Coaching has seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years. You can now find coaches that specialize in every area of life from executive business and leadership coaches to personal development coaches and wellness coaches.

Executive coaching has gone from no-one knowing what it was, through a phase of having a stigma attached, to the point it’s at now, where both empirical and anecdotal evidence show the personal and organizational benefits of leadership coaching.

To understand what executive coaches do you first need to understand what executive coaching is.

What is Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching is a versatile and powerful tool that is highly personalized and focuses on one-to-one conversations between coach and client. It is an investment in an organization’s most valuable asset, its leaders, and can have remarkable results.

Executive coaching has been shown to improve leadership skills and management performance by drawing on a coach’s inherent wisdom and strengths, while at the same time allowing them to recognize areas that require further development.

Coaching can have a profound effect on your ability to clarify and communicate your goals, as well as improving the way executives collaborate with their teams and view their work.

Coaching is seen as a valuable tool for learning and development not least because of the personalized approach and the fact that it is client-led. Executive coaching is not about prescribing solutions but rather it is about empowering executives to find their own way forward.

What do Executive Coaches do?

If you engage the services of an executive coach there are number things you can expect.

A coaching session or program will usually start with a thorough 360-degree assessment. An interview-style conversation to ascertain the desired outcomes, current circumstances, ideas, emotions, potential solutions and limitations.

You will then work together to agree on a detailed action plan that provides a pathway to achieving those outcomes. Your coach can be your sounding board for ideas and provide a safe space, but also give honest feedback helping you see how others may view you and identify areas for growth.

An executive coach can also be the first person you go to when difficult situations arise. Talking through issues with a neutral party can give huge clarity and coaches can teach you tools for dealing with difficult situations leading to changes in attitudes and behavior that will have ongoing sustainable impacts.

What Executive Coaches don’t do.

One important thing to realize with executive coaching or any coaching for that matter, is that you have to be coachable for it to work. One of the key outcomes of successful coaching is improved self-awareness, the achievement of which can be an uncomfortable process.

Executive coaches act as a catalyst for growth and development in highly motivated individuals.

Coaches are not consultants, although many are experts in the fields in which they coach.

Coaches are also generally not therapists. They are not there to look at the past or to diagnose or treat dysfunctions, but they are generally skilled in asking the right questions to help tackle difficult issues and achieve optimum performance.