What Is Leadership Coaching?
Leadership coaching aims at improving the impact and effectiveness of anyone in a leadership position. One specialized form of leadership coaching is executive coaching, which typically focuses on CEOs and other senior leadership team members, as well as high potential employees.
Leadership coaching has become increasingly popular over the past three decades, largely because it’s the most effective form of professional development for people in leadership positions. Unlike offsite training programs, workshops and classes, leadership coaching is highly customized, focusing on improving a person’s effectiveness in addressing his or her specific challenges and opportunities arising within the current work environment. Furthermore, coaching occurs on an ongoing basis, usually every other week, until a client’s specific goals are achieved. This embedded approach allows a person to incorporate new behavior, perspectives and insights from coaching over time and adjust coaching goals as the person evolves and their needs change.
What Are The Benefits of Leadership Coaching?
Benefits for the Individual
Leadership coaching provides leaders with individual attention, support and feedback on a regular basis and is aimed at helping a person who is already performing well do even better. Leadership coaching engagements usually begin with a 360 developmental assessment that identifies strengths and opportunities for leadership development. Through this process, a leader receives confidential feedback summarized from interviews with a dozen or so direct reports, peers and bosses with whom they work.
This feedback centers on what a leader does very well and also identifies areas of improvement that would further enhance that person’s leadership impact and effectiveness. The 360 assessment serves of the basis for setting goals for leadership coaching. Typically, this process both affirms a leader’s positive performance and contributions while also generating very frank and revealing information about how and what a leader might do even better.
Regular sessions with a leadership coach provide a confidential, supportive setting for exploring how to move forward in achieving a leader’s coaching goals, as well as sorting through how to best respond to emergent opportunities and challenges.
A typical coaching session ends with an agreement about what next steps the leader will take prior to the following coaching session. Then the following coaching session begins with a review of the last session’s next steps. In this way leadership coaching also provides a framework of accountability for a busy leader to make sure there is timely follow-through on completing specific actions.