FCG has a variety of resources on their website, although the guide, The FCG Executive CoachingGuide, Steps for a Successful Coaching Partnership was published in 2002, there is a lot useful information, and shows how an executive coach can help improve performance within an agency. One section of the guide identifies that traditionally there are four ways to improve performance, the guide states:
“There are four commonly used tools for improving human performance: Coaching, Consulting, Training, and Therapy; and there are important differences between them. Just as it is important to know when to hire a consultant (a subject expert who knows what should be done based on a series of assessments), a trainer (someone who focuses on skill and knowledge transfer – the how), and a therapist (someone who supports resolution of emotional, intrapersonal, and interpersonal issues – the why), it is equally important to know the when and why for using a coach.”
Ideally, to improve human performance within an agency, there needs to be a combination of all four tools, used appropriately, as every situation may require a different combination of the tools. The guide also provides five benefits to executive coaching:
1. Personal transformation; 2. Developing future leaders for their organization 3. Leading change to create high performing, results driven organizations 4. Learning how to be coaches to their employees 5. Creating organizational cultures that value learning, coaching and continuous improvement.
The guide also identifies some of the reasons why an organization might decide to hire an executive coach. I’ve identified the ten reasons why below, and have added my comments below each section, which the guide identifies.
Improve the existing culture of the organization:
Sometimes when you are to close to a situation, you need a fresh set of eyes to look at and do an analysis of what the culture is really like. It never hurts to have an outsider to do an honest assessment and provide some tactical solutions to how you can improve culture. Changing culture is a challenging, but it starts by identifying the common behaviors, traits or policies that may be enabling a culture you do not want within your agency.
Increase the leader’s ability to leverage his or her time and resources:
Talking through what you do with a coach would likely help you understand how you are using your time, and the coach could make some suggestions on what to emphasize and how to best utilize your time.
Improve the interpersonal skills of the leader:
Again, a coach can give an honest of assessment of your skills and where you can improve as a leader.
Foster discussion of new ideas:
Sometimes it is just best to talk through ideas with someone detached from your program, they can provide fresh insights and a unique perspective on your ideas.
Gain an outsider’s objective perspective: Outsiders often have a lot to contribute, by finding an executive coach who can really listen to you and your needs, you can reassess positions, policies and gain new insights to challenges in your office.
Clarify, expand, and articulate the leader’s vision: Every have a problem when you got a great idea, but are having trouble articulating the thought? Happens to me all the time, an executive coach who can excel at reflective listening, can rehash your ideas and help you formulate your opinions.
Provide a safe and secure outlet for the leader to vent: Everyone gets frustrated at times in the office, but you need to be extremely careful where and when you choose to vent. By having a safe channel to vent to, you won’t jeopardize your current position, lose organizational support, and develop an unfavorable image at the office.
Point out what the leader cannot, will not, or does not see: As previously mentioned, an outsider can contribute new ideas, fresh thoughts and new ways to look at scenarios. This is one of the greatest benefits to executive coaching, the ability to spur new ideas and listen to an employee to really identify challenges.
Find a better way to reduce stress, increase effectiveness, and still have a great life: Executive coaches have likely worked with dozens of other professionals, maybe some doing very similar work as their current client. Coaches can use previous experiences to make targeted recommendations, and provide suggestions on how to best improve a suitable work-life balance for their clients.
Help leaders see, feel, sense, measure, and process more data without taxing themselves: Managers take on a lot of different stresses, by having someone to help process information, they can have more clarity of thought and make informed decisions. By doing so, leaders can work to help drive agency success and meet all the goals.
Executive coaching is a great option for employees. I am curious to know if anyone has gone to an executive coach, and what the results were. Personally, I think the real challenge would be finding the right fit for a coach, but if you and an executive coach click, I think there are a lot of great outcomes that can come from the relationship.