Executive coaching all you need to know dispell the myths


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Executive coaching all you need to know dispell the myths

  1. 1. ==== ====Questions on coaching? This is a great place to find out more:http://bit.ly/ym3YLX==== ====1. MYTH: Executive coaching takes up a lot of timeFACT: This is not true, but it does depend on your point of view. Every executive that I coachvalues their time highly. Executives who are serious about their personal development quicklyappreciate that the time spent with their executive coach is valuable and delivers many tangibleand intangible benefits. Not only is the coaching of great value to them but it also delivers greatimprovements to their organisation as the executive becomes more inspired and fulfilled in theirrole. These effects are felt by the executives team, their peers, their clients, their stakeholders andtheir bosses. Also, executive coaching is a form of personal development specifically designed forbusy executives who want to become better than they are right now. To attain maximum benefitfrom the coaching the sessions take place at the clients workplace and last from 90 minutes totwo hours, depending on the needs of the executive or the coachee (the person receiving thecoaching). Sessions take place every four to six weeks. Again this frequency of meeting is tailoredto meet the needs of the executive and organisation. Many other executive coaching practitionersspend an hour a week with their executive clients, but research at Ashridge School of Businesshas shown that it is more effective to allow four to six weeks between the coaching sessions andto ensure that each session is a maximum of two hours. This is the model we employ at NewThought Leader. After each coaching session the executive will have some follow-on activities tocomplete. Some coaches call this homework but I like to call it job-work as the assigned tasksusually relate to the work that the executive is currently engaged in. There might be someadditional tasks that the executive may not normally perform, such as completing an assessmentor a reflective journal that captures their thoughts or feelings as they are engaging in a newbehaviour. These activities are designed with the executives schedule in mind and can usually becompleted with a maximum of two hours effort between the sessions. The total time that would becommitted by the executive during a typical six month engagement can be achieved within 22hours. This works out to a little under an hour a week on average. So now I ask you the question -is an hour a week too much time to invest in your professional development?2. MYTH: It is impossible to measure the outcomes of executive coachingFACT: This myth is a sort of half truth. Very often organisations fall into the trap of wantingmeasurable and verifiable outcomes from all of the coaching in which they have invested. Many ofthe outcomes of coaching are predictable and measurable, especially in a programme ofbehavioural or skills coaching. Some forms of coaching however are less predictable and are oftennot measurable or verifiable, such as coaching contracts that are based on exploration anddiscovery. Contracts such as these are only ever verifiable by the coachee who will know whenthey have achieved the goals of their coaching. Another point to mention here is not all of theoutcomes of coaching are predictable. This is because the business of coaching deals with humannature, which is probably one of the most unpredictable forces on this planet. A coaching
  2. 2. engagement will commence with all the best intentions of achieving certain goals but even themost skilled of executive coaches cannot forecast all the possible outcomes of coaching. That isthe nature of change and uncertainty involved in the process. As coaches, we are skilled atmanaging change and the chaos that can arise from the change-work, but we cant say with 100%certainty that the outcomes that we anticipate at the outset of the coaching will transpire. The factis that many executives who participate in a programme of executive coaching receive morebenefit than they bargained for. One final point here is that coaching provides so many intangiblebenefits that it can be challenging or dare I say it, impossible to measure them all. Where possiblethe coach and the organisation paying for the coaching should agree in advance which outcomesof the programme can be realistically predicted and quantified and agree the method ofmeasurement and verification.3. MYTH: Successful executives dont need executive coachingFACT: This is definitely not true. In fact quite the opposite is true. Some of the most successfulexecutives in top FTSE 100 companies have their own executive coaches. The most savvy ofexecutives knows that there is always room for improvement. We have no way of measuring themaximum potential that anyone can aspire to, but executive coaching provides the keys to unlockthe latent talent within an executive while building on the talent that they are consciously aware of.4. MYTH: Everyone is coachableFACT: This is not true. Every executive coach would like to believe that it is true, but in realitysome people are more coachable than others. Executive coaching works best for executives whoare open minded and are willing to change. The type of executive who benefits from coaching issomeone who takes responsibility for their own development and knows that they are capable ofachieving more. I always recommend to my organisational clients that before we engage in aprogramme of coaching, an assessment be carried out by the organisation, with some guidancefrom myself, to determine the level of coachability of the potential coachee. This ensures that theresults of the coaching programme are always high and meet the expectations of the sponsor (theorganisation paying for the coaching) and the coachee.5. MYTH: Executive coaching is about the coach telling me what to do and how to run mybusinessFACT: Absolutely not! An executive coach is in no way qualified to tell you how to run yourbusiness. As an executive you may hire an executive coach to streamline your thinking or toprovide assistance as a sounding board for your ideas, but an executive coach cannot advise youon how to run your business. The executive coach is qualified to be a coach and as a coach theywill also help you overcome obstacles or achieve goals. They are qualified in the art of coaching,not in running their clients business. As part of the coaching, the coach will be able to offer theircoachee a different perspective or new insights into an existing problem or situation. Theexecutive can then choose whether to act on or dismiss that information, so the executive isalways fully in control and fully responsible for their actions.6. MYTH: The executive coach can help take up some of the executives workloadFACT: It is definitely not the role of the executive coach to do the executives "dirty washing", make
