What Is Executive Coaching? Explanation + Benefits

March 5, 2023

5 min read

What Is Executive Coaching - Explanation + Benefits

What is executive coaching? Do you need it? What’s the best way to find an executive coach? What does it take to become one?

You want to succeed—and you want your organization to thrive. Whether you’re facing a particular challenge or just want to boost your skills and effectiveness, you can partner with an executive coach to get results.

Keep reading for some practical information on these aspects of executive coaching:

  • What is executive coaching? How does it work?
  • The benefits of executive coaching
  • How to find an executive coach
  • How to become an executive coach

What Is Executive Coaching?

Coaching is assistance in navigating through life. Coaches provide neutral, outside perspectives and accountability. So, what is executive coaching in particular? It’s a specific type of coaching that’s designed to help leaders manage people, teams, and organizations.

Executive coaching is not mentoring; it’s not simply advice. Ultimately, executive coaching is about organizational performance. Of course, overall organizational success comes from individual and team effectiveness. So, executive coaching can address matters at individual and team levels, with the understanding that it’s in the context of the entire organization and its goals.

Let’s say that you want to learn how to command more presence with your team. Or that you want to be more decisive. Perhaps you have trouble keeping people on your team. An executive coach can help with these types of issues.

You and your organization also can engage an executive coach for a specific matter you’re dealing with now or in the near future. Let’s say that your company is facing budget cuts. Or you’re switching to a completely different computer system. Maybe you’re seeking a new position or your organization’s president is stepping down. An executive coach can help you successfully navigate these challenges.

Typically, you’ll find that an executive coach can help you in these areas:

  • Leadership
  • Strategic management
  • Communication
  • Productivity
  • Career development
  • Well-being

How Does Executive Coaching Work?

Usually, executive coaching consists of one-on-one sessions, supplementary resources, exercises, and assessments. Your coach asks you a lot of questions, and they probably get input from your colleagues and subordinates. They help you set goals, and they track your progress with scored assessments.

Executive coaches provide services on various schedules, but every two weeks is fairly typical. Often, a leader or an organization engages an executive coach for a specific term such as three months or one year.

What Is Executive Coaching - Explanation + Benefits 2

Benefits of Executive Coaching

Your coach is a neutral outsider who cares about you and your organization. That’s a rare and valuable commodity! Just imagine what can happen when you take full advantage of that opportunity to learn and grow.

Individuals, teams, and organizations all reap the benefits of executive coaching. As an individual, you can go from feeling burned out and overwhelmed to enjoying effectiveness and contentment at work. Your organization can become more streamlined, conducive to employee satisfaction, and profitable.

The bottom line is transformation. Executive coaching leads to a better you and a more effective organization.

Individual Benefits of Executive Coaching

Here are just a few of the individual benefits of executive coaching:

  • Awareness—Your coach brings in different perspectives, elicits feedback from others, and helps you see blind spots.
  • Decision-making—The more accurately and thoroughly you’re aware, the better decisions you make.
  • Sounding board—Your coach is a good listener. They’re also experienced in providing effective feedback.
  • Motivation and encouragement—Your coach works with you to set goals and track your progress. They keep you accountable and provide a gentle nudge or a kick in the pants when you need it. They also celebrate your small and big victories with you.
  • New thinking and behavior patterns—Your coach gives you new ways to think, new things to do, and new ways to do old things.
  • Confidence—Through your coaching relationship, you grow in your awareness, skills, and behavior. You see positive changes and results. You receive encouragement. All of this builds your confidence, which, in turn, feeds back into your performance.
  • Leadership development—Because you’re receiving executive coaching, the focus is on your leadership skills and influence. The small changes all add up to improved leadership abilities.
  • Career enhancement—The growth you experience makes you more valuable in your workplace and in the workforce at large. You’re building marketable skills that set you up for promotions or other new opportunities.

Organizational Benefits of Executive Coaching

Individual growth trickles out and down to your team and organization as a whole. Organizational benefits of executive coaching include happier employees, better employee retention, and improved productivity. It’s the snowball effect, ultimately leading to higher overall organizational profitability and impact.

How to Find an Executive Coach

Each executive coach is different, so look around to find one who fits you and your organization well. Get to know your candidates. Watch their videos. Read their bios. Check out their client list.

You’ll want to find out your coaching candidates’ credentials. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) provides certification on three levels: Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC). The difference is essentially the amount of paid coaching experience they have. MCC is the highest level, with at least 2,500 hours of experience.

Many executive coaches have specialties, so take that into consideration if you want help with a specific situation such as handling personnel issues, navigating change, or dealing with financial matters.

Consider their accessibility. You might want someone in your area, or it could be fine as long as you can connect with them virtually. Figure out their personality, values, and style. Some coaches are more hands-on. Some prefer to take a holistic life-work approach.

Your budget is also a factor. Executive coaches generally charge by the hour, anywhere from $150 to $650 per hour. Their rate depends on their experience and expertise.

When you’ve narrowed down your list of prospective executive coaches, get in touch and ask the questions you need to make sure it’s a good fit.

Here’s more on how to find an executive coach.

How to Become an Executive Coach

Certain skills and traits will help make you a good executive coach. These include insightfulness, strategic thinking, and emotional intelligence. Executive coaches ask good questions, and they know when, where, and how much to push their clients toward change. Of course, an excellent coach has leadership experience that’s broad and deep enough to sufficiently inform their coaching.

To be a successful executive coach, you’ll want to get certified. That requires a certain amount of training and a demonstration of your knowledge and skills. Here’s more on how to become an executive coach.

Wrapping Up

We’ve taken a good look at these issues:

  • What is executive coaching? How does it work?
  • The benefits of executive coaching
  • How to find an executive coach
  • How to become an executive coach

Whether you’re a leader looking for an executive coach or considering becoming one, we hope that you’re now further down the road to making an informed decision. Either way, exciting changes are in your future!


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