What is Executive Coaching?

Executive Coaching is a one-on-one development process formally contracted between a professional coach and a management-level client to increase the client's managerial and/or leadership performance.

The coaching relationship is a partnership between a client, sometimes called a coachee (not called a client to distinguish the person from the client organization), and a professional coach.

The different phases of Executive Coaching include:

  1. Initial contracting and information gathering: the coach and coachee work to understand shared expectations, goals and agreements.
  2. Assessment and feedback: the coach uses different assessments and gathers data about the coachee, and then provides feedback to the coachee using this data.
  3. Development Planning and implementation: coach and coachee move from interpretations about data to action plans. The coachee might meet with his sponsor to discuss the Development Plan. Adjustments are made to original goals, and implementation meetings are held.
  4. Evaluation and Follow-up: all parties review progress and lessons learned, and plan next steps.

Some key elements of Executive Coaching are that self-awareness is linked with business results; an action plan is put into place, tested and modified; goals are based on both personal need of the coachee and organizational need; the coaching process is structured and uses proven assessment tools and feedback from key stakeholders to make it work.

Your Executive Coach uses powerful questions, active listening, observation, assessment tools, feedback from bosses and organizational stakeholders, hypotheses about their own understanding of a coaching client as well as observational and assessment tools, to make the process work.

Executive coaching targeting emotional intelligence is aimed at increasing emotional intelligence skills and behaviors of coachees to improve self-awareness so they can be better leaders, communicate and self-manage better.

Blackbird Leadership's approach using EI (Emotional Intelligence) in coaching is practically based. First we help you become a keener self-observer. Using self-observation skills, we help you increase your already robust strength areas of emotional intelligence that impact job performance.

As you learn what increases your emotional intelligence, you also learn to anticipate people or work tasks which most test you. We teach you how to apply EI in either extinguishing or diminishing those behaviors that are holding back performance. By both increasing your EI strengths and helping to extinguish non-EI deficits, executives find they are far more effective, and not surprisingly, happier, in their work. Even more convincingly, stakeholders like bosses and other organizational leaders, are pleasantly surprised by the behavior changes most of our clients make using our practical, straight-forward approach.

One-on-one coaching is at its heart, a facilitated helping relationship. The coach uses his skill to understand the client. The coach holds the client accountable for making changes actionable that the coachee talks about. Coaching is both personalized learning and leadership development training. Coaches both support and challenge coachees, calibrating where to challenge, where to support and what works best with this coachee.

Executive Coaching is different from Personal Coaching in that it is contracted by an organization to support the development of a manager or leader in order to both help that executive develop and drive business results forward. Whereas Personal Coaching is a two-person relationship, Executive Coaching is a triadic relationship involving the boss, organizational stakeholders and the organization. The coach uses assessment data from surveys such as the Myers Briggs MBTI Q Interpretative Report or the Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI) to deepen the coachees' self-awareness and hone in on specific steps the coachee needs to take to get to the next level in his development.

Coaching sessions are conducted both in person and on the phone. At first, your coach will lead the way in asking questions and facilitating the learning process. As you become more invested in the coaching process, you will take more risks in talking about personal or career frustrations, and challenges, as well as some of the bigger dreams you have. Your coach is not on board to rescue you from your dilemmas. Your coach partners with you to meet these challenges in working smarter. Applying coaching can raise the level of your game to heights you might not be able to reach alone.

Great coaching requires not only an excellent coach who fits well with a coaching client, but coachees who are committed to making the coaching an exceptional experience.