Geoff Lawrence, MD, Vistage UK, discusses the benefits of having an executive coach in the workplace
Most people believe they have a good level of self-awareness, but actually our peers and colleagues are in a much better position to judge our strengths and weaknesses. They are also better placed to see how these attributes might impact on your performance and way of working.
When people are deciding whether they need an executive coach, improving self-awareness isn’t always a high priority. But taking the time to reflect on the way you approach tasks, tackle problems and communicate with co-workers and clients is incredibly valuable – for yourself and others. In fact, after following a program of executive coaching, many people find it’s one of the most significant and enduring benefits.
We are used to being viewed in a compassionate way by our friends and family. They’re invested in our happiness and enjoy a level of closeness with us. This supportive approach is wonderful in our personal lives but when it comes to improving our professional performance, we are better off listening to our colleagues whose motivation is to see us as we really are and to assist us in performing at our best for the good of the company.
A good executive coach will not only take the time to help you see how your attitude and demeanour affect your management style, but they will also arm you with the skills you need to continue to see yourself, and others, more clearly. They will use constructive feedback from co-workers in addition to your own insights and theirs as a neutral onlooker to help you develop as a leader.
Executive coaching helps you continue to progress and develop
Over time it is natural to lose sight of our goals and become weighed down by to-do lists or fighting the same fires as previous years. Perhaps you’ve spent too much time focusing on helping team members achieve their ambitions and not enough time on pursuing the dreams that inspired you on this career path in the first place. A good executive coach will help you rediscover your goals and put together an actionable plan for making them happen. They will identify gaps in knowledge or skills that need to be addressed and advise on support systems, internally or externally, that can help you on your revitalised career trajectory.
Executive coaching can help guide you through a period of change
Businesses change over time and not always in the most welcome ways. What is a positive development for some colleagues may unsettle or intimidate others. Your executive coach can help you view the changes in a more holistic way, enabling you to approach challenges in a calm and positive manner. Once you can look beyond the perceived stresses or obstacles, you and your coach can create manageable solutions that work in the best interests of everyone involved.
A more even-minded and creative approach can also reveal opportunities and improvements that the changes might bring. Executive coaches can also advise on the best ways to support your co-workers and how to communicate the changes effectively to other stakeholders. This will ensure they’re prepared for any disruptions or upheaval and can help maintain morale.
Executive coaches can help with workplace well-being
Promotion of mental health in the workplace is everybody’s responsibility, no matter what level of seniority. We should all have someone we can turn to when things get too much. Problems left unresolved can lead to serious issues for both the individual and the business. Executive coaching helps you manage your own stress levels and identify potential issues in others. Coaches can help ensure internal and external mental health support systems are fit for purpose and that there are measures in place to escalate and respond to concerns. They can look at working practices and point out any issues with time management, workloads or employee communication that could become a problem.
Executive coaching helps renew your passion for your role
Even the most diligent, committed employees can become apathetic at work. Feeling like you haven’t got enough hours in the day or that you’ve simply plateaued or lost interest can be really disheartening. Coupled with dealing with pressures and obligations outside work and you’d be forgiven for temporarily losing your inspiration.
Working with an executive coach helps revive the sense of opportunity and motivation you felt when you first started out. Perhaps there are projects that fell by the wayside but deserve revisiting. Maybe there are colleagues that you’d love to collaborate with but the chance hasn’t arisen yet. Executive coaching creates a space for these opportunities and makes them far more visible and tangible. You’ll get an honest sanity check on the viability of your goals and whether they’re appropriate for this time in your career or for the company. Your coach will help you prioritise, rationalise and create a tactical and strategic plan for giving your career a new lease of life.
Far from being a remedial addition as it has been historically viewed, executive coaching is now seen as a worthy investment in personal development and a way to understand our actions and motivations better. It’s a progressive and collaborative method of improving your performance and mindset. If you keep clear, realistic goals in mind and approach the experience with enthusiasm and commitment you could reinvigorate your career, improve your self-confidence and become the leader you were meant to be.
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