Using an Executive Coach

The idea of using an executive coach can be foreign to new organizational leaders. Yet as with elite athletes and entertainers, the use of coaches for professional leaders has become more common. To excel and take your already strong skill set to another level, you need an outside perspective that understands your style and can help you with areas of improvement.

One of the most important, if not the most important, outcome of executive coaching is self-awareness. Many leaders rise to the top based on their technical acumen and ability to navigate soft skills required by a leader. But most newly minted leaders have never had any professional training on how to handle their new responsibilities. Thus, they are not always aware of how much their behaviors may affect those on their team or their peers.

An article in Entrepreneur highlights the benefit of coaching from an investor’s point of view, “…one of the biggest challenges (and joys) within the world of venture capital and growth equity is guiding CEOs through their journey. Not all CEOs come to the table with the full set of skills they need to build their companies to last for the next decade. However, by instilling the importance of executive coaching early on, both board members and portfolio services teams ensure the CEO-investor relationship extends far beyond just the funding.”

Executive coaching is especially important for the C-suite, most notably the CEO. Whether they realize it or not, the way they manage and interact with others sets the tone for the entire company. If they don’t have a trusted source they can confide in and receive honest objective feedback, they can create damaging effects to their company.

According to a Forbes article, a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Association Resource Center found, “the mean ROI for companies investing in coaching was 7 times the initial investment, with over a quarter reporting an ROI of 10 to 49 times.”

And according to Laurie Tennant, Vice President at Norwest Venture Partners, “Many leaders become so focused on growing their businesses that they become disconnected from the people around them and what it takes to lead those people through change. A good executive coach can help a CEO see the impact of this type of behavior, and make a huge difference in a company’s success.”

If you’re still not sure that using an executive coach is right for you, per Chief Learning Officer these are the top six areas that rank at the top for executives:

“Knowledge and use of self. Topping the list 50 percent of the time, this focus area is defined as a thorough understanding of one’s essential characteristics and qualities: needs, values, strengths, weaknesses, being, identity.

Communication. This area tops the list the other 50 percent of the time. It’s the art and technique of using words effectively and gracefully to impart ideas. An exchange of thoughts, messages or information that is effective and clear.

Impact and influence. This is the ability to define and communicate an objective or idea in a compelling manner that rallies support. The ability to think analytically and communicate effectively with an awareness of context and others’ styles, knowledge, interests and preparedness.

Goal setting. This is about meeting objectives. A goal must have a deadline and be specific, measurable and compelling.

Partnering for performance and clear agreements. Tied for fifth place, which makes sense because they are similar. Partnering for performance is described as: a relationship and agreements among individuals and groups that are characterized by mutual understanding, cooperation and responsibility to achieve a specific goal. Clear agreements are defined as: an understanding or arrangement between people regarding what is going to be done, by whom, how and by when.”

If you’d like more information on using an executive coach, let us know. At Sheer Velocity, we work with new and incoming executives to set them up for success. From assessments to coaching, we’ll work with you to identify the right resources for your organization.