By Cory Erickson, SPHR, SCP
Why would a company want to sponsor executive coaching for one of its executives? There are many reasons however, here are a few we have seen in our executive coaching practice:
· To support an emerging executive, either recently promoted to the executive level or on the cusp of becoming an executive.
· To support an outstanding executive who may have a blind spot regarding a certain behavior that, if not addressed, could derail the executive’s career in the long run.
· Due to the impact the executive has on the business’s results, the company wants to invest in the executive’s professional development because the focus of the development efforts will have an immediate impact on the individual’s effectiveness as an executive.
Of all the reasons a company will invest in executive coaching, the primary reason is impact. As executives, the leaders of the business, employees look up to them for leadership and guidance. If the executives are not functioning at a high level, it can bring down morale and significantly impact effectiveness, which, in turn, impacts the bottom line. The reasons companies pay the premium investment associated with executive coaching is due to the impact they expect to see in changed or improved behaviors. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen, due to the customization to the individual executive’s needs.
How is executive coaching customized to the individual executive? There is a significant amount of up front work done once an executive coaching assignment begins. There are two versions of 360 degree feedback tools used. One is an on-line, confidential, 360 degree survey tool completed by superior(s), peers, customers, and direct reports. The second 360 is done by the executive coach who interviews the direct supervisor, some key peers, customers, and direct reports. Of course, all of this is done after an initial meeting with the sponsor of the executive coaching engagement where issues are discussed and the goals for the coaching assignment are shared. In addition to the 360 degree feedback, an assessment, which measures thinking style, behavioral style, and career interests, is utilized. The executive’s responses are compared to a performance model for their position which is designed with significant input from the executive’s supervisor. In gathering all of this information, the coach and the executive have a rich pool of information to work with as they work together to develop the individual development plan for the executive.
As the executive navigates the coaching assignment, course corrections and encouragement are provided to the executive by the coach. In the end, the executive benefits and the executive’s company benefits from an executive who is now in a much better position to lead and impact the company’s performance and direction.