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Executive Coaching - Definition
         Executive coaching is a one-on-one relationship
         between a professional coach and a high-level
         leader in an organization for the purpose of
         improved organizational performance and
         personal effectiveness.

Goals of Executive Coaching

Coaching is either oriented towards growth - the acquisition of skills, or development - expanded capacity. The former is sometimes referred to as performance coaching and the latter developmental coaching. Together they form a horizontal and vertical axis as shown in the diagram below.

executive coach Master Certified Coach

I offer both types of coaching. Increasingly organizations are requesting developmental coaching (while not necessarily using that language) because they need their leaders to evolve towards later stages of development to meet the demands of the 21st century workplace. Two brief case studies will further distinguish between these two types of coaching.

Executive Coach Case 1:
Performance Coaching

This leader has one person on his senior leadership team who is not performing at the level necessary to accomplish a key strategic objective. The leader has periodically raised his concerns with this direct report, but has not consistently followed through on a development plan. Our coaching relationship has been focused on expanding the leader’s coaching and development skills. This includes exploring his reluctance to set clear expectations, face conflict, and hold the person accountable. We have expanded his feedback skills and practiced how to hold difficult conversations.

Executive Coach Case 2:
Developmental Coaching

This leader has been challenged to “think more strategically.” This is actually a request for the leader to operate from a later stage of development. At the present time the leader is recognized for her specialized expertise. She prides herself on knowing the “right way” to do things. Unfortunately, this is precisely what is getting in her way of seeing the bigger picture. Her company is undergoing significant organizational changes and she is being asked to build strategic alliances and solve problems based on the broader needs of the company, not just the needs of her Division. Our work has focused on redefining her perception of her role, strengthening her capacity to build partnerships across the organization and developing her capacity to let go of “her way” in service of broader business goals.

Generalist Approach

Some coaches specialize in a particular skill set such as presentation skills or sales skills. I am a generalist, being able to work with a leader on a wide range of issues from interpersonal skills to time management to strategic thinking to self-management. My specialization is in the process of learning and personal change. Leaders generally know what to do; the challenge is executing what they know. That is my expertise: helping a leader identify and remove the obstacles that prevent applying what s/he knows. My role is to be a thinking partner, not an expert with "the answer."