Although executive coaching appears to be a very popular investment by businesses, it is amazing how much reluctance I hear and the number of benefits selling I witness from HR. The main reluctance appears to be around "what will my colleagues think" and "has it been suggested because I am weak or my performance is poor" and there is so much more to executive coaching if done properly.
Here are 4 key questions to ask yourself;
1. Is executive coaching seen as a positive in your organisation?
This comes back to what your colleagues might think when they hear that you have a coach. High performing companies are proven to have a strong learning culture through which leaders are constantly being asked to stretch themselves and enjoy being taken out of their comfort zones. This core culture is important and with it, executive coaching will just be "the norm". Without it and there will be some work to do on educating people on its positive impact. Why not be the first to break mould!
2. Does your boss support your development?
Will your boss back personal development or could it threaten them? Personal development is not just about you. By improving and growing, you will make your boss look good and also impact positively on your employer as a whole.
3. Is a good coach available to you?
This is a critical question and needs to be answered yes before embarking on any executive coaching program. Picking a coach who you gel with, who you trust and who will challenge you is critical to success. You need to take time to understand what good looks like, gain referrals to experienced and qualified coaches and ensure you choose correctly. Selecting the wrong one could take you backwards.
4. Are you willing to do what it takes to grow?
The most important question! Coaches won't give you the answers and will certainly push you outside your comfort zone. You need to have a strong desire and passion to grow, develop and change otherwise you will achieve very little. Are you ready and prepared for executive coaching?
When considering if I need coaching I always think in golf terms. Every player on the US and European tour, who are all amazingly gifted, has a coach. They all have room for improvement and the desire to work hard to achieve it.
Here is another article that you may also enjoy, the 6 key elements in executive coaching.
A couple of weeks ago, when talking to a client of mine, I encouraged him to think about working with an executive coach. He listened, and then asked, "Do you think I need a coach?" I understood the question underneath the question; he was asking whether I saw him as being a poor manager or leader. Unfortunately, even though working with an executive coach has become much more common over the past couple of decades, there can still be a lingering assumption that coaches are for people who are in trouble...failing or not capable some important way. My immediate response was, "I think every leader needs a coach." He looked skeptical.