Executive Coaching Is Not About Telling You What to Do

December 30, 2011  |   Executive Coaching Blog   |     |   0 Comment

It seems that there are a multitude of views about what Executive Coaching is, and is not. As a result the clients that I work with initially have a wide range of expectations about what their executive coaching will entail.

 The Good the Bad and the Ugly

There is no doubt there are a range of different approaches to executive coaching, but this might be expected with some 10,000 executive coaches around the UK. Unfortunately because it is a largely unregulated market some people have no real qualifications in executive coaching whilst others have taken the time and trouble to get properly trained and accredited. In the case of our Executive Coaching Company all coaches are qualified either to Masters Degree, or post graduate diploma level. So the content of this article relates to our approach rather than any others out there.


 The Role of the Executive Coach

There are some clients who believe that their Executive Coach is going to effectively tell them what they should do. It seems a great relief to them when we tell them that’s not the way we work. There are so many stories about people getting advice, often good advice, and then ignoring it. So what’s the point in spending money on advice you probably won’t take anyway?



The role of the Executive Coach is to facilitate and help you find the solution to the issue you want to address. After all it’s only you that really understands your situation and all its complications. What a Coach can do, which you would find difficult to do by yourself, is to ask you questions which cause you to see your issue from new and different perspectives. As a result you are able to see fresh ways of achieving your objectives. Often just hearing yourself speak your thoughts out aloud enables you to perceive things in a different sort of way.



A great Executive Coach does not just ask any old question. They will ask you questions that metaphorically take you up in a helicopter to consider your situation and landscape in a new way. This might be as simple as asking you how you would advise someone in the same situation as yourself. The questions may also highlight some of your own contradictions that need to be resolved e.g. earlier you said that money was not an important factor for you, but just now you explained your worries about your future financial commitments.



In Executive Coaching the client and Executive Coach work in partnership to resolve the client’s issues. Someone recently likened this to two people sailing a boat across a bay. Both are sailing but they have separate responsibilities to ensure the boat gets to the other side. One may be responsible for the sails and trimming them whilst the other is responsible for steering a course.


 The Role of the Executive Coaching Client

As an Executive Coaching Client you also have a role to play in ensuring a successful outcome for your coaching. You need to be committed to coaching as a solution, so taking coaching because someone else suggested it will not work if you don’t commit yourself. You need to be able to trust your coach so make sure you have a choice of coach to work with. This enables you to be honest and open about your thoughts and feelings. Finally the work of coaching can be difficult at times so you need to be prepared to be stretched and moved outside your comfort zone.


 The Executive Coaching Payback

Having said how demanding coaching can be, most of my clients remark on the great rewards they have got from their coaching which they may not have obtained in any other way (such as a training course). Coaching offers the opportunity for personal development that is uniquely tailored to your needs. As a result of coaching I have seen clients achieve many objectives to support their aims such as; promotion, new skills, improved competencies and increased self-confidence.



Tony Goddard

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