high potential employees at their fast-growing software development company. Over coffee, they were talking about separate but similar meetings they had with Barbara, their CEO, about their leadership potential at the company and corporate coaching. Barbara had discussed their strong performance, their promising futures with the company, and her interest in having them take on more responsibility. She offered executive coaching for each of them, to help them develop and accelerate their leadership skills.
“Coaching will be incredibly helpful for you,” said Barbara, “However, I’m being selfish too. Organizations can’t outpace their leaders, and if its leaders aren’t growing, the company is stagnating or dying. The company needs to continue to evolve and I see your leadership development as part of that evolution.”
It all sounded great. But, they wondered, “Don’t people who are struggling or falling short need coaches? Would executive coaching really be a good thing for them?” So they had done some homework and were comparing notes. What they learned helped them recognize how coaching would significantly improve their workplace performance.
1. Executive Coaching is Goal-Oriented and Customized
Anna and Terrance found that good executive coaches begin by establishing goals and creating a plan that is customized to meet their individual client needs. For example, Anna is interested in becoming a better communicator. Terrance is eager to develop his strategic thinking skills. Each could work toward specific goals and develop a plan with their coach designed especially for them.
2. Coaching Provides an Outside Perspective
An executive coach will offer an outside perspective. Their expertise and objectivity will more closely correlate to how others really perceive you — not how you imagine yourself to be. That’s critically important because most of us see ourselves inaccurately! In a research study, organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich found that “95% of people think they’re self-aware, but only 10-15% truly are.”
It’s a natural disconnect that a coach will help bridge. With genuine self-awareness, Anna and Terrance could envision how much more precise and focused they could be about addressing leadership weaknesses and performance gaps, developing the leadership skills they needed most, and improving their performance.
3. Critical Leadership Characteristics Drive Performance
There are a number of specific characteristics and behaviors that terrific leaders possess. Executive coaches help their clients concentrate on, and develop, high-priority characteristics.
Anna and Terrance were excited by the opportunity to further develop their executive presence, their ability to positively influence others, offering feedback, and their communication skills — particularly the ability to handle difficult conversations.
4. Emotional Intelligence = Success
According to a study by TalentSmart, emotional intelligence is the largest, most significant factor in performance when compared to 33 other workplace skills. It’s a strong correlation. Much stronger than functional or technical knowledge. Anne and Terrance saw that being a great app developer does not translate automatically into being a great manager or an inspiring leader in an app development company.
To achieve the highest levels of performance, an executive coach will help them build their emotional intelligence levels (and yes, emotional intelligence is an acquired skill that can be learned!).
5. Recognize the Long Term Value of “Early” Training
Barbara had told Anna and Terrance, “Most people at a senior level say, ‘I wish I had been able to get coaching sooner. I wish I had known about leadership characteristics such as Emotional Intelligence, how to give feedback better as a new manager, and effective communication skills.’” She wanted to start early with Anna and Terrance — promising employees ready to begin their journey to the next level.
They realized that early training will make a substantial difference in the long-term trajectory of their work performance and success — analogous to starting to save for retirement at 25 years old instead of 40 years old.
Grow Your Workplace Performance with Corporate Coaching
Quality corporate coaching is results-oriented and aligns individual goals with organizational goals for a win-win — improving performance. To learn more about how corporate coaching will help you improve your performance and leadership skills, contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.