  3. 3. his tea or act as his PA. The executive coach may help the executive in reducing their workload byhelping them to delegate more effectively. The primary role of the executive coach is to facilitateand assist in the executives development.7. MYTH: Executive coaching is the same as life coachingFACT: Most definitely not! I am quite passionate about this subject as I have witnessed a shockinggrowth of unregulated, poorly-trained and under-qualified life coaches who are given certificatesafter a weekend workshop. These people are given such low exposure to the real nature ofcoaching and little if any practical experience in coaching. Their work is unsupervised and veryrarely have they even had the experience of being coached by a skilled coach themselves. Thesepoorly informed life coaches, who may mean well, are giving coaching a bad reputation.Professional coaches on the other hand are very skilled at what they do. They are knowledgeableabout the psychology and models that underpin their work. They are very self aware andpassionate about their own personal development and understand the value of continual selfdevelopment. To give you a practical application of this, I undertake supervision on a regularbasis. This allows me the time necessary to reflect on my own practice as a coach so that I cancontinually improve and provide greater value to my clients. I also have my own coach who helpsme improve my performance among other things. I walk my talk. So if you are considering hiringan executive coach, make sure that they are accredited by one of the appropriate coachingbodies, the EMCC or the ICF for example. All of New Thought Leaders coaching staff are activemembers of professional coaching bodies. Also, all of them receive regular supervision andcoaching. In summary, I believe in the power and potential that quality coaching can bring toindividuals and organisations, so I insist on the very highest standards in the executive coachesthat I work with. They need to demonstrate excellence and continual improvement in their art. Isettle for nothing less - why should you?8. MYTH: Executive Coaching is only for use when executives are failingFACT: Not so! Coaching used to be viewed as a remedial activity to "fix" a problem person in theorganisation or as a defence used by HR to say "...well we tried to help the guy....", just beforeletting them go. Executive coaching can also be used to provide assistance to executives whoadmit to having challenges, but only they will benefit once they take responsibility for their changeand own the issues that they are faced with. Executive coaching has a diverse range ofapplications for executives including improving their effectiveness and performance, advancingtheir communication skills, collaborating with them to create a compelling vision, provideassistance in applying their time to strategic issues and so on. Executive coaching is now beingoffered to top executives as a perk that improves retention within the organisation.9. MYTH: Executive coaching is the same as therapy and counsellingFACT: Definitely not! The words therapy and counselling may have many meanings for anindividual. If therapy means lying on a couch talking about your mother or father while the therapistnods a lot and speaks in Germanic accent, then no - coaching is not therapy. There are manyreasons why executive coaching is not therapy. Here are just a few: in therapy the therapist isconsidered the expert, coaching views the coach and client as co-experts in the relationship. Assuch the plan for coaching is designed as an alliance by the coach and coachee. In therapy thethe therapist plans the treatment. Therapy is problem-oriented and involves spending many hours
  4. 4. examining the problem, whereas coaching is solution-oriented with a much smaller amount of timespent examining the problem. Therapy tends to focus on people with major mental or emotionalissues. Coaching is about working with a functioning individual with the goal of working to theexecutives strengths. Having presented these facts, it is only fair to point out that there is someoverlap with coaching and therapy. Both the coach and therapist have many skills in common,such as listening and helping the clients find insights. Both the coach and therapist utilise theclients past experience in helping them to make sense and to then move forward taking actionwhile utilising new knowledge. Also the coach and therapist work with emotional material that theirclient brings as a means to facilitating their growth.10. MYTH: A successful executive coach needs to have similar experience to the executive beingcoachedFACT: This is not necessarily so. It may be of help to the executive to know the coach has beenthrough what they have been through, in which case a programme of mentoring may be of valueto the executive. However, an executive coach will bring a whole new set of skills that theexecutive may be unlikely to possess. The executive coaching relationship works best when boththe executive and the coach are engaged in the learning process. So the balance of theexecutives knowledge coupled with the coachs skill at being able to provide learning strategies toassist them create a powerful alliance.11. MYTH: Executive coaching is just a management fadFACT: Certainly not! It is true to say that coaching has been the subject of a remarkable trendsince the turn of the