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Hi,

BLUF:  what types of things should I consider to try to improve on when working with an executive coach?  Are they beat used to bounce ideas off of, or to help overcome insecurities, or to work on specific skills?

now some background if anyone is interested. I'm one of 5 VPs who report directly to our CEO, so a very senior in our small firm.  The CEO recently hired a coach to help him with some challenges and found it so useful that he has essentially told all 5 of us that if we want to hire a coach, the expense is approved.  

He wants nothing to do with determining what we may want/need to work with the coach on.  I view a chance to have an executive coach as a great investment in improving my own performance and think it would be foolish to not take him up on this offer.  I only wonder how to get the most out of this process.

I would love to hear some perspectives or experiences my fellow MT/CT listeners have on getting the most out of executive coaching.

thanks in advance,

V

GlennR's picture

I've been a coach for several years now. Kudos to your CEO, you have been given an awesome resource. Now the tricky part. How to gain the best possible ROI.

There are various coaching models so it's difficult to tell you what to expect. I think it's safe to say that you should have one very clear long-term goal. For example, "I want to become more successful when implementing change management." Or, "I want to become more effective at building relationships with my fellow VP's."

If your coach uses a model calling for specific goals, then you're on your way. He or she will help you figure out a way to measure your goal so don't obsess over the fact that it doesn't now say, "Improve by 50% my ability to..."

Next, you need to trust your coach and commit to following through on the action items you will generate (yes, you.)

The particular coaching model I use is one where we have a long term goal that may require 6-10 coaching sessions (usually one a month). At each call, we set an objective for that session that contributes to the overall goal. Sessions generally last about 50-60 minutes (mine are all via phone).

Good luck, If anyone else out there can take advantage of executive coaching, grab it as soon as you can.

Glenn

scm2423's picture

I have worked with a coach a number of times in the last 5 years and it has been life changing.  What you get out of the sessions really depend on how committed you are.  There is no simple answer to how to gain the best ROI on this investment of time and money.  It really depends on your situation.  A couple of questions you may want to think about before starting on this are:

  • What do I want and what is holding me back from getting it?
  • What do I want to do better?  What do I beat myself up over?
  • What am I afraid of doing? 

In my coaching sessions we talked about all kinds of things big and small.  I remember one call where we only dealt with my marriage, what a wake up call that was.  I was not expecting to go there at all.  I asked about it the next session and said I felt guilty about not talking about work issues.  My coach says it happens all the time and that home life affects my work life so there are not boundaries with her.  

S

mike_bruns_99's picture

Question for those who have found good coaches: How did you find them and in general, how much are you paying?  

I was a middle manager in several large companies for a number of years, and now own a small (but growing) 10-person company. I think a coach would be helpful for me, but I'm having a hard-time finding the appropriate level. I'll admit I haven't looked very hard, but the people I'm finding are:  

  • Targeted at SVP's and CEO's of very large organizations, way too expensive for me at this point
  • Targeted at business startups
  • People who are good with "motivational quotes" but no practical application.

I'm starting to build a solid network in my local area in my industry, I'm going to reach-out to them for recommendations. If you have personal recommendations, please also let me know. 

Thanks!

david_rohlander's picture

When you think you can improve you may be ready for a coach. There are all kinds of coaches and there are also mentors to consider. I would suggest you interview several people to select the one that best meets your style, needs and wants. Remember that the person asking questions is in control of the conversation so invest some time in formulating those things you want to know and understand before you interview a candidate to be your coach or mentor. During the interview pay special attention to how and what the coach candidate focuses on.

As a coach and mentor for many years, I have found that it is like a dance. There are numerous types of dancing and not everyone is best suited to all people. Take your time and be sure to do a "gut" check before you start. Do you like them, can you respect them and what is their unwritten agenda. When there is a good match you can create magic. 

david_rohlander's picture

When you think you can improve you may be ready for a coach. There are all kinds of coaches and there are also mentors to consider. I would suggest you interview several people to select the one that best meets your style, needs and wants. Remember that the person asking questions is in control of the conversation so invest some time in formulating those things you want to know and understand before you interview a candidate to be your coach or mentor. During the interview pay special attention to how and what the coach candidate focuses on.

As a coach and mentor for many years, I have found that it is like a dance. There are numerous types of dancing and not everyone is best suited to all people. Take your time and be sure to do a "gut" check before you start. Do you like them, can you respect them and what is their unwritten agenda. When there is a good match you can create magic. 

GlennR's picture

Two possible sources for finding a coach:

  1. Check the nearest chapter of the Society For Human Relationship Management (SHRM.org)
  2. Network through your professional organization or Chamber of Commerce.

 

Of course, the coach doesn't have to be in the same city as you, but you might prefer it.

Some really good replies above. Thinking MT ought to give out bumper stickers that say, "Manager Tools.com- It's Not Just The Podcasts!"

DBCoach's picture

 

I have been coaching executives for 12 + years and here are some things that come up a lot: Work Life Balance, Change Management, Leadership Skills, Strategic Planning issues. To get the most out of coaching here is what you need to be willing to do: change your behavior, relook at assumptions, decisions you have made, experiment and try new things, start telling what's really true, remove all sources of stress, eradicate all triggers of adrenaline, redesign how you spend your time, get the support you need to handle a problem, set goals that are much bigger, raise your own personal standards, that treating people much better and stop tolerating. If you are willing to look at those than coaching is for you. 

 

Good luck to you on this exciting journey!

 

Daniela 

 

VPfreedude's picture

 Wow guys, thank you for all the great input!  I have. A lot of things to think about in the next fee weeks that's for sure!

dschreiber's picture

I found this thread recently and  I wanted to add one thought.

BLUF: I'm in the opposite situation where my firm explicitly said they wouldn't provide me a coach due to the expense. I took the opportunity to use Manager Tools podcasts as a proxy and have been very successful. I would encourage others to do the same if they're unable to have an executive coach dedicated to them.

More detail: 

I've been working through the various podcasts and topics. I've worked with my admin to help hold me accountable to better practices. I've made a huge improvement over the last 15 months a little at a time. I've rolled out the trinity and change my own personal habits to be more effective. In the end, having the voices of Mark and Mike to listen to each morning on my run or on my commute makes a big difference. I  think about how to apply the tools they share in my situation.

As much as anything, I appreciate the sense that striving to be a better manager and an effective executive is a worthy endeavor. And the challenge of making it a reality in my organization is no different than any other organization. It's messy and complicated and not always perfect. And totally worthwhile.