Executive Coaching for Learning and Development – Is it Worth the Buzz?

Learning and Development (L&D) is as important for a business’s success as sales or operations (honestly, a little more). With technology disrupting entire work processes and life as we know it, employees must skill up and skill up fast. One of the most popular ways of going about this workplace transformation is through coaching programs.

While executive coaching sessions are more popular amongst the C-suite executive level, it is becoming more and more common for mid-level and even at the entry-level. They can be physical sessions or the more popular, online coaching sessions. Read on to find out all about executive coaching and why your company needs them.

What are Executive Coaching Programs?

Executive coaching is a Learning and Development tool that includes tailor-made sessions involving a professional coach and the different stakeholders. These sessions work by asking questions, doing detailed personality assessments, and pointing our learning gaps. Most sessions do not provide much advice or an immediate solution. Instead, they help executives clear their heads and come to a solution themselves.

While most coaches have therapy or consulting background, the session itself is not a counselling session. It is strictly a learning opportunity.

What are the Objectives of these Programs?

Executive coaching is an integral part of a company’s L&D programs. The important objectives of executive coaching include:

  • Becoming a company’s sounding board
  • Providing in-depth personality and behavioral assessment of employees
  • Helping them get clarity on work goals
  • Make them more self-aware in a work set-up
  • Please encourage them to achieve their business and development goals

A good coaching program aims to touch upon all of these objectives while making the session personalized for a company’s unique needs.

4 Ways in Which Coaching Helps a Business Grow

There are many, but here are the four biggest benefits of hiring executive coaches for your company.

  1. It Helps Employees become Self-Aware and Self-Regulated

Self-awareness or knowing yourself sounds pretty humble. But it is one of the most complex and essential catalysts for growth. According to Timothy Gallwey’s popular phrase, ‘the inner game’, true potential is more a function of inner strength than external limitations. When you start asking questions like what made you shout at your colleague instead of only asking how you can avoid it, you learn to take charge of your emotions and feelings.

Emotionally intelligent people are often better at making decisions. By becoming aware of themselves, employees become better risk-takers and explore the limits of their possibilities (which are none).

  1. Help Employees become Empathic to Others

The ability to understand someone else’s standpoint or empathy is not just a soft skill. Quoting the CEO of Telefonica Germany, Rene Schuster, “Empathy is not a soft nurturing value but a hard commercial tool that every business needs as part of their DNA.”

It is the base of Design Thinking, a hot topic in today’s business world that is all about transforming business processes from profit-centric to customer-centric. Executive coaching helps employees tap on the empathetic side of their personalities. When employees think about each other, they automatically do what is right by the company.

  1. It Helps Increase the Cognitive Abilities of Employees

When you get exposure to mind-building exercises, there is also a sharp increase in other cognitive senses. When you achieve emotional soundness, you are better able to empathize with others. Empathy directly translates to mutual respect and the ability to appreciate different perspectives.

In short, executive coaching sessions help make even the most rigid mind flexible and open to possibilities.

  1. Improves Social and Leadership Skills

Every employee is a cog in the bigger wheel called the workplace. For any business to run smoothly, there must be no friction between these cogs. Interpersonal skills and social skills are the very fabric of any relationship – work or otherwise.

Encouraging teams to participate in coaching sessions ensures a significant increase in the team’s emotional intelligence. Such groups have better social skills and prove beneficial in client relationship maintenance.

4 Tips to Become Better at Coaching

Executive coaching is not a one-fits-all kind of thing. Each employee is at a different knowledge level, and every company has unique needs. So, choosing the right coach is very crucial. Here are four things to look for in an executive coach.

  1. Flexible and Customizable Sessions – There is no one-fits-all formula for teaching life skills to anyone. Every company has a unique requirement that calls for tailor-made modules. The coaches should improvise based on the learning stage of their students (the employees, in this case).
  2. Result-Driven Approach of Coaching – Since the executive is all about mastering intangible skills, the coaching program must use metrics to measure the progress. This involves using periodical assessments, real-time applications etc. Once you can gauge the team’s progress, modifying the modules to fit your needs better becomes easier.
  3. Latest Tools and Resources – Skill development is an ever-evolving process. What was valid even years back is obsolete today. So, training providers should be well-versed in the latest tools and metrics to design modules and gauge performance.
  4. One-one-one Approach – Even if you choose a group session, it should have enough scope for addressing the concerns of individual members. The goal should be to make the team strong, and this can only happen if every member is at the top of their game.

Closing Thoughts

So, how much learning is enough learning? One new course every couple of years, just to keep you afloat? Well, as convenient as it sounds, there is no limit to learning. Even if you are a big shot (the Executive C-suite) in a company, you still need to reskill and upskill. Yes, no one expects you to learn the latest CAD software (there’s no harm either), but they will surely expect you to learn how to become a better manager and visionary.

So, coming back to the question, if executive coaching programs are worth all the buzz, yes, they surely are.

Happy learning.

If you have any questions, please ask below!