What Is Executive Coaching?

A Definition

Professional Coaching is an ongoing partnership that helps clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life.

Quote: More than seventy percent of the respondents to a survey of HR professionals believed that coaching is actually more effective than training courses as a means of changing behavior and improving the performance of senior executives and high-flyers. In each meeting, the client chooses the focus of conversation while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions. This interaction creates clarity and moves the client into action. Coaching accelerates the client's progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice. Coaching concentrates on where clients are today and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be tomorrow. [Source: International Coach Federation]

Coaching is a young and rapidly growing profession

Formal executive coaching has only been around since the mid-1980s. The field has started to grow exponentially.  A Harvard Business School study predicts the $1 billion market will double in just the next two years.

Some large companies, like IBM, Marriott and Cisco Systems, have recognized the benefits of coaching and are training their staff to provide these services in-house. Business schools are also just now starting to offer classes with executive coaching content.

I can work with you to bring the benefits of coaching to your organization.

Coaching is all about You

The reason coaching is so effective is that it's not a generic once-size-fits-all program. Each client/coach relationship is custom-tailored. We'll work together on the issues that are most important to you.

Have you ever felt like you could get so much more accomplished if you could just block out all the distractions in your life? During our coaching sessions, that's just what we'll do.

One of my roles is to "hold the space" so you can focus on yourself. What's important to you? What's not so important? Where are you in your life and your career? Where do you want to be? What do you need to do to get there? What can you do to make your life better?

Answering these questions is the essence of coaching.

Coaching is about accountability and progress

If you just want to sit and talk about yourself, there are plenty of people you can pay to listen to you do that.

You're hiring me as your coach because you're ready to make changes. You want to make progress toward those goals you've struggled with, or perhaps only daydreamed about.

As your coach, I'll hold you accountable to the goals you've set for yourself. You'll achieve more than you thought possible.

Coaching is about Return on Investment

Executive coaching is not cheap, but it's cost effective. One formal study showed an ROI of 5.7 times the initial investment.

Think about it this way:
Executives are highly paid for the amount of responsibility they bear. They usually have numerous direct reports, and they can be accountable for the performance of thousands of employees.

If an executive can improve his or her effectiveness by 5-10%, how might that cascade down to the organization's profitability? What if the improvement was 20% or more?

Coaching is Confidential

I will keep everything we discuss strictly confidential, even if your organization is the one paying my fees. I will not discuss your progress with your boss, your HR Manager, your co-workers, your family, or anyone else. Those relationships, and the communication that sustains them, are your responsibility.

Coaching is not limited by geography

So, you don’t live and work in Upstate New York? No problem! Most coaching is done by telephone. Fewer than half my clients are local. Some coaches have clients located all around the world. As long as we can work out the time zone differences on our schedules, distance is not a factor. If you prefer meeting in person, we can discuss how to make that happen.

Coaching is not Consulting

With a consultant, you’re paying that person for their knowledge and experience. Your organization has a problem, and you pay the consultant to give you a solution.

As a coach, I don’t sell you solutions to problems. I don’t give you answers. I help you find your own solutions and answers. This makes you more capable and confident going forward on your own.

Remember the old adage?
"Give a man a fish and he has a meal. Teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime."

That’s the difference between consulting and coaching.

Coaching is not Counseling

When a person goes to counseling, there is the implication that the person is "broken" and needs to be "fixed". The patient isn’t able to solve his or her own problems. The therapist works to fix the patient.

The philosophy behind coaching assumes that you are creative, resourceful and whole. You are not broken. You are the one person who is responsible for making changes in your life, and you’ve got the ability to do so.

As your coach, I’m there to lend a little assistance now and then. I’m there to cheer when you succeed. I’m there to help you learn from your mistakes. I’m there to keep you focused on your goals. But I’m not there to fix you.

For more information

I've created a one-page leaflet that summarizes the information presented here on the web site. Please click here to download this Adobe Acrobat PDF file (44Kb). You can also contact me to request a printed copy via US Post.