• Natalie Hall

Behind every great leader... is a great exec coach ..?

Updated: Jun 14

Without a doubt, the last year has been a testing and difficult time for those in leadership positions. Many of my clients have needed a sounding board to help them navigate the increased demands on their time to manage team wellbeing through a pandemic, communicating strategic decisions and implementing large-scale remotely, providing on the job development and feedback to virtual teams whilst doing their “day to day” job.

As we start to move towards a hybrid way of working these demands on leaders are not going to diminish and increasingly many managers are going need to be the glue that binds those in the office and those at home.

Many of the leaders I have worked with over the past 12 months have experienced a significant increase in working hours, expectation of 24/7 availability from their peers and their teams whilst balancing significant organisational uncertainty. This additional responsibility has been challenging and many of them have sought to utilise our coaching relationship to work through plans, challenges and strategise.

Not everyone finds people management and leadership easy. It’s tough to be the one providing the clarity, direction and optimism.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams

This is why executive coaching is an invaluable source of support for those in leadership roles.

What is executive and/or leadership coaching?

This is coaching for your leaders. It is a way of providing them with a thinking partner, a sounding board to explore challenges, a place to strategise, work on leadership styles and evolve thinking. It’s forward-looking, positive and solution focused.

It’s an investment in the longer-term mental health, resilience, professional development and skillset of your leadership team.

How will coaching benefit my leadership team?

Good executive coaching can be transformative. The process of working with a coach to define success, legacy, professional values and priorities provides immense clarity of thought and direction. The process of coaching raises self-awareness and in turn a perspective on leadership styles and behaviours. This process of reflection and self-diagnosis, with the right coach, can lead to huge shifts in style. Leadership behaviours are contagious and therefore, in order to create a working culture that it positive, healthy and focused on growth – you need to tackle the tone from the tip.

How should you choose the right executive coach for you/your team?

Firstly, as with any relationship, business or personal, rapport is key. You have to trust your coach; want to work with them and be open to challenge from them. Mutual respect is key for this thinking partnership to work. Qualifications are also extremely important, as an unregulated industry there are many unqualified executive coaches out there. You can review my qualifications here.

Not only that I believe that having real corporate experience counts for a huge amount. Of course, coaching is context neutral (i.e. the coach doesn’t need to have all the information or know all the personalities to support you) but understanding your client’s experience is invaluable. Read some of our testimonials to see how we've helped others with executive coaching.

What topics you can bring to coaching?

Bring it all! Many of my clients start by discussing a professional issue but in fact we uncover that this doesn’t just impact them at work but also at home and in their personal lives. And this is also why trust and rapport are a crucial element of any coaching relationship. You will want to feel comfortable talking about anything that you need help with, whether that is strategic direction, how to manage your team, how to build your own external profile, how to build personal and team resilience or managing external stakeholders.

Why might you benefit from an executive / leadership coach?

From starting a new role, to dealing with conflict within your team, a company restructure or takeover, or even if you’re just feeling a little dissatisfied with your career and wanting more, you would benefit from working with an executive coach.

All the best leaders can tell you about someone in their life, an official or unofficial mentor, who influenced them and helped them become the leader they are today… You may not have experienced this yet, but your future executive coach could potentially be the person who drives you forward to leadership greatness.

Want to find out more? At Elevate Leaders we offer many services including executive coaching, mentoring, leadership development & wellbeing.

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