John Whitmore, in “Coaching for Performance,” defines coaching as: “unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn, rather than teaching them.”
According to a Stanford University/The Miles Group survey, two-thirds of CEO’s do not receive any outside advice on their leadership skills, yet almost all would be receptive to suggestions from a coach. Even Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric and currently a management consultant, worked with an advisor for many years.
What exactly is executive coaching? It is a systematic, self-directed process that is focused on solutions and results. Coaching is always aligned with an organization’s business priorities. The coach’s role is to facilitate enhanced performance and to provide coaching to improve competencies. Coaching begins where the employee is and ends where they want to be. It’s all about improving professional effectiveness.
Some common developmental issues that coaches typically focus on are interpersonal skills, executive presence, delegating, and presentation skills. Coaches are also used to facilitate an employee’s transition to a higher level in the organization. Objectivity is one of the primary advantages of hiring an external coach, rather than using an internal human resources professional. Although the coaching conversation itself is confidential, coaches are usually obligated to communicate the employee’s general progress to key stakeholders in the organization.