Understanding Executive Coaching Programs

Professional athletes at the top of their game don’t get there on their own. They hire experts—such as a strength coach, position coach, sport psychologist, nutritionist, or physical therapist—to help them reach their potential, and it should be no different in business. The goal is the same, to be the best you can be, so why not receive coaching from leadership experts? 

An executive coach provides a boost to help you become the best leader you can be. Refining your leadership skills with an executive coach is the best way to maximize your potential as a leader and, in turn, maximize your team’s performance.


Why Work with an Executive Coach?

Perhaps you enjoy learning and are simply following your curiosity surrounding executive coaching. Maybe your organization is in trouble, and you need help fixing everything and everyone, including yourself. An executive coach can help you improve your mindset, overcome challenges, and deal with difficult situations as a leader. 



New business leaders and experienced C-suite veterans benefit from working with an executive coach. Whether you’re years into your CEO journey or new to your first managerial role, you need guidance, support, and perhaps most importantly, honest feedback. Everyone needs mentoring and coaching because there’s no finish line to being a leader. You have to constantly learn, change, and grow. 



When you buy in to your coach’s insight and skill, you can reap the benefits for the rest of your career. In addition to framing your mindset toward positivity and effective leadership, an executive coach can guide you in sharpening leadership skills like empathy, creativity, and innovation. 

Having a coach can also boost motivation and productivity by helping you identify your blind spots and vulnerabilities. Many times these are the areas you know you need to improve but don’t want to acknowledge.


What Are the Goals of Executive Coaching Programs?

Individualized coaching means individualized goals. Before you begin your executive coaching program, identify the knowledge, skill, or behavior you want to improve on as a leader. Then work with your coach to have them evaluate your needs and identify a list of areas to work on.  Many times they will help identify areas you did not even realize you needed assistance with. The best executive coaches can help with the following areas of leadership development: 

  • Develop a Foundation of Leadership. Your foundation of leadership includes developing a teamwork mindset, honing the traits of a good coach, hiring a great team, creating a shared vision for your team, leading by example, and consistency.

  • Build a High-Performing Team. Your job as a leader is to help your team function cohesively and support your company culture.

  • Improve Leadership Skills. Build your skills surrounding influence and motivation, conflict management, communication, trust, positive mindset, or other challenges leaders face.


What to Look for in an Executive Coach

In coaching, as in life, not every relationship works. Find the coach who fits best for you. Meet with multiple coaches before choosing. Don’t miss the benefits of executive coaching if you don’t gel with the first coach you meet. 



Even though each coaching relationship is different, the best coaches share a handful of qualities in their leadership coaching. The best coaches listen first and then ask questions; they don’t start by telling people what to do. They’re thoughtful, thorough, and strategic in identifying challenges and analyzing your individual situation.



When choosing your executive coach, revisit your goals. Do you need a leadership coach, business coach, performance coach, or career coach? Are you interested in coaching your employees on what makes a great team? Does your coach need a coaching specialty?  

It’s important to consider the personality type of prospective coaches. What coaching style would resonate best with you? Maybe you need a motivational coach to cheer you on, or maybe quiet moments of reflection are best. Deciding between a coach versus mentor depends on your need to build skills or receive advice. Selecting a coach is not always easy; take your time and speak with several coaches before picking one to go with. Take a “dating” approach with prospective coaches.


Maximize the Executive Coaching Experience

You can work with the best coach, but nothing about your leadership will change if you don’t practice, make changes, and open up to the possibility of failure. Arguably the most important part of completing an executive coaching program is what happens next



The only way to sharpen the skills you learn from an executive coach is to practice using them. Whether you’re a writer, an artist, an athlete, or a businessperson, improvement and growth come from practice. Practicing your leadership skills is no different from practicing your golf swing. Your coach may deliver flawless instructions on form and technique, but if you don’t practice the skill, you won’t see results. 



Nothing will change unless you believe that change is possible and worthwhile. If an athlete doubts their own ability to run a four-minute mile, their coach can’t overcome a mental barrier. Likewise, there are endless options for coaching services, books, certificates, webinars, and podcasts to improve your leadership skills, but you have to have a growth mindset. Your success depends on your outlook.



Anytime you try something new or challenging, failure is possible. In sports, coaches help athletes deal with failure. A quarterback gets intercepted. A golfer hits a shank. A gymnast falls off a balance beam. That’s part of it. The best athletes have the mindset to not only face failure but learn from it, quickly recover, and try again. The same thing applies in business.


Executive Coaching in Action

Working with an executive coach is an investment in yourself and your organization. Completing a coaching program isn’t a magic trick or a miracle cure for dysfunction in the workplace though. Keep in mind that it’s a marathon, not a sprint; no coach is going to make changes overnight, but they also don’t need to be there forever. Each leader and each organization are different.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of completing an executive coaching program or working on your leadership development? Check out my blog for additional resources, including executive coaching books, or contact me to learn more about my executive coaching services.