Executive Coaching: Learning to be a Leader

When we think about professional development and building skills to move our careers forward — or professional development for our organization’s emerging leaders — what comes to mind?

Often, professional development that addresses important functional skills is readily available and easier to teach and measure. We don’t hesitate to sign up for project management certificates, workshops on finance for non-financial managers, and business writing seminars.

What about professional development focused on a broader and deeper set of individual leadership skills? There are fewer experts in the field of leadership development, communication, and emotional intelligence. Demonstrating competency after training is also not as simple or straightforward as taking pre- and post-training quizzes or completing an exercise.

Implied in the emphasis on training for functional skills like finance and project management is the assumption that these skills can be acquired and improved upon, but that leadership skills are a gift, a natural talent. Many people believe leadership is simply something that you are born with — either you have it or you don’t. The popular press reinforces this idea, featuring stories about high-profile entrepreneurs and business leaders with strong personalities and dramatic “I-did-it-my-way” paths to success.

We disagree with this assumption. Leadership can be learned. It can be practiced. Leadership can be cultivated, improved, and strengthened. But a one-day seminar on “leadership and change” will not have a meaningful impact. 

Executive coaching will. Executive coaching is a proven, structured approach that improves communication and leadership skills, creates changes in desired behaviors, and increases performance for sustained long-term results.

At Arden Coaching, an executive coaching engagement typically lasts six months and is organized as a one-on-one program of discovery, development, and transformation. We work with your emerging leaders to focus on very specific goals. Everything an executive coach does is built around a partnership that moves emerging leaders through an intentional process of:

  1. Heightened awareness about current and possible beliefs and behaviors
  2. Leveraging that awareness to build a tangible plan of action
  3. Achieving desired goals with specific, measurable results

For more, read Arden Coaching’s article, “What Happens in an Executive Coaching Engagement?”

Writing about important behaviors for emerging leaders in the Harvard Business Review, author Amy Jen Su, in “How New Managers Can Send the Right Leadership Signals,” talks about the importance of building an authentic and connected leadership presence. Her primary recommendation is to “Increase your emotional intelligence and situational awareness.”

“It’s incredibly important for new leaders to experience a successful launch,” said Maren Perry, president of Arden Coaching. “Executive coaching is ideally-suited to build critical leadership skills and help assure that new leaders get started on the right foot.”

There’s a tremendous need across many industries for new leadership, from financial services and healthcare to technology and nonprofits. As Baby Boomers age out of the workforce, there’s a significant gap — and a significant opportunity — for new leaders to emerge. Who are the future leaders at your organization? How will you prepare them for success?

To learn more about leadership and executive coaching contact us at [email protected] or 646.844.2233.