Working with a coach can help many executives reach new heights in their careers. What many c-suite employees may not recognize, however, is that it's up to the coachee to make sure he or she is ready to tackle the coaching process head-on. Having a prime mindset going into a coaching partnership makes the best use of both the executive's and the coach's time.
So, how can executives know when they're ready for coaching?
First and foremost, executives and members of the C-suite should be honest with themselves about whether they're ready to put in the extra effort to truly reach their potential.
Acknowledging that a coach would be beneficial may feel like admitting defeat or incompetence; in reality, it's anything but. In fact, it's a strong move that demonstrates maturity and awareness that an executive is driven and wants to build his or her already stellar skills to greater heights. Often, executives already know what they want to do for their companies; coaching simply helps them get there.
Flexibility is another strong indicator that a C-suite employee is ready for coaching. When an executive recognizes they have potential and is already actively trying to strengthen their proficiency in certain areas, he or she is probably ready for a coach.
Sometimes, people need an outside force helping them strategize on how to meet certain goals and nudging them to reach the finish line. In the same vein, executives should be open to constructive criticism and vulnerability. Often, coaching involves digging deep and sharing insecurities, failures and fears with another person. Unless those inner thoughts are verbalized, it's hard to tackle them and overcome them.
Flexibility is also a strong indicator that a C-suite employee is ready for coaching. Someone who is willing to try new things and build up existing skill sets with innovative tactics is a prime candidate for coaching. If a leader consistently feels that he or she cannot make decisions well or is not ready and willing to admit when a poor decision has been made, this may demonstrate an inability to do what is best for the company, co-workers and profitability.
Related: Meet our executive coaches
If an executive is unsure whether he or she is ready for coaching, it might help to perform a quick assessment of current projects and teams.
Employees who feel trusted, respected and happy are likely working with executives that encourage their growth and appreciate their hard work. This is a great foundation for a profitable company. Thriving organizations typically encourage and enhance the growth of their workers.
Leadership affects employee output. If an executive finds him or herself struggling to bring out the best in team members, it's probably time for a coach. Being able to become the optimal version of oneself is the key to helping each team member meet his or her own personal goals, and thus the goals of the company. Coaches can help executives complement their expertise and experience with quality leadership skills that will boost team performance.
Coaching isn't a quick fix, and it doesn't offer immediate gratification. Executives should be aware that they'll have to pull their own weight in the coach-coachee partnership. That's why coaches will often sit down for a one-on-one conversation with potential clients to discuss goals before beginning any sort of coaching regimen. If an executive arrives at that meeting with an awareness of what needs work, several long-term goals and a willingness to learn, they could be ready to pursue their potential.
Executives interested in coaching should start by asking themselves these three questions:
- Am I a devoted leader, team player and individual ready to fulfill my highest potential?
- Can I be honest with myself and a coach about areas where I can improve and want to grow?
- Do I think about my long-term goals and how to accomplish them on a regular basis?
Are You Ready for Business Coaching?
If you're prepared to put in the hard work to build your leadership skills to new heights, and you want a partner to help you get there, you could be ready for an executive coach. Visit our Business Coaching page to learn more about how we can help you make a greater impact at work, at home and in your community.
This is an updated version of an earlier post, originally published August 3, 2015.