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Expert Answers to the Top 10 Questions about Executive Coaching

Mike Horne
February 25, 2022
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Innovation is the driver of sustained organizational success. Extraordinary talent drives all innovation.

Most innovation is a gamble or risk of some sort. It's an inquiry into possibility at a cost. One cost of innovation is talent, and because extraordinary talent is costly, the best executive leaders develop a strong leadership bench.

If you peer into any executive leadership bench, you're as likely to find some talent skilled in coaching as you are some who benefited from a professional development coach.

In a career developing and working alongside executive talent, ten questions are common about executive coaching. This article answers ten of the most frequently asked questions.

1. does it Work?

Coaching produces significant change when the person being coached (client) is ready to begin a new order. When clients acknowledge their concerns and hopes, a path to goal-setting is created. With feedback, challenging assignments, and a supportive network, coaching moves insight into action, resulting in growth. 

2. How is coaching different from mentoring?

Coaching differs from mentoring in three fundamental ways. Coaching is about the task of improvement, and mentoring is about the relationship mission. Coaches bring individual focus, and mentors bring a network focus. Finally, the work of a coach is short-term in relationship to the time orientation of a mentor.

3. Do coaches specialize?

The answer to this question goes to the intended outcomes of coaching. If a client needs to improve their presentation skills, for example, a specialized skills coach can accelerate the client's time to value realization. In leadership development, seek coaches with industry experience, a process orientation, and a solid professional reputation.

4. When is a good time to get a coach?

Significant career transition points are excellent times to benefit from coaching. Every move into roles of increasing responsibility represents a turn in leadership. These transition moments are superb to benefit from an executive coach. Also, short-term coaching focused on specific issues can also be of great benefit. The client needs to have time for coaching; it cannot be something relegated to side work.

5. How much will it cost?

There are so many models of coaching that a new question is needed. To assess value, the best question to consider is, "what is it worth?" It's costly to lose extraordinary talent, so shifting the conversation from expense to value will answer this question.

6. How long does a coaching engagement last?

Coaching to improve a technical skill might be of a shorter duration than coaching aimed to improve delegation. Most coaching assignments last several months to six months. There will be regular meetings between coach and client, and many coaches involve managers and other stakeholders in the process.

7. What happens when I feel stuck with a coach?

When a point exists that an exchange of value isn't being created, in the best relationships, coaches and clients will pause. They explore sources of discontent and challenge and decide how to move forward. Every conclusion in this context should raise a discussion about goal progress.

8. What are the effects of coaching on personal and professional relationships?

The effects of coaching can be profound. Growth and change are anxiety-producing events, and appreciation of those forces is essential to the client and their network. Coworkers and intimate partners may not be prepared for change. It's critical to have the means to assess and understand the impact of coaching on others.

9. What factors strengthen a coach-client relationship?

A blend of collegiality, inquiry, and candor are three ingredients in successful coach and client relationships. Both client and coach need a passion for their work for relevancy and meaning. Every relationship benefits from better breathing! 

10. How will my boss be involved?

Relevant stakeholders provide valuable feedback. They've seen us, and they see us. Your boss's unique role enables a perspective that may otherwise be hidden in managing tasks. Your boss can integrate coaching skills into their managerial practice but have a role distinct from a professional development coach.

Moving to Next Steps

Working in a developmental coaching relationship is a powerful career development opportunity. Powerful experiences, such as coaching, are a magnet for talent concerned with career and organizational growth. Some of the earliest organizational coaching work was directed towards innovation, helping developing leaders lead their creative efforts. Faced with tasks of reinvention, organizations will benefit from developing talent through coaching.

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