What is executive coaching?

What is Executive Coaching actually?  How can an Executive Coach help me?  What will working with a coach be like?

As coaching becomes more and more popular, it seems to become more of a buzzword used to describe a variety of approaches, many of which we Certified Coaches would not consider coaching at all.  So what is actual coaching and how might it benefit you?

First, let’s start with the definition from the International Coach Federation (ICF), the independent credentialing body for the coaching profession:

  • “Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

While that is accurate, it’s not very precise or useful in a practical way.  Instead, let’s use the ICF’s Core Competencies to define it more precisely.  This is the definition Arden Coaching’s President, Maren Perry, created:

  • “Partnering with a client to increase their awareness about current and possible beliefs and behaviors, then using that awareness to build a plan of action to achieve a desired goal.”

When we look at this in the context of leadership development, we see two major components:

  1. Examining our patterns of thought and behavior
  2. Adjusting these to achieve specific goals

So if you have specific leadership goals, such as:

  • Achieving a specific business objective
  • Creating a more substantive succession plan
  • Shifting the culture or environment of your workplace

Coaching can be used to help you identify as a leader what habits you currently have that are supporting the successful achievement of these goals, and what you may be thinking or doing that is getting in the way of these goals.  An executive coach would then help you develop a plan to adjust your thinking and/or behavior in order to align your own style and approach with the goals you plan to achieve.

As leaders, the most frequent thing that gets in the way of results are our own habits: the inability to see things differently than we always have, or the habits we have in place that have us tend to always react the same way when a new approach might provide more impact.  Executive coaching is a tool to help leaders who want to take responsibility for their own approach and results: it helps them grow into more flexible, self-aware leaders with a larger variety of tools in their toolkit for achieving results.





To discuss the specifics of your own situation and how coaching could benefit your or your organization, contact us for a consultation.