Executive coaching is a phenomenon in organizational leadership development and training. In a recent article in The Harvard Business Review, it states that executive coaching is “Like the Wild West of yesteryear, the frontier [executive coaching] is chaotic, largely unexplored, and fraught with risk, yet immensely promising.”
Many organizations have a difficult time understanding the importance and benefits of effective executive coaching — it’s intended to assist organizational leaders in recognizing and understanding their behaviors and how they contribute to the organization’s effectiveness.
Coach and client relationship
While there are various definitions of leadership coaching, the objectives are the same. There should be a helping affiliation between coach and client, and it should bring about persistent change related to performance and personal growth, with the ultimate focus on achieving improved business results.
The coaching process takes employees on a journey of self-discovery, ultimately helping them boost productivity, increase profitability, reduce stress and achieve life balance. In the end, they walk away with a renewed sense of self and the unquestionable ability to make a computable mark on the company’s financial bottom line.
With this in mind, coaching has gone beyond simply a C-suite executive leadership development process. Organizations have eliminated layers of leadership and have flattened their entire organizational structure. In doing so, leadership has become everyone’s responsibility in organizations.
When effective coaching methods are utilized, the results can be immensely positive to the organization’s culture and bottom line. Some of the results:
- increased confidence in exercising leadership
- improved ability to connect with the organization’s vision
- increased confidence in leading the organization toward fulfilling the vision
- increased task completion and productivity
- improved personnel management skills
- better relationships with staff and board of directors
Executives are beginning to believe that coaching has become an invaluable corporate asset. They recognize that it can increase the quality of leadership skills at all levels, improve retention of leaders, help new leaders succeed and address management behavioral problems.
Emotion intelligence grows
Studies have shown that effective coaching can also improve emotional intelligence. When leaders master the ability of emotional intelligence, they possess empathy, self-control against criticism and understanding of other people’s emotions. This usually prompts creativity among employees and suggests that emotionally intelligent leaders behave in ways that stimulate their followers’ creativity.
Research has shown that the effect of coaching estimated “a greater than 5:1 return-on-investment ratio.” An article in Public Personnel Management reported “a study comparing training alone to coaching combined with training. Training alone increased productivity by 22 percent while a combination training and coaching increased productivity by 88 percent.”
Furthermore, another benefit of effective coaching is business transformation. Transformational leadership is considered one of the most effective types of leadership styles, especially in business environments characterized by constant change. In these environments, transformational leaders not only desire change, but also help create a culture of organizational change. Transformational leadership motivates people to achieve at higher levels and to exceed their own interests for the benefit of the organization.
Despite the strain of organizations to financially succeed in today’s economy, the relevance of effective leadership is not forgotten. Numerous organizations have turned to executive coaching to formalize their employee development structure, and improve organizational effectiveness at all levels of leadership.
Executive coaching is nondiscriminatory in terms of industry structure, sector, size, or location. The coaching process can be manipulated to effectively impact leadership abilities in both private and nonprofit organizations, manufacturing, production, banking, healthcare, utilities, services, and governmental sectors.
Coaching, when supported by senior leadership, has been proven to successfully change behavior, improve leadership skills, and assist organizations with transformational change. It is essential that the organization supports such processes and creates a positive “coaching triad” made up of the participant, the supervisor (leadership), and the external coach. When there is a skilled coach, utilizing effective coaching methods – coupled with supportive organizational culture, positive results will transpire over time.
Jeff Belsky is owner of Rising Leaders located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an organizations specializing in individualized leadership coaching and development, strategic planning, and small business consulting. Visit www.RisingLeaders.org