Ten Top Benefits Of Having Your Own Executive Coach

There are various euphemisms borrowed from other enterprises that have found their way into the business lexicon. Sports have fostered several of these, including the concept of “coaching.” After all, who would not want to have their own Bill Belichick or Terry Francona on the sidelines or in the dugout providing advice and assistance? (Author’s admission – I am a faithful Patriot’s and Red Sox fan, but please, don’t hold that against me – read on!)

An executive coach can help a business owner and his/her employees (the team) to identify areas you need to strengthen and to learn new techniques, shortcuts, and approaches that can make you more effective “on the field.” The coaching model used for so long in the athletic world has real value in business fields. Remember, you want to work “on,” not “in,” your game (business).

While the benefits of having your own executive coach vary with the person, business, and the situation, here are ten benefits that will likely be important for you.

  1. Achieve a Clearer Focus – We all know that business is a serious game and that sometimes life can feel like a contest – with balls constantly being thrown, caught, or hit. When you’re tackled by tasks, projects, e-mails, voice-mails, and customers, and find yourself staying late every day; you may need to work on your focus. A good executive coach will help come up with a plan of action to get things under control.
  2. Stay On Track – It’s easy to put things off. You may know that some things are important. You may tell yourself you want to do them, but then, oddly, you never get around to actually doing them. An executive coach gives you someone who will hold you accountable for what you want to accomplish and keep things from sliding and being thrown out.
  3. Your Own Personal Sounding Board – Sometimes it-s hard to spot weaknesses in your own game plan – reasoning, faulty underlying assumptions, or missing facts. A well-informed executive coach can point these out and help you strategize, brainstorm, and refine your approach – all before you have to take action.
  4. Live a More Balanced Life – When life gets out of balance, both work performance and personal fulfillment (your game plan) can precipitously decline. An executive coach keeps an eye on these critical interrelationships and helps you identify actions you can take to keep them in balance.
  5. Target Your Career Paths and Career Strategies – Too many people are content simply with being on “autopilot” as far as their careers are concerned (they swing the bat, run the bases, and score a few runs). A good executive coach will help you think about effective career paths for you as well as develop strategies to achieve your long-range career objectives (think Most Valuable Player).
  6. Learn New Skills and Approaches – Successful athletes are always willing to learn. When you’re successful, there’s usually a reason for your success. Often you’ve honed your strengths to the maximum. Nevertheless, many people can do dramatically better when they expand beyond their own personal “success formula” to work on skill sets that have remained undeveloped. For example, think about someone you know who’s great with technical details, but terrible with people. When that person improves his/her “people skills,” a completely new world of career and life possibilities opens up.
  7. Have a Mentor – Just like a sports coach, an executive coach can act as a mentor in many different situations and is especially valuable for entrepreneurs, or those taking on new responsibilities. In situations like these, an executive coach can help you handle the steep learning curves that often have to be dealt with.
  8. Become More Productive – You can become more productive by figuring out ways to do things more efficiently, by prioritizing better and by minimizing low payback activities. (Think Curt Shilling using his fastball less, and working the corners more!) Working with an executive coach on an ongoing basis helps to give you perspective on your job and to identify better ways to apportion your time and energy so you get maximum results.
  9. Maintain Momentum and Enthusiasm – Although you may know intellectually what you need to do to reach your goals, often that’s not enough. In today’s busy world, it’s much too easy to be diverted. When you work with an executive coach on a regular basis, you don’t lose track of your important goals. Consider yourself in constant training, charting your progress from week-to-week, getting inspired, becoming reenergized, and keeping your momentum going.
  10. Avoid Dangerous Blind Spots – Just as there are certain parts of the defense you can’t read, there are undoubtedly things that you regularly miss in your daily interactions because you (as is the case with most people) have your own personal blind spots. A “numbers” person might be sensitive to today’s bottom line but miss long-term industry trends. A “strategic planner” might view the world in terms of trends and not be focused on what’s actually happening today. An executive coach – acting as a second pair of eyes – can point out things that are critical to your success that you may be missing.

