"I analyse, interpret and explain. Then I advocate action."

Executive Coaching

Kim’s experience with executive coaching goes back to his days as a member of the executive/management teams of three of Canada’s prominent corporations. Part of his executive role in these organizations was to monitor and improve the performance of the other senior executives. Now and since 2003, as an external coach brought in for specific assignments, he is able to draw upon this corporate experience. He has done this in the private and public sector; in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations; and in privately held and publicly traded companies.

Kim approaches executive coaching in a flexible and customized manner to promote leadership development and organizational effectiveness. He works in a partnership with a senior executive and others in his/her organization. The coaching takes place within the context and on behalf of the organization so the strategy and objectives of the organization are supported as well as the objectives of the executive. Usually the organization is the client; the benefactors are the executive and the organization. The coaching relationship consists primarily of one-on-one meetings between the executive and Kim, and is sometimes supported by others in the organization.

THE PURPOSE OF EXECUTIVE COACHING

The purpose of executive coaching is to facilitate the executive’s learning and to achieve both the executive’s and organization’s objectives. Executive coaching is being used with increasing frequency because it has been found to be highly effective, especially when compared to executive group training methods that are general and cannot readily take into account individual experiences, leadership styles and preferences. The ongoing relationship between the executive and the coach is conducive to significant and enduring positive change.

WHO USES EXECUTIVE COACHING

Executive coaching is used by successful top executives to further develop their leadership and managerial competencies. Executives who are being groomed for a new role with increasing responsibilities that demand new skills, more complex thinking, and highly effective managerial and interpersonal competencies also use it.

Sometimes, the executive is the second or third generation of a family business who is taking on more responsibility. Less frequently, coaching is used by individuals requiring performance improvement in a remedial sense.

THE TYPICAL STAGES OF A COACHING RELATIONSHIP

Typical stages include:

  • Establishing trust and a learning relationship
  • Needs analysis and planning
  • Data gathering: usually a 360° process plus individual information
  • Goal setting
  • Coaching
  • Monitoring results
  • Transitioning to long-term development

THE TECHNIQUES OF EXECUTIVE COACHING

Within the context of established goals, Kim customizes an approach which usually includes developing a complete understanding of the executive’s leadership style, skill building, performance improvement, behavioural change, development for future assignments, and how best to leverage the executive’s leadership to improve organizational effectiveness.

Kim uses many different techniques such as problem solving, planning, rehearsal and on-the-job practice, feedback, dialogue, clarification of roles, teaching and the application of a variety of management and leadership tools. He also may advise on the value of other management development activities.

THE 360° PROCESS

The concept of a 360° process refers to the activity of gathering feedback about an executive’s performance and leadership from the people all around them. Although many instruments can be used, Kim has found the best way to gather this feedback is by conducting confidential one-on-one individual interviews with people identified through discussion with the executive. The interviews are customized and structured. The input is compiled, analyzed, and fed back to the executive in comprehensive de-briefing sessions. From this information, and in combination with other data, a development plan is drafted which charts the course for the coaching stage.

Most executives find that the 360° process is both interesting and useful. In some cases, it is a very enlightening and pivotal experience. In other cases, it confirms much of what the executive already suspects, and adds impetus to change. Although opportunities for honest and valuable feedback usually decrease as an executive climbs the corporate ladder, it is this information that is critical to the executive’s success.

THE LENGTH OF A TYPICAL COACHING RELATIONSHIP

The length varies with the complexity of the goals. However most senior executives retain Kim for one year to eighteen months. This period allows sufficient time for the executive to make progress with goals, to establish sustained behavioural change, to measure progress, and to build in methods for long-term development. Meetings usually occur once per week at first and then gradually decrease in frequency to monthly once in the coaching stage.

THE OUTCOMES OF A COACHING RELATIONSHIP

Outcomes will depend on the goals of the coaching relationship, but most executives report an increase in their effectiveness as leaders and in their satisfaction with their work. Peers, bosses and direct reports also report increased effectiveness. The executive’s level of commitment and motivation to participate in the coaching relationship is critical – executives generally get as much out of it as they put into it. The support of the executive’s boss or Board can also be important.