Executive coaching is a powerful tool used by a growing number of leaders, managers and people aspiring to these areas.
Today, CEOs, executives and senior managers are under pressure to deliver better performance, faster turnarounds and more effective people management.
Coaching helps. Up to two-thirds of senior execs now use an executive coach. No sportsperson would be without a coach...why should you or your team?
Coaching for leaders makes such a huge difference because the performance of a leader impacts on people all around them. If a leader can inspire even a small improvement in performance for their team, that brings big results.
When we commence an executive coaching program, we start with the exec to map their strengths and challenges, and define their coaching goals. We may include input from above, below or around the exec (with agreement of course) to ensure our approach links the organisational goals for the individual as well as their own goals. This helps because aligning organisational and individual objectives is one key to success.
In setting up the program for results, we might benchmark current versus desired performance to really nail the objectives and later be in a position to measure and demonstrate progress.
The alternative to using coaching?
Why not just leave your senior people to ‘do it themselves’?
Coaching for leaders and managers helps them develops awareness, skills, and behaviours far more effectively and faster than if the individual is left to address these challenges on their own.
If a manager doesn't have access to coaching, and ongoingly fails to hit targets or reach their potential when a coaching program would have helped turn things around, the end result is far more costly than a coaching program fee. Under-performance of team members, less than optimal relationships with other managers and teams, possibly replacement of a person in a key role...all very costly. And painful!
Our coaching supports the executive in achieving their objectives, offering experienced insight on issues, providing support and focus throughout the process whilst facilitating the development and embedding of new skills. We monitor progress throughout the assignment, with headway towards objectives being reviewed and evaluated, and our program revised where needed. This is another benefit of not just leaving managers and exec team members to 'go it alone' - but rather providing the support that helps them and the team win.
Coaching delivers outcomes
Coaching outcomes include personal fulfilment and increased confidence for the executive. We also work to ensure this converts to a positive impact and a real return to the team they lead, the teams they are a member of, and the organisation.
It's likely these days that every high-performing organisations (see HPOs) will have coaching embedded into its culture and its approach to development.
Group Coaching Programs
Leadership Development Seminars
Bringing your leadership or management team together for a development process is an extremely powerful way to improve organisational performance. This is because of the massive leverage power that leaders and managers have. And it is important to note – if this power is not being used constructively it is probably doing untold damage! It’s well worth investing a relatively small amount in these programs – what’s the gain if they just help you win or retrieve one major customer, or avoid one significant service disaster? And they will.
Atwork provides leadership solutions that are well researched, industry leading and proven to increase your organisation's effectiveness.
While we can deliver standard leadership programs, you can really make a sustained and major boost to performance through a customised leadership development program. This would typically start with some benchmark assessment, leading into the delivery of an impactful program, and wrapping up after followup assessment to test the achievements of the program and progress of your team.
Leadership programs deliver long-term
An effective internal leadership development program should target not only current leaders, but also future leaders. Such a program complements your succession planning through building your organisation’s ability to seamlessly fill key executive vacancies with new leaders from your internal leadership group. If you are not developing your future leaders, you limit your options when vacancies arise, and seriously damage the motivation of people just waiting for an opportunity to grow and contribute.
How a program works
A leadership program usually includes both group and one-to-one coaching work. It's intense and transformational. We usually undertake team or individual performance assessments or, if needed, organisational surveys that can help target the approach. An effective program might be designed more around the team or individual level, depending on the issues and challenges identified as a result of this analysis and the input from the program sponsor, leaders and team members.
Programs are typically run over a period of between 3 and 6 months depending on factors such as urgency, staff availability, the available budget, and program goals.
Leadership – where performance really matters
Leadership performance matters more than performance at other levels, as the impact of what a leader does cascades across and outside the business.
To improve leadership performance, you first need to assess or benchmark it.
Performance evaluation is tricky enough at any level, but how do you assess the performance of the people at the top?
When it’s positive it’s relatively easy to identify that. If it’s sub-par, it can be harder to pick up exactly where the shortfalls are occurring. Boards are often not close to daily operations and can find it difficult to objectively and comprehensively assess the performance of a CEO. The same can apply to top leaders assessing their key managers.
More is needed than just anecdotal evidence, business performance against KPIs, or individual views.
In the case of a CEO or MD, this means making a full assessment of that leader’s performance as seen by board/council members plus by direct reports and peers or stakeholders. The same can apply for leaders at the next levels and further down in larger organisations. One useful solution is a structured 360-degree approach.
A 360° review process incorporates response information from “all around” the individual.
When you want to implement a 360° processes for senior leaders, executives and managers, you want to be confident that you are using services that are objective, reliable and valid.
We provide a range of tools and options to this process, including:
- A 360 tool based on assessing Emotional Intelligence – the EQi 2.0
- A 360 tool based on assessing Transformational Leadership – the MLQ.
- Designing a fully customised 360 based on existing measures such as organisational values, KPIs and objectives
Leadership Growth Program
For Managers and Executives – an intense challenging new program with a mix of group sessions and one-to-one coaching.
