What happens in executive coaching?

What happens in Executive Coaching?

Leadership and Executive coaching helps you as a senior leader and your organisation to excel. Being a senior leader comes with a unique set of challenges: feeling overwhelmed by the never-ending challenges, pressures and complexities of working in organisations; faced with a diary full of meetings and ever-changing targets – it’s tough.

That’s why having a specialist, independent coach who provides a safe and supporting environment in which you can explore issues, find your own best solutions and move towards change is essential for success.  My coaching supports you to rediscover your potential by giving you time and space to think, away from the chaos and pressures of work.

Although each coaching relationship is different depending on the type of coaching and the focus, all coaching typically follows the same process, which includes:

  • Engagement and contracting
  • Assessment and feedback
  • Delivery and development
  • Review and evaluation

Engagement and Contracting

The coaching I provide starts with an initial 30 minute complimentary call to learn more about you, your challenges, your motivation to change, and an initial identification of your coaching needs. We also cover what you’re looking for in a coaching relationship, and my coaching approach.

In this initial contact with each other, we are looking for answers to ‘can I work with you?’ and ‘how do I feel about you?’

If you feel like we’re a great fit and agree to go ahead, the next stage includes signing a contract which details how we’ll work together, including expectations, outcomes, confidentiality, logistics, evaluation etc. Some clients access coaching which is paid for by your organisation – if this is the case, you may have an organisational sponsor who will be involved in this contract.

This is then followed by an objective setting session where we explore key areas of focus for your coaching, resulting in your agreed coaching objectives and measures of success to work towards in your coaching sessions. If you have an organisational sponsor they will be involved in the objective setting session too.

Assessment and feedback

I tend to take the view that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to assessments. It very much depends on the focus of your objectives. If one is used, and it’s aligned to your objectives, it can provide a rich discussion, leading to personal insights.

There are many different ways to approach assessment, which include

  • The use of instruments such as
    • Strengthscope® to help you identify your strengths that energise you at work, build awareness of your risk areas and explore ways to reduce the impact of these, and strengthen relationships
    • Strengthscope360™ builds on the initial Strengthscope® self-report, as well as giving you valuable insight as to how others see you, how effectively you are using your strengths in the workplace, how you are managing performance risks, and how you can strengthen your performance
    • MBTI® to learn more about yourself, appreciate differences between people, and understand how different types can work together in a complimentary way
    • EQ-i 2.0 to understand your emotional competencies, and learn how you operate emotionally, your areas of strength and potential areas for development
    • EQ360 builds on EQ-i 2.0, as well as combining your own perceptions of your emotional intelligence with the perceptions of others who know you well
    • MTQPlus to measure your mental toughness, and implement techniques to deal with everyday stressors, pressures and challenges
  • Observing you in the workplace in both public and private forums
  • Interviewing your team, peers, line manager

Whilst there are many different ways to approach assessment, the most important aspect is the feedback session. This typically takes 2-3 hours, to ensure you gain an understanding of the background and context of the instrument; explore your feedback in detail; and look at opportunities to use what you’ve learnt during the coaching relationship.

Delivery and development

Now we’re ready to start!

Typically, a coaching session is 1-2 hours and can be face to face or online. I work on outcome based coaching sessions which mean the session is done when we’re done! This means some sessions will be 1 hour and others maybe up to 2 hours.

They include:

  • A review on how things have gone since the last session
  • A review of action points from the last session
  • An agreed focus for this session
  • Coaching on the focus area
  • An agreed plan of action
  • Feedback

By using the ‘ask, not tell’ approach, I’ll encourage you to:

  • Be true to yourself – stop trying to do everything and focus on your values and strengths
  • Confront your ‘home truths’ – things change once you stop pretending things are OK
  • Explore your fears and face up to how they are holding you back
  • Step out of your comfort zone – start doing things differently to see better results
  • Commit to new behaviours and new ways of thinking – boost your confidence as a leader and reconnect with your teams.

It’s not easy, and at times it will feel uncomfortable. Believe me, that’s a good thing.

It means:

  • You’re listening to your inner self
  • Facing up to your areas for development
  • Stretching yourself to make positive changes

Despite the challenges, you should walk away from each session feeling energised and inspired.

Review and evaluation

Regular check-ins will be held during the coaching sessions, with a final check-in at the end of the contract. This is to review the outcomes of the coaching sessions based on the agreed coaching objectives. It’s also to evaluate the coaching experience and effectiveness of the coaching skills. If you have an organisational sponsor, they will be invited to take part in the check-ins, as well as providing encouragement and leadership throughout the coaching relationship.

There are many different outcomes to the final check-in including:

  • Re-contract for a further coaching package based on new objectives
  • Re-contract for periodic check-ins (similar to an end of term review / MOT). This is to monitor new behaviours / habits; explore new challenges; and demonstrate commitment to personal learning and leadership time out
  • End the formal coaching relationship and check-in on an informal basis

Although this 4 stage process is used in all coaching, the key to successful coaching relationships is flexibility and adaptability.

If you’d like to learn more about coaching and want to take the next step, let’s have a conversation to see how I can help you develop the focus, confidence and resilience to grow as a leader and achieve the results that matter to you.

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