When to Use an Executive Coach

Question: I am a CEO of a mid-sized financial services firm. It seems that every time I turn around, someone is trying to sell me executive coaching. Why do I need a coach? Is this just another management fad that will go away or am I missing something I should be pursuing?

Alice Waagen says: There are whole books that have been written to answer this question. Let me give you a summary of my point of view on executive coaching. A good coaching relationship can be a valuable learning tool in your leadership development arsenal. But the key to making it work is to realize that coaching is a solution to an identified problem. Any solution, matched to the right problem, makes sense.

Here are some of the best reasons to use a coach:

• You need an objective, unbiased assessment of your own observations and actions. Rarely does a CEO have a “truth teller” in their organization. Just think of that hapless emperor who had be told by a young child he was shorn clothing (maybe that kid was the first executive coach!)

• You need someone who can get you accurate and timely feedback on your leadership effectiveness. Coaches can interview people around you at work and get good feedback for you on what you are doing that works and what you need to change.

• You need someone to guide you through reflection and self-analysis. I have had clients tell me that the best part of having a coach was to have an uninterrupted period of time every month to think without distractions and having someone who asked good questions to really get them thinking.

If you see yourself in any of these reasons, definitely think of using an executive coach to help you grow your leadership abilities.

Questions? Send Alice an email: alice@workforcelearning.com.