In the past ten years, Executive or Leadership coaching has gone from being viewed with skepticism to a business trend that garners over 1 billion dollars each year. What is the secret to its success? The answer is simple– it works. Surveys done year-over-year by various research bodies shows that 83% of the executives who engaged in short-term (less than 6 months) coaching practices, improved many of their leadership skills as a direct result.
So what ARE the benefits of leadership coaching, and why do those benefits matter so much? Coaching provides the opportunity for leaders to:
Build Personal Awareness:
Ironically, this is the top-most skill leaders are looking to gain when they search out a leadership coach. It is ironic because it may not seem like a necessary skill on the surface. Why would knowing more about myself improve my ability to leads others? The answer is simple: changing (aka improving) one’s self is an inside job, and the more we understand our inner drives and values, the better able we are to change and improve them. Coaching allows an individual the time to reflect on their motivations and reactions to events they’d like to change. Building personal awareness allows leaders to gain greater control over their internal motivations, thought distortions and coping strategies.
The Result?: Empowerment
Emotional Intelligence has never been more important to develop in recent years. The world is in turmoil. People are suffering like never before, and few understand how to deal with the myriad challenges facing them. Empathy is the skill that drives understanding of the deeper factors underlying human performance. Empathy is having the willingness to open one’s mind to the vast amount of information available in the emotional quadrant of the human experience. As fully one-fourth of that experience, it improves any leaders’ ability to see into and beyond an individual’s problems and concerns, and face challenges with compassion and understanding.
The Result?: Insight
The very practice of coaching allows leaders to improve their communication skills: both in listening to their coach and in expressing themselves. The ability to get things done, pivots around clear communications, and coaching provides the opportunity to role-play, sound someone out, and polish the messaging so that the exact meaning of those communications becomes crystal clear. Scads of research has been done on the links between clear communication and improving results, but that’s not the only reason to practice communication. The practice of expressing one’s self clearly, improves that individual’s ability to think more clearly in a continuous improvement loop.
The Result?: Understanding
Practice, Practice, Practice:
Just like running a marathon, meditating, or getting enough sleep, leadership coaching provides the opportunity to practice, practice, practice. Leadership skills do not happen accidentally or passively. They require work, reflection and repetition to become habits. 100 CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies report that practicing their leadership skills deliberately and intentionally made all the difference in how quickly they were able to grow and improve as leaders. Energy follows attention–it is a basic law of our physical Universe. By placing our attention on our practice, we add momentum to our process.
The Result?: Peak Performance
We don’t have to look too far in recent political history to see examples of the devastation that can occur when a leader has little to no accountability. Accountability is an important benefit derived from allowing a trusted coach to scrutinize and comment upon a leader’s behavior. It is the ability to be told “no” to one’s behavior. This basic accountability in a coaching relationship is the early step towards expanded responsibility and willingness to take responsibility for one’s own actions and choices. When leaders take personal accountability, they are modelling the behaviors necessary for a successful team and organization.
The Result?: Results
Leadership Coaching matters because it is the single-most successful tool employed by thousands of leaders around the world to grow, improve and enhance their ability to lead their organizations into a better future.
If you have been considering whether or not to engage a leadership coach, or whether or not it even matters–let me assure you–it does!
Dr. Laurel Ross is the Founder and CEO of Our Imagined Life: a private consulting firm dedicated to the transformation of businesses and individuals worldwide. Dr. Ross has a proven track record of success in Leadership Development. She has delivered key note addresses, inspirational change management presentations and women’s leadership workshops . Please feel free to schedule your 30-minute free consultation with Dr. Ross by contacting her.