What is Leadership Coaching?
One of the questions I get most often is “What’s the difference between Leadership Coaching and Mentorship?” Ok, here’s the executive summary:
Mentorship involves the passing knowledge from one person to another. Most often, we think of an older, more experienced person — someone who’s “been there and done that” sharing advice with a younger person. In business, we may think about someone who can specially provide advice relevant to our career, or who has deep knowledge about our industry or situation.
Today, it can be also helpful to broaden the definition to include niche “subject-matter-experts” or knowledge workers who can educate us in a narrow field of study that helps us accomplish a technical aspect of our job.
By contrast, in leadership coaching, we partner with successful people who are intelligent, creative, resourceful, and very likely already know the answer to their own challenges. Together, we work to create positive, long-term change in leadership behaviors in order to enable next level performance.
The leadership coaching process is less about the coach’s advice or opinion, and more about blocking out time and space for a busy executive to reflect of their own activities and creatively think about strategy and actions moving forward. In this way, the coach serves as a guide and sounding board. We’re not looking to fix anyone. We’re interested in continuous self-improvement and addressing barriers in order to improve professional performance, results, and a deeper impact.
What challenges we choose to address are always up to the client. Topics may include closing the “say-do” loop between strategy and action, effective communication, delegation, time and energy discipline, or improving interpersonal relationships with key stakeholders — and the list goes on. What are your most significant barriers to improved performance?
Successful executives make a commitment to coaching — even though they’re extremely busy — because like exercise, executive education, or professional reading it’s a requirement to maintain a competitive edge and win.
Here’s some of the testimonials from media on Leadership Coaching::
“I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities.”
Bob Nardelli, former CEO, Home Depot
“Executive coaches are not for the meek. They’re for people who value unambiguous feedback. All coaches have one thing in common, it’s that they are ruthlessly results-oriented.”
“In a recent study, training alone improved leadership skills by 22%. When combined with Executive Coaching, improvement jumps to 77%.” Fortune
“The benefits of coaching appear to win over even the most cynical clients within just a few weeks.” Money
“A coach is part advisor, part sounding board, part cheerleader, part manager and part strategist.” The Business Journal
“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable.”
John Russell, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson Europe Ltd.
“The business demand for coaching is nearly doubling each year. Out of the $80 billion being currently spent on corporate education, FLI Research estimates that $2 billion is spent on executive coaching at senior executive levels in Fortune 500 companies.” Business Wire
“Even modest improvements can justify hiring a coach. An investment of $30,000 or so in an executive who has responsibility for tens of millions of dollars is a rounding error.” Jerome Abarbanel, VP of Executive Resources, Citibank
“What’s really driving the boom in coaching, is this: as we move from 30 miles an hour to 70 to 120 to 180……as we go from driving straight down the road to making right turns and left turns to abandoning cars and getting motorcycles…the whole game changes, and a lot of people are trying to keep up, learn how not to fall.”
John Kotter, Professor of Leadership, Harvard Business School
“We have done lots of research over the past three years, and we have found that leaders who have the best coaching skills have better business results.” Tanya Clemens, V.P. Global Executive & Organizational Development at IBM
“Once used to bolster troubled staffers, coaching now is part of the standard leadership development training for elite executives and talented up-and-comers at IBM, Motorola, J.P. Morgan, Chase, and Hewlett Packard. These companies are discreetly giving their best prospects what star athletes have long had: a trusted adviser to help reach their goals.” CNN.com
So, are you ready for Executive Leadership Coaching? What do you and your team need to get to the next performance level?
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