My CEO is talking about getting some coaching. What would you say are the real benefits of executive coaching for leaders in organisations?
It’s a cliché I know, but leadership is tough at the top. There is continued pressure to do more with less, deliver ever more demanding value for money in terms of services and products, keep your organisation focussed, competitive and relevant and often in uncertain times and complex economic climates. In my experience some of the most senior leaders can also find it lonely and difficult to share their fears and vulnerabilities with internal colleagues, fearful of being exploited or losing credibility.
Working with a coach as an external “thinking partner” can be immensely liberating and provides leaders with a safe place to test out ideas and options, be challenged to think outside of their familiar sphere of influence and look at the impact of their proposed actions on a range of external and internal stakeholders. It also gives the coach the opportunity to ask questions like how does this decision fit with you and your personal values? Does it feel congruent and authentic?
At one level coaching helps hone and develop necessary leadership skills, such as influencing, negotiating, strategic thinking and more fundamentally enhancing listening, which has a major impact on the quality of relationships with others.
At another level coaching typically takes a whole life perspective and challenges the individual to attend to all areas of life – family, friends, health, development and interests. It is a valuable reminder to look after self and remain energised and vibrant to tackle and enjoy the many challenges of the privilege of leadership.