There are many factors that go into an effective executive coaching intervention, but there are four that stand out as being essential for success.
To start the coaching project off right, there needs to be alignment between the individual being coached, their boss, and the coach. Specifically, there needs to be clear goals and objectives that everyone can get behind.
For example, focusing on 1 to 2 tangible goals to be accomplished during the coaching intervention will be perceived as achievable and not insurmountable.
There also needs to be clarity regarding why the coaching is taking place. In the past, coaching had been used mostly to correct or improve undesirable behavior. Consequently, people saw it in a negative light. Today, coaching is used more often to put people on the “fast track” to higher level positions and is seen much more positively by all those involved. Emphasize these positive perceptions as being an advantage to get the individual getting the coaching intervention more engaged in their development.
Assessments complement the coaching intervention by providing key information to all involved, so take advantage of them. One of the most useful assessments in coaching is 360°s. These kinds of assessments can include any combination of self-ratings, supervisor ratings, peer ratings, and direct report ratings.
Receiving feedback from multiple sources is valuable and will most likely be extremely revealing to both the coach and the individual being coached.
Other assessments measuring personality, emotional intelligence, and other individual difference assessments can be useful, as well. These offer more insight into traits and abilities of the individual being coached and will allow the coach to target specific characteristics that need to be highlighted or improved upon.
Once information is gathered from assessments and other sources, it is the coach’s job to present the feedback in a way that is understandable and relatable to the individual being coached.
The coach needs to be a guide through the feedback process and draw attention to what is most important.
The coach then needs to transform the feedback gathered from assessments into tangible action steps. Without this key step, the value of the feedback resulting from the assessments will be lost. The coach is in a unique position to be instrumental in helping the individual interpret, accept, and use this feedback.
Building a rapport and having trust between the coach and the individual being coached is important throughout the entire coaching intervention. This relationship can be fostered from the beginning by ensuring there is a “match” between the coach and the individual.
Throughout the process, then, the coach needs to continually work to build camaraderie with the individual. If this relationship is there, helping the individual walk through the feedback and decide on appropriate action steps will be more productive, especially if the feedback is negative.
Executive coaching has been shown to be extremely useful in practice.
If there is alignment between those involved, assessments are being taken advantage of, feedback is being used appropriately, and there is a focus on relationships, these interventions will be most successful.