Coaching Senior Leaders
As we watched the transition of power from one US President to another, we have seen how it can sometimes feel lonely at the top and difficult to work through problems if you have nobody to confide in. Even well-connected leaders may not always get the answers they need or want, so hiring a professional coach could have been the answer.
When coaching senior leaders, you could be working with an individual Executive, members of the board or the entire senior team, and this can really give them some valuable insight and a safe space to test and model new ideas or different ways of working.
Coaching should aim to be a results-oriented, bespoke approach designed to make individuals, teams and organizations more effective. By encouraging the development of personal and professional insight, an Executive or senior leader will learn how to grow their skills and abilities.
As a specialist Executive Coach, or when coaching senior leaders, you are seen as a qualified professional who can help to unlock true potential, but try to use this opportunity to build trust so you can talk openly and in confidence. Be ready to ask lots of strategic questions to explore who they are and play back what you have heard. Then use a range of different coaching techniques to identify and address any management or performance issues.
But whatever the approach and methodology chosen, coaching senior leaders is based on a holistic vision that needs to take into account the interests and challenges of the individual, the team and the organization. It is therefore important to quickly create an environment of trust and collaboration so you can help identify and overcome any obstacles that hinders progress or success.
Setting up a 360 process to identify their true management style is one idea that quickly delivers self-awareness and can really help them grow as a leader. It can also help them develop the skills they need and brings clarity to the way they naturally approach challenges.
Key benefits when coaching senior leaders
• Give valuable insight on how leaders are seen by others
• Bring clarity on personal goals
• Explore emotional intelligence and softer skills
• Identify personal development opportunities
• Address management or performance issues
• Understand stress and how to manage it
• Learn to respond differently when faced with challenges
• Provide a safe place to test and model new ideas or different ways of working
From the initial meeting through to the point where all objectives have been achieved (or coaching support is no longer needing) will normally take 8 – 12 months if you are meeting once a month. However, when coaching senior leaders additional ad-hoc discussions can also be helpful. And some follow up ‘check in’ session should be offered to ensure they feel fully supported through the process.
And where possible, it is always important to demonstrate a return on investment and show how you are adding value. One way to do this is to clearly align the coaching objectives with the company strategy and any personal goals the individual may have.
Providing regular opportunities to look back and reflect will also help showcase any progress being made. And when coaching senior leaders, remember to ask them to keep track of any examples where old habits or behaviors could start to creep back in.
If you would like to move into the world of Executive Coaching or coach senior leaders in a creative way, check out this virtual card game in the online shop:
- Virtual game – Coaching a Chief Executive – A creative approach to Executive Coaching, with 12 illustrated strategic goal cards and 40 question cards.
We have published a full range of resources specifically aimed at supporting you as a professional coach:
We constantly add content to the site, so please check our on-line shop and look at the full range of games, ebooks and kits. Or read some of the other blog posts written by our team of international coaches.
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