Executive coaching shouldn’t be a secret.

The need for executive coaching is higher now than ever, and so is the demand for it. According to a 2013 survey done by Stanford Graduate School of Business, nearly 100% of CEOs surveyed responded that they want and enjoy the process of receiving coaching and leadership advice. Even so, the same survey showed that nearly two-thirds of CEOs aren’t receiving it, along with almost half of senior executives.

These numbers simply aren’t cutting it. CEOs and executives are not seeking the guidance they need. Stephen Miles, CEO of The Miles Group, urges that “Even the best-of-the-best CEOs have blind spots and can dramatically improve their performance with an outside perspective weighing in.” This is true across all industries and organizations.

Jack Welch, another prominent authority on career advancement, recently published an article on LinkedIn entitled “10 Behaviors That could kill Your Career.” The article outlines 10 behaviors, such as resistance to change and complacency that even the best executives are sometimes guilty of. The truth is, no matter how high you’ve climbed up the ladder, you can always continue to improve. According to Welch, choosing to change ineffective behaviors and improve in your career “can mean the difference between an upward ride and a downward spiral at work.”

The problem is that in many cases, these career-killing behaviors are obvious to everyone but the executive. That’s why they need outside counsel to help them identify areas for improvement and effective methods for making the changes that need to be made.

 

The Benefits of Executive Coaching

Even though many more CEOs serve to benefit from seeking the services of an executive coach, many are already realizing big changes. According to the Stanford survey, the areas in which CEOs are using coaching to improve include “sharing leadership/delegation, conflict management, team building, and mentoring.” According to Miles, “These skills are more nuanced and actually more difficult to coach because many people are more sensitive about these areas. However, when combined with the ‘harder’ skills, improving a CEO’s ability to motivate and inspire can really make a difference in his or her overall effectiveness”.

 

Measuring the Success of Executive Coaching

Brian Underhill, CEO of CoachSource has given a glimpse on his current research. Today, More organizations are measuring the impact of executive coaching.  On that note, another survey, conducted by Sherpa Executive Coaching, shows that the 360 method, a process pioneered many years ago by Marshall Goldsmith of Stakeholder Centered Coaching, is still the most effective tool for measuring the benefits of coaching. Companies today want to make sure that their investment is returning benefits.

 

The one-on-one method is full of secrecy

Traditional coaching works with an executive and an executive coach one-on-one. But one-on-one coaching misses the mark because of the secrecy that accompanies the engagement. Traditional coaching addresses behavior, but rarely perception, so the executive ends asking himself, “I have changed, why haven’t they noticed?” Enter the Stakeholder Centered Coaching approach, because this process is centered on the stakeholder’s perceptions from the start, both the behavior of the executive and the perception of his/her stakeholders are changed simultaneously. This is the differentiator of the process; both changes are needed to make the executive a more effective leader.

The Marshall Goldsmith approach takes the “secrecy” out of the equation and allows stakeholders to help the executive directly to change his behavior and to measure the success of the engagement. If done right, coaching could be the source of a great competitive edge.

Luis Velasquez MBA, PhD

Luis is a leadership coach, employee engagement expert, and management trainer. Formerly a University professor and research scientist, Luis holds a dual Ph.D. from Michigan State University; and an MBA in Organizational Leadership.

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