Executive Coaching - what it is, what it is not and what it can do for you.
‘The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands
but in seeing with new eyes.’
- Marcel Proust
Everyone goes through periods of uncertainty in their working and personal lives. We feel anxious and helpless. Yet, the solution is often within us. By working with an expert coach, all of us have the power to unearth our own answers and develop a new plan of action. We can unlock our potential and achieve our ambitions.
But what is Executive Coaching?
It is a form of learning where a coach supports a coachee to develop new ways to see themselves and their environment in a way that benefits them. People use coaches to help them become unstuck and move forward in a certain direction, to unlock their potential and maximize their own performance. Through deep listening and powerful questioning, coachees are encouraged to change the inner attitude of their minds so as to positively impact the outer aspects of their lives.
Executive Coaching is often misperceived as a way of someone else solving your problems for you. It isn’t. Executive Coaching is based on the principle that an individual is ultimately responsible for their lives and the results they are getting. A coach will never instruct you to do something specific and they will not do it for you. If they did, the coach would be taking responsibility and therefore power away from you.
So, Executive Coaching is the same as therapy?
In fact, that is a misconception. Executive Coaching should not be confused with clinical therapy or psychoanalysis although it does promote a greater self-awareness and fuller appreciation of our own situations and circumstances. As Proust hinted above, sometimes change can be promoted by a simple shift in perspectives.
Put simply, coaches don’t develop people - they create the inspiring environment where a person can develop themselves.
In my experience as an Executive Coach to individuals of all levels within big and small organisations, I have seen the positive power and influence of coaching directly upon an individual’s thinking and actions. This enables them to:
Unlock potential – coaching provides not a new set of skills or competencies but a new ability to recognise attributes in the individual and for these to be valued
Regain momentum – people are often stuck in their day to day story and feel frustrated and unable to move forward. Coaching shows that the solution lies within all of us and an expert coach is merely holding up a mirror to the coachee and acting as an echo chamber for their own thoughts and ultimate solutions.
Realise ambitions – by providing a new, powerful lens through which to view and value your own experience and skills, an executive coach enables individuals to reignite and realise their ambitions. Now the impossible seems possible and the vague becomes clear.
While executive coaching may not be rocket science, it can be viewed a bit like brain surgery. The executive coach is an expert in facilitating self-directed neuro-plasticity i.e. re-wiring our brains to think and act differently. As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, ‘A mind stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions’.