Are you looking to up your coaching game? We asked Paragon Leadership International’s coaches to provide some insight based upon their successful work with top level executives across the globe. In this final blog of the series, they share their tips for a successful coaching experience.
Establish Commitment to the Process
Every leader is different, but it is vital to ensure that a leader is ready for the commitment that is required for coaching. Both leaders and coaches need to be dedicated to the engagement, and if that isn’t clear from the beginning – it may be difficult to create a connection that will help either individual.
The Center for Creative Leadership advises that coaches ask themselves these questions before they begin coaching a leader, “What do I expect from this coaching engagement? What is my purpose? What am I trying to accomplish? What kind of commitment am I giving?” (https://www.ccl.org/multimedia/podcast/the-coaching-relationship/).
Ownership and Accountability is Paramount
It’s critical for the coach to allow the leader to take control of their actions and their path. It is quite common that what is holding them back from the development they are seeking is a personal lack of preparation and follow-through with their individual coaching assignments and commitments. Leaders have to do the work if they want to see accelerated growth and significant changes in their behavior. Too much help, leniency or accommodation from the coach can actually lessen the learning and interfere with successful leadership development.
Identify and Address Hidden Struggles with Confidence and Self-Doubt
Even the most accomplished, successful leaders struggle at times with self-doubt and insecurities, particularly at pivotal stretch points and transition moments in their careers. Understanding a leader’s confidence level is vital for an executive coach because it allows the coach to better understand where hidden problems may lie. Reinforcing their confidence in how to leverage their unique strengths is equally as important as helping them address development gaps; sometimes even more important as their insecurities often lead to derailing behavior patterns.
Leaders rely on their executive coach to help them identify some areas to work on in their personality. Erika Andersen from Forbes said, “Most important, if your coach is effective, he or she will help you build skills to see yourself more clearly: to question your assumptions about yourself, get curious about where you’re strong and where you need to grow and learn to see yourself with ‘fair witness’ eyes” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2017/11/20/6-ways-having-an-executive-coach-can-make-you-more-successful/#40a1b54363d5).
Dealing with Change and Seeking Balance
Although challenging, many executive coaches are working with individuals in the midst of significant organizational changes such as a new CEO, multiple changes in reporting relationships, technology overhauls or downsizing. Change is inevitable, but it can make it planning firm strategies for leaders with so many variables up in the air a bit tricky.
As a result, it is becoming more common for coaches to help leaders establish a personal and professional balance for themselves. One coach said, “Leaders must develop a strategy to combat overwhelm/overload. You CAN move the meter when it comes to work/life balance.” Coaches must help their leaders through internal and external changes as they all affect their leadership capabilities.
The Impact of Technology and Social Media
As technology expands and evolves, it shapes leaders and companies constantly. One coach advises, “Social media, while it can be a wonderful resource, also has the ability to impact leaders and companies dramatically without grounds. Leaders are finding themselves spending time doing damage control much more often (and often times unwarranted). Coaching around skills and tools to help leaders navigate this space, develop a culture where sharing internally is the norm, and overcome negative feedback has become a necessity.” Social media provides a platform for all, but it is vital for leaders and coaches to understand the limitations and capabilities of social media and how it can impact job performance. If you want to learn more about lessening your time on social media, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport provides some powerful insight. Paragon will be sharing more on this topic in the months to come.
Thank you to all of our coaches for their insights in these blogs!