millennium but fads come and go - just like corduroy flares or mullets!Executive coaching has been around in many guises (but not under this label) for over twentyyears. Popularity and demand for executive coaching has increased in the last ten years or somainly due to the accelerated rate of business change. This rapid rate of change has forcedorganisations to reconsider the business paradigms that they have operated within for manyyears. As a result organisations are now understanding the need for continuous learning thatremains adaptive to the current and future needs of the marketplace. This new paradigm shift hasalso brought about the need for a new type of leadership where emotional intelligence andcollaboration are more highly valued. Executive coaching provides these new leaders andorganisations with the tools to operate more effectively in the ever changing businessenvironment, something that traditional training or business schools are failing to deliver.Executive coaching is here to stay and will continue to go from strength to strength as more andmore executives and organisations discover its power and potential.12. MYTH: Executive coaching is expensiveFACT: Expensive is a relative term so lets compare the cost of coaching to training. Firstly findingspace in the busy executives diary for training is a task requiring much patience and tenacity onthe part of the training organisation. Once the training has been delivered, one of the majorchallenges facing the executive is they are left to apply the knowledge learned from the training ontheir own. The result is that little, if any, of the training is applied when the executive returns totheir day to day role. Research has shown that potentially up to 90% of an organisations trainingbudget is wasted because it is rarely applied. Executive Coaching on the other hand, provides atailored form of continuous education and learning which enables the executive to immediately
  5. 5. apply the learnings from the coaching and discuss their observations about the application with thecoach at the next session. This ensures value is derived from the coaching. Studies have alsoshown that coaching can provide as much as 500% return on investment (coachingfederation.org)so coaching can actually make money for your organisation and thereby become less of a costand more of an investment.13. MYTH: Mentoring is another word for executive coachingFACT: This is untrue and arises from a misunderstanding of the differences between an executivecoach and a mentor. While there are large overlaps among the skills of a mentor and an executivecoach, there are some fundamental differences that you need to be aware of to determine whethermentoring or executive coaching is the most appropriate course of action. The first majordifference is that a mentor tends to be someone in-house who is qualified to act as a mentorbecause they model the ideal work behaviours, attitudes and beliefs that the organisation placesvalue on. A mentor acts as a role models for their mentee (a person being mentored), instructingthem on ways to behave and think in certain circumstances. Executive coaching as a processtends to be less directive than mentoring and relies heavily on the executive coach bringing thebest out of the coachee, by assisting them in finding the answers within themselves rather thansupplying them the answers. Does this mean an executive coach never instructs or provideanswers? Preferably not, but in the instances where the coachee has hit a plateau or a brick wall,the executive coach may offer carefully framed suggestions or advice that facilitates the forwardmovement of the coachee. In mentoring, there are always right or appropriate answers and thementor knows them. With executive coaching, the only answers are those that the coachee offersand these are not judged by the coach as being right or wrong. The job of the coach, as statedearlier, is to facilitate the coachees access to their answers from within themselves. In this way,coaching fosters independence in the coachee whereas mentoring can foster dependence on thementor. Another difference is that mentoring relies heavily on the mentors expertise of the subjectmatter, whereas executive coaching relies on the coach facilitating the advanced learning and/orthe improved performance of their coachee. The agenda of the mentoring relationship is mainlyset by the organisation. The agenda of coaching is mainly set by the coachee, in collaboration withtheir organisation and coach. In summary, mentoring is a valid tool for directing the learning ofindividuals so that they behave, think and communicate in a way that is aligned with the mentor. Ifyou require creativity and free thinking to provide an extra edge in performance and effectiveness,then executive coaching is a more appropriate tool for this outcomeSummaryExecutive coaching is a remarkable trend that continues to grow globally. As a result, many mythshave been formed about what it is or isnt and whether it can deliver enough benefits to justify theinvestment of time and money. This leaves executives and HR professionals wondering if it canbring long lasting and tangible benefits to their organisations.Mark Buchan is one of Britains most sought after coaches. He coaches executives and businessowners from a wide range of business sectors. His ability to facilitate change, raise awareness,explore context and identify the keys issues with his clients is fast earning him the reputation ofWorlds Best Coach.
  6. 6. Mark provides free executive coaching taster sessions to allow people the chance to experiencethe benefits of coaching for themselves. Click here to find out more:http://www.newthoughtleader.com/free-executive-coaching-session.phpNew Thought Leader is a team of professionals dedicated to improving organisational andpersonal performance. Visit our website today to review other interesting topics around the area oforganisational and personal development.[http://www.newthoughtleader.com/knowledgebase/knowledgebase.php]Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mark_Buchan==== ====Questions on coaching? This is a great place to find out more:http://bit.ly/ym3YLX==== ====