Successful athletes appreciate the advice, direction, feedback, and assistance of their “coaches” since they become more successful by heeding this assistance. Successful business owners can learn to do the same by seeking, securing, and working with their own “executive coach.” Who is yours?

Is It Time to Hire a Personal Coach?

If you’re like most people, you probably have goals you want to accomplish or changes you have thought about making at one time or another. It may be you want to lose that last 10 pounds, or are thinking about changing careers. You may have thought about getting started, or even taken the first steps. Maybe you haven’t been sure where to begin. You might also have fallen into thinking that goes like this: “Someday, when (fill in the blank), I am going to (fill in the blank again… “) Despite really good intentions and for whatever reason, your goal, your dream, keeps going on the back burner. Sometimes life, with its competing priorities, comes between you and your aim. Or you may start out with enthusiasm, only to find yourself getting bored, or losing motivation, at some point. These things happen to most everyone at one time or another, especially when contemplating making a significant change or starting out on a new path. If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, it may be time for you to consider hiring a personal coach.

What does a coach do, and how might one benefit you? Coaching is sometimes confused with therapy or counseling, but it is neither of these. It isn’t consulting or advising. These are different approaches with different skill sets and, even though there may be some similarities, there are also important distinctions. Personal coaching is a process which is sometimes referred to as a designed alliance between client and coach. It is a professional relationship that is based on the client’s agenda – his or her interests, goals and objectives. Coach and client work together to focus on the client’s goals and develop a structure from that starting point to move the client forward.

Clients generally come to coaching because they have experienced difficulty achieving an important goal on their own, or wish to attain greater fulfillment in some area of their life that has remained elusive to them. There are lots of reasons why a person may hire a coach – to be more effective in their career, or to start a new one. They may wish to lose weight, improve their health and fitness, their relationships, or to gain more control over their time and level of stress. Some coaches specifically work with women or men who want to start a business for the first time, write a book, become more effective parents, or plan for retirement.

The International Coach Federation (“ICF”) which sets the standard for professional coaches, defines coaching this way: Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

A professional coach uses various techniques to help clients identify personal, business and/or relationship goals, and develop action plans for their attainment. The client takes the action and the coach assists with positive support and feedback to help the client improve his or her personal effectiveness and ultimate achievement of their aim. This assistance can take a variety of forms, including:

  • Assisting a client in defining and clarifying goals, and a vision. Helping a client identify their readiness to change, as well as the supports and structures they may need to have in place.
  • Helping clients target their strengths and values which, in turn, can assist the client in using resources they already possess towards achievement of their aim.
  • Assisting the client in identifying the larger goal and then developing an action plan necessary for the interim steps on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
  • Holding the client accountable for their agreed-upon actions.
  • A coach may also help the client identify possible challenges or roadblocks along the way, and strategies to deal with these, as well as provide the client with possible resources and tools to accomplish objectives.
  • Support the client in devising ways to maintain the desired change or goal once it is reached.

In the world of health and wellness, wellness coaching has emerged as a new role. It is now recognized that true wellness is much more than an absence of disease. Health and wellness coaching is becoming recognized as an important way to help individuals proactively manage their health, along with learning ways that a holistic lifestyle can impact chronic illnesses and conditions. As a society, we are now living longer than ever before, and we want to enjoy our lives in optimal condition, to thrive as we enter our later years. A wellness coach can assist a client in assessing and designing a healthier lifestyle, weight loss and maintenance, stress management, creating a healthier environment, or a more fulfilling life. Wellness coaches work with clients to bring about desired change with special skills and techniques that help clients discover how to live more fully, to flourish rather than just get by.

A professional coach can be a powerfully ally in the process of moving towards more of what you want in life. If you have that one goal (or maybe that Big Dream) that you have always wanted to make happen, having a coach might be just the thing to finally get you there.