When is the Best Time for Executive Coaching?


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Lisa, our Vice President of Marketing, is having some issues. She is not getting along very well with some other members of the executive team, and she seems to be executing on her own agenda. She could probably benefit from some executive coaching.

Our IT Manager, Thad, can’t seem to relate to his employees. For months now, he has been terse and angry when responding to their requests for direction and guidance. We should see if we can have someone help him out with some executive coaching.

Joan, our Sales Director, has not been hitting her numbers. She’s admitted her targets are achievable, and she has a great plan in place, but execution just seems to be a problem. We might want to see if we can hook her up with someone who can jump-start her performance. Some executive coaching would surely help her get back on track.

Do you see a pattern here? Do any of these situations sound familiar?

According to conventional thinking, the optimal time to turn to coaching for an executive is:

  • after the employee has started to fail,
  • after dangerous patterns have emerged,
  • after relationships have been damaged,
  • after colleagues and other employees have been de-motivated,
  • after a couple of deals have fallen apart …

Actually, the ideal time for executive coaching is before any significant problems arise. I use “significant problems” carefully and in no way suggest that executive coaching should be provided before the executive encounters meaningful challenges.

Challenges are a regular part of leadership life. Challenges are also excellent growth opportunities for up-and-coming executives. Unfortunately, however, most companies do not view, approach or take advantage of those challenges as the fertile ground they can become to drive optimal growth in the professional lives of those executives.

Instead, usually only after failure has already occurred or after damage has already been done, a senior leader becomes inspired to recommend some guidance for the problem child – he could probably benefit from some executive coaching.

Executive coaching is most effective:

  • when the executive has the opportunity to understand how the challenges of increased responsibility and stress can actually help him to blossom as a leader,
  • when the executive can objectively examine and assess all of his options, and
  • when the coach can help the executive navigate the options toward the best outcome for the company, the executive and those around him

… all before the battle fatigue, or worse, the scars of defeat, have the chance to set in.

Coaching for success means that mid-level and senior-level employees have the opportunity to capitalize on victories and perform even better. Coaching for success focuses not on losing, or even how to avoid losing, but rather on how leaders can improve, how they can turn good relationships into meaningful, value-driven partnerships, and how they can transform good performance into exceptional performance.

The optimal time to invest in executive coaching is when the executives are performing well, even when every indication suggests they are to blow the lid off the numbers. Effective executive coaching not only helps executives deal with failure, it helps them deal with success, which in the end is sometimes even more difficult to navigate.

What leaders and organizations need so desperately today is not so much how to turn losing into winning, but how to turn winning into consistent winning, and how to turn consistent winning into knock the customer’s socks off winning.

So, don’t wait for Lisa, Thad or Joan to fail before you provide them with an executive coaching partner. The very best time to start their executive coaching is well before it seems necessary.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Miller
Pretium Solutions is the premier provider of cutting-edge, sustainable and globally recognized customer service, call center and sales training, consulting and leadership programs. Pretium shows companies how to create, build and maintain customer loyalty, the most important measure of a company's success with its customers and the most profitable customer service outcome, and how to live out the company brand promise where it counts the most – on the front line.


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