What Coaches Do?

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

2nd part.

What can executive coaching do?

Global research indicates that 58% of executive coaching engagements are for people who need leadership development, and only 20% of coaching engagements are for people with a specific problem or challenge.

Individuals or companies have multiple reasons for engaging a coach. At a very high level, leadership, communication, and relationships are at the top of the list. Some of the typical reasons/benefits include:

* Improvement

  • self-care / self-esteem / self-confidence

  • individual/team’s work performance

  • specific skills or behavior

  • ability to identify solutions to specific work-related issues

* Development

  • self-awareness

  • specific skills or behavior

  • correct behavior/performance difficulties

  • career

Some of the skills leaders pursue when they hire me as their coach have to do with Emotional Intelligence; Transitions; Transformation (e.g., Lean, Digital) and Executive Presence. American psychologist Daniel Goleman defined emotional intelligence as "The capacity for recognizing our feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships." The elements of emotional intelligence are:

  • Self-Rega

  • Self-Actualization

  • Self-Awareness

  • Emotional Expression

  • Assertiveness

  • Independence

  • Interpersonal Relationships

  • Empathy

  • Social Responsibility

  • Problem Solving

  • Reality Testing

  • Impulse Control

  • Flexibility

  • Stress Tolerance

  • Optimism

  • Happiness

The most common and typically not prioritized or even mentioned at the beginning of the coaching process is SELF-CARE, which is the foundation for any other goal to be pursued. The results obtained by a coachee who goes through executive coaching have a ripple effect on their work, life, family, and community.

How does executive coaching work?

Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build the client's level of awareness and responsibility and provides the client with structure, support, and feedback.

There are four main processes in a coaching program. I avoid the “cookie-cutter” approach by developing customized coaching programs depending on each client's needs:

  1. Select the coach, build rapport, and the relationship. A critical success factor is fit to build trust for the process to be effective.

  2. Collect data from assessments and other information to understand the client and readiness, build self-awareness, and collaborate to identify the goals and success metrics

  3. Develop actions to achieve the goals

  4. Execute actions, provide resources, and measure progress

At a high level, a program consists of sessions conducted in-person, video calls, or audio calls. Each meeting follows an agenda set by the client; during the session, the coach asks many questions, offers observations and feedback to motivate the client to reflect and dig deeper. Sometimes, clients want our input or suggestion. We first try to help the client find it and provide the information only when clients have exhausted their options. From time to time (upfront, give the heads up to the client), I do change to my consultant hat for a moment, provide my input, and then put the coach hat back on. After the session, the coach plans and provides the client with homework (yes, you read it right), readings, experiments. Important to note that the coachee is the one that does the heavy lifting and completes the work to deliver the results, supported and encouraged by the coach.

What is the ROI (return on investment) of executive coaching?

The benefits achieved can be calculated by determining the costs incurred as a result of failing to hire an executive coach or estimating the impact of coaching on at least one business area, for instance, the total value of resolving an issue.

Both the financial and non-monetary benefits must be identified and estimated. Another way to track the benefits associated with coaching is by using assessments; 360-feedback has become almost synonymous with coaching programs. Assessments conducted at the beginning of a coaching program help focus the goal-setting process, and readministering the same assessment later can determine the extent to which progress gets achieved.

Data obtained from the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the College of Executive Coaching shows the following:

Bottom-Line Results: Studies on coaching report an ROI of 5 to 7 times the initial investment.1 One reason, this may be so high, is that coaching can be customized to address individual needs. With week-to-week support and opportunities to integrate learning into real-life work experiences. Coaching is in contrast to training programs where the learning is forgotten in three months if it is not supported. Examples from business impact studies of coaching:

  • 28% of coaching clients in one study claimed they had learned enough to boost quantifiable job performance-whether in sales, productivity, or profits-by $500,000 to $1 million.

  • In a study on executive coaching ROI, a significant employer in the hospitality industry saved between $30 million and $60 million by coaching its top 200 executives.

  • A coaching firm reported saving its clients $100,000 by retaining two key executives. They improved efficiency and sales for account managers by $250,000; improved customer retention & satisfaction resulted in savings of more than $100,000.

In a survey of 4000+ corporations on their involvement with corporate coaching, the primary benefits of coaching reported are (in order):

  1. Improved individual performance

  2. Bottom line results (including profit)

  3. Client service and competitiveness

  4. Development of people for the next level, including confidence raising, skills and self-empowerment, goal achievement, relationship improvements, and retention.

Individual Benefits: In a study of 100 executives from Fortune 1000 companies who received coaching for six months to one year, the benefits to executives who received coaching improved:

  • Working relationships with direct reports (reported by 77% of executives)

  • Working relationships with immediate supervisors (71%)

  • Teamwork (67%)

  • Working relationships with peers (63%)

  • Job satisfaction (61%)

  • Working relationships with clients (37%)

Organizational Benefits: In the same study of 100 executives, benefits to their companies included improvements in:

  • Productivity (reported by 53% of executives)

  • Organizational strength (48%)

  • Retaining executives who received coaching (32%)

  • Cost reductions (23%)

  • Bottom-line profitability (22%)

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