A typical structure consists of:
- 3 group sessions – Introduction, Intensive, Optimise. Share your leadership development path with other committed people from a range of organisations, or form a group from your own organisation. Guest speakers. Typical group size 6-10.
- 3 customised personal coaching sessions over a 2 month term.
- Personal profiling, typically using Team Management Profile and EQi2 to benchmark your management style and all-important ‘soft skills’.
- Option of team performance profiling for an intact team from one organisation (additional fee).
- Coaching goals set; goals that inspire, motivate and activate; Projects and implementation actions; Access to online forms and resources.
- A high impact program that is demanding, confrontational where needed, and highly enjoyable – it stimulates a giant leap in terms of leadership performance.
New understanding of leadership style. What it takes to be a transformational leader. Highly enhanced self-awareness. Improved capacity to manage self. Improved ability to influence others. Focus on goals and outcomes for success. Dedication to customer satisfaction.
For new Team Leaders and Managers, taking on the role effectively can require ‘upgrades’ in key areas of how they manage themselves and others.
We, probably like you, have seen it all - including the challenge for new managers after a shuffle when the team they step in to manage includes their own former manager.
For some new Team Leaders and Managers, taking on the role can require a real makeover in areas including identity, capability, beliefs and behaviours .... while for others the need may be a good introduction to some of the fundamentals of management.
The step up from being a team member
For the first time that new manager is no longer just one of the team. It means leaving behind past ways of connecting and relating, while building a new style - as manager.
With management comes a whole new level of responsibility. It’s not enough any longer just to be a skilled technical practitioner; the new manager is charged with the setting directions and supporting the performance of others.
Again, perhaps for the first time, the new manager has to establish objectives, allocate work, delegate, and lead the team. It’s a big step, involving many revisions to style, and more difficult without the knowledge and support of a mentor and/or coach. And why would anyone want to make things more difficult for the new manager?
The Coaching supplement
Coaching does not replace mentoring from more senior managers inside the organisation. Ideally, the new manager has access to both.
How a coaching program works with Managers
A customised coaching program might include profiling, using tools such as the Team Management Profile (TMP) and EQi2 to benchmark management style and soft skills. Goals are established related to the development areas we identify, and tied in to the unique challenges of the role and the team. Many new managers need basic introductions to a management skillset included in their coaching program. We include practical development applications that make an immediate difference for them at work.
The outcome is a fast-track to management capability. The gain is multiplied - the new manager and their team are quickly up to speed and ‘kicking goals’. The team is settled, comfortable in the knowledge that their new manager does know their stuff. Performance is what it’s all about, and satisfaction with the new manager from above, below and around is critical in getting them through to that level.
No matter what stage in our career, personal coaching can be beneficial for most of us at one time or another.
Why personal performance coaching?
People take on a personal coaching program when there's a perceived gap between their present and desired styles, behaviours, performance results or satisfaction in their work.
Aside from specific purpose coaching such as leadership or management development, the driver may be that a person’s patterned ways of working have reached their limits, and they're buried in unfinished projects, not achieving their goals, or unhappy in their role.
It could be a matter of specific personal skills needed to address current performance issues.
Sometimes it's a need to develop new strategies to deal more effectively with changes at work.
Customised and standard content
So people come into a personal coaching program for many reasons. As a result personal performance coaching is more customised, and leadership / management coaching follows a more standard program format.
In either case we find some themes are pretty consistent, and these allow us to be efficient in our work, while ensuring we meet individual coaching needs effectively.
How an objective third party helps
Having the services of a trusted, skilled, objective third party can help us achieve a new perspective on life – within the workplace and possibly also outside.
This support can be also vital when staff are considering or experiencing transitions in location, career, role or other aspects of life.
The benefits are more than personal
An organisation’s success is based on the performance of its employees. In a personal coaching program we focus on the links between individual performance and the organisation’s strategy – helping the individual meet whatever performance challenges they are facing.
Personalised coaching is sometimes the key in enabling individuals to either deliver in their current role, or take the steps to their next position.
In either case, the joint goals of a personal coaching program involve working towards positive outcomes for both the organisation and the individual.
Individual performance coaching
Sometimes good people get stuck. This is where an individual coaching program can help. Again it’s that great formula for success, diagnose, build recognition of the issues and challenges, and get to work addressing them. Personal growth is the key to improving performance. A good coaching process will also quickly identify when a person doesn’t have either the capacity or the willingness to do the job. We can assist this with tools such as EI, personality profiling and delving beneath the surface to identify where the key leverage points are.
Naturally, Atwork also brings you an extensive range of other leadership products and programs, management advice, performance coaching, and introductory management development workshops. So when you've made the decision that it's time to build high performance leadership across your organisation... get in touch. To read more, check out our article on High Performance Organisations.
What our clients say...
“The results to date have not only met our expectations of the program, but also exceeded them. In the early stages following, we’ve already improved individual management performance, and we have a significantly improved leadership team ... it’s already become a team that works more effectively together, focused around a vision and our key common goals”. CEO