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Coaching for Leaders: Why Executives Need Support

Executive coaching is a multi-billion-euro industry as organisations globally believe that it can help their leaders innovate in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world.

More than 70% of formal leadership development programs include coaching.

Leaders are responsible for setting an organisation's direction and fostering alignment and commitment within their teams to move their company forward successfully. Executive coaching has a profound ripple effect, positively impacting the entire organisation. The results of coaching include:

The ability to navigate change sustainably

All organisations will go through periods of change at some stage. From leadership changes to entering new markets, organisations can use executive coaching to gain invaluable insights and recommendations to help support those steering the ship.

Effect feedback loops

Executive coaching creates a perfect feedback loop whereby executives can gain valuable opinions and feedback to seek continual improvements.

It helps celebrate transparency and communication, ensuring executives feel listened to and valued.

Increase the self-awareness of leaders

According to the authors of "How To Become a Better Leader," published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, self-awareness is the most critical leadership development capability.

Accurate self-awareness in leaders is directly linked to organisational effectiveness and profitability.

Employees naturally prefer to follow leaders who see themselves clearly and are willing to share their perceptions freely.

Leverage existing strengths of leaders

Having an effective and supportive coach can help leaders recognise and leverage strengths that they already have but may perhaps be underestimating.

Learning new ways to respond

Marshall Goldsmith, possibly the best-known executive coach in the U.S., wrote a book called "What Got You Here Won't Get You There." It's a clever title because the idea resonates universally.

We all have a set of capabilities and responses that may serve us well as mid-level employees but won't help us as senior leaders.

Build more productive relationships

Leaders can dramatically limit their effectiveness with the ability only to build strong relationships with certain people. And all too often, that means like-minded individuals in terms of background, race, gender, beliefs, or work style.

A good coach can help leaders recognise that bias in themselves and work against it by assisting them to see and question the limiting assumptions they make about people.

A coach can offer leaders the tools to support understanding and create strong working relationships with a wider variety of employees vital to an organisation.

A typical executive coaching engagement

Coaching engagements typically start with an intake process that includes gathering performance feedback through a 360-degree assessment or similar tool.

The coach and client set goals, define desired behaviour change and skills development and determine how to measure results. The coach and client then meet periodically to discuss progress and adapt as necessary.

A typical engagement is about six to twelve months long but can extend to the duration of the employee's time at an organisation. A coach can teach executives new ways of thinking, challenging them to harness new skills that will allow you to reach their goals and create the career they desire. Coaches can become certified through a variety of programs through The Henka Intitute.

Studies show that employee engagement tends to be high during a crisis. According to research from Willis Towers Watson, a global risk management company that researched the employee experience during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic:

  • 95% of employees report senior leaders demonstrated a "sincere interest" in employee well-being and safety

  • 89% believed their organisation enacted measures to ensure employees felt supported

  • 76% of employees say collaboration improved throughout their organisation.

In this window of high engagement, leaders have an opportunity to build trust through flexible benefits, education and training, and better communication. Coaches can provide clarity to help executives make better decisions about maintaining organisational performance, business continuity, and the safety, well-being, and financial security of their workforce.

Want to drive business transformation and become a professional ICF accredited coach? Sign up for The Henka Institute's next Cohort on the 24th of November 2020.

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