Key Success Factors in Executive Coaching
There are times when executives can benefit immensely from coaching. Executives should seek coaching “when they feel that a change in behavior—either for themselves or their team members—can make a significant difference in the long-term success of the organization,” says Marshall Goldsmith, a high-profile executive coach and author of eighteen books, including The Leader of the Future (Jossey-Bass, 1996).
Many organizations hire executive coaches to coach senior leaders but often fail to support those executives due to the following reasons:
- Lack of support from managers
- Insufficient ongoing development opportunities
- Inadequate feedback, and
- Poor reward and recognition mechanisms for improved performance
Coaching engagements should be part of a larger strategic initiative. Coaching works when it is systematic and used as an integrated part of a larger leadership development program.
Organizations that have developed a coaching infrastructure to support the individuals receiving coaching achieve the greatest success. They develop strategies and internal processes to support the individuals receiving coaching. Often the strategies address business goals and leadership development needs.
The infrastructure provides strict guidelines on the roles and responsibilities of senior leaders, coachees, the coaching and development process, the coach selection process, coaching duration, type of coaching needed, support and feedback on development goals, development opportunities, and measurement of the outcomes and results of the coaching.
Most executive coaching programs focus on the role of the coach and coaching discussions. The Institute of Organization Development’s Executive Coaching Certification Program (ECCP), on the other hand, offers participants an opportunity to learn how to implement a strategic approach which is based upon the scientific principles of Organization Development. Using OD principles in executive coaching, the ECCP certified coach helps the client develop a coaching process customized to meet the needs of the organization and helps build a culture that supports the individuals receiving coaching.
Conditions that help in implementing an effective executive coaching strategy:
- Linking to strategic goals or initiatives
- Creating senior leader buy-in, commitment, and accountability
- Supporting the coaching process through a process or infrastructure
- Involving management
- Selecting the coach through a proper process
- Having the desire to change (coachee)
- Developing an orientation to the coaching process
- Establishing a coaching culture
- Supporting the program through investment in resources
- Identifying the coaching process and coaching relationship
- Conducting feedback, evaluating outcomes, and tracking process
- Creating development opportunities and reward mechanisms
- Providing maintenance and a transition plan to support ongoing development after the coaching engagement has ended
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