In a recent Ted Talk featuring Bill Gates. Interestingly the point Bill highlights—and the one characteristic common to all high performing individuals, from executives to athletes—is the fact that they all have a coach. Yet, nearly two-thirds of executives of the world don’t. In fact the majority of individuals over 60% are embarrassed to consider, let alone ask for coaching. “Why do you need coaching? What’s wrong with you?” In my experience the people that seek coaching aren’t the ones with something wrong with them. To the contrary, there’s something very right about them — and it’s enabling them to leap ahead.
Everyone needs a coach. It doesn't matter whether you're a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player; we all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve.
According to an Executive Coaching Survey performed by the Miles Group and Stanford University:
Nearly two-thirds of CEOs do not receive outside leadership advice, but nearly all want it. “Lonely at the top” resonates for most CEOs.
“It’s lonely at the top” appears to be truer than ever, according to a new study conducted by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, and The Miles Group. Nearly two-thirds of CEOs do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches, and almost half of senior executives are not receiving any either, the survey reveals.
“What’s interesting is that nearly 100% of CEOs in the survey responded that they actually enjoy the process of receiving coaching and leadership advice, so there is real opportunity for companies to fill in that gap,” says David F. Larcker, who led the research team and is the James Irvin Miller Professor of Accounting and Morgan Stanley director of the Center for Leadership Development and Research at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Executive coaching is an iquiry-based approach to personal and professional development that is aimed at creating awareness, generating action, and facilitating learning and growth. It involves gathering and giving feedback, identifying development opportunities, building awareness, facilitating solutions by asking powerful questions, setting goals and creating action plans, facilitating learning, providing support and encouragement over the long term and monitoring progress while holding others accountable.
Executive coaching is not telling, teaching or giving advice (while these kinds of things are supplemental to the coaching experience). You shouldn’t expect your coaching experience to be wrought with counseling, therapy or consulting either. Executive coaching is not about correcting mistakes as it is about learning how to identify and avoid them altogether. It is not performance managing, but you might expect performance to increase as any good coach worth their weight will help engender disciplines which lead to better performance. Executive coaching is more about helping an individual learn how to identify their problem behaviors and act to adjust these positively. Finally, executive coaching is not mentoring either, still the benefits of executive coaching will empower you to mentor those in your own sphere of influence. As a result of executive coaching you will benefit from enhanced performance and increased productivity, improved morale, reduced turnover within your own organization, increased self-esteem and confidence, ability to grow skill sets which you thought were not possible before. At the end of the day, executive coaching will increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.
As a rule of thumb, executive coaching can last for about 6 months in duration, but depending on the situation, coaching duration could fall anywhere between 3–12 months. The time needed for specific coaching varies according to the circumstances, but a wise individual will recognize the need for coaching and will engage in some type of coaching throughout their entire life.
At Ferguson Interests we see the value of executive coaching and many of our clients who engage with Mr. Ferguson on a coaching track find that not only do they grow professionally but they also grow in personal areas of their life, striking a balance between personal and professional pursuits. Executive coaching has many benefits which include: heightened self-awareness, improved self-regulation, higher levels of empathy, a boost in cognition at work, increased levels of motivation, better social skills, and improved leadership abilities. Furthermore, executive coaching empowers individuals and encourages them to take responsibility. These attributes in a leader who is coached have a tendency to “rub-off” on employee’s through increased engagement. It also gives the executive the ability to identify high potential employee’s who have both organizational and individual strengths and development opportunities. This puts the executive at an advantage as he or she is better equipped to surround themselves with capable people.
Still, there are some fringe benefits that usually follow those engaged in executive coaching with a qualified and experienced coach. For example, people who are coached often find themselves equipped to expand their network. By virtue of their influence and book of business, executive coaches are knowledgeable about others within their sphere of influence who can, upon proper introduction, benefit the executive and create new opportunities and synergies. Mr. Ferguson works with hundreds of professionals and has contacts with thousands of highly influential people. His keen awareness of potential opportunities which might mutually benefit those he coaches are ever present.
Whatever ancillary benefits derived from executive coaching are secondary to the personal growth which can be achieved from ongoing coaching sessions. The best news is that the benefits of coaching can be quantified. According to the American Management Association, organizations that use coaching reported stronger market performance. A global survey of coaching clients by Price Waterhouse Coopers and the Association Resource Center concluded that the mean ROI for companies investing in coaching was seven times that of the initial investment. A quarter of the companies in the survey reported an ROI of 10 to 49 times investment.
Lastly, it is important to note that coaching is a private affair. In coaching a client a personal connection is made between the coach and the client with the aim of helping the executive achieve never before attained victories in their business as well as their private life. Often times coaching will expose considerable deficits in an individual that should be addressed in order to correct, but remain private. At Ferguson Interests, we respect client privacy and keep our training discreet. Our goal is to help you become the best executive you can be!
For more information about executive coaching, contact Rob Ferguson today.