Executive coaching: the maximum advantage
Executive coaching is here to stay … Hiring the services of an executive coach or mentor represents what I believe is the greatest business advantage available to professionals. With the many studies that have been conducted that provide extensive data affirming the extraordinary results that can be achieved by utilizing an executive coach, it always amazes me how many professionals do not yet have a coach waiting. In today’s blog post, I’ll examine the reasons why I believe that all (yes, I said all) executives and entrepreneurs should have a coach or mentor.
Executives who move up to the C-suite do so largely based on their ability to consistently make sound decisions. However, while it can take years of solid decision-making to make it to the boardroom, it often only takes one bad decision to fall from the ivory tower. The reality is that in today’s competitive business world, an executive is only as good as their last decision or ability to stay ahead of their peers and competitors.
For all the things that Thomas Jefferson was known and revered for, the belief he was most passionate about was the principle that led him to found the University of Virginia … He believed that learning is a lifelong endeavor whose flame should not go out. extinguished until a person has exhaled their last breath.
Sadly, as strong as the Jeffersonian principle of continuing education is, all too often it runs counter to the way most executives run their careers. Most successful executives invest heavily to develop their skills, knowledge base, and subject matter expertise early in their careers, only to make minimal investments in their professional development when they reach C-suite status. However, it is at the C-suite level where an executive must be at the top of his game, as he has the widest sphere of influence, the greatest ability to impact a company and now also has the highest risk … Now This is when they should make the biggest investment to perfect their game because it is at the executive level that higher performance will pay the greatest dividends.
The only thing that top executives and entrepreneurs can count on is that practically everyone in the value chain constantly evaluates their performance. Combine that with the fact that performance standards and expectations are constantly being raised and it’s no wonder executives are looking to leverage productivity through the use of outside experts in the form of professional coaches and mentors.
In addition to my other duties at N2growth, I also maintain an active personal coaching practice. My coaching clients are some of the top executives and entrepreneurs today. For most of these professionals, the decision to hire my services was driven by one of two different motivations. Some of my clients had a defensive motive in the sense that they wanted to protect what they had worked so hard to achieve, while others had an offensive motive in the sense that they were looking to take their companies or careers to the next level … Regardless of the countryside. They fell for these as they were very successful people who recognized that it is lonely at the top and that they could not afford to continue operating in a vacuum. In fact, I have some clients where I am just a member of a coaching team who is on call to provide real-time advice and assistance when the need arises.
Think of whatever goal you can set for yourself, or whatever standard you can compare yourself to, and you’ll find an intrinsic flaw … the problem is, you only know what you know and you don’t know what you’re doing. I do not know. No world-class athlete reaches the top of their game without a coach, so why should you or your executives try to perfect your game in the vacuum of isolation? Who do you turn to for advice and guidance? Are you trading in a bubble and making decisions in a relative vacuum? Do you know what you don’t know?
The following questions represent some things to consider when evaluating a potential coach:
Who pays the coach? I recommend that you personally hire the coach. You want someone you can trust implicitly and whose loyalty is committed to you and only you. If the coach is being paid by the company or its investors, even though you may still receive good advice, the coach’s loyalty will lie with someone other than you.
Is your coach qualified? Remember that the coaching industry is full of professionals who paid a few hundred dollars for a professional designation, but still have little to no actual experience. Make sure your coach not only has a track record, but that their skills and competencies are relevant to your needs.
Does your coach have references? The best indicator of a coach’s ability to help you will be based on how they have helped others … No successful client equals a coach to be avoided.
What does the coach charge for his services? Remember, you get what you pay for … If your coach only charges a few hundred dollars a month, that is likely representative of the caliber of advice you will receive. If your total annual compensation exceeds six figures, then you can afford (actually can’t afford) to hire the services of a top-notch coach.
If you would like to discuss how coaching can benefit you or your executives, please do not hesitate to contact me.