This article is part of The Ascender, the Highrise platform for articles and resources.

Goals And Objectives of Executive Coaching

Andrew Langat
December 5, 2022
An executive coach in a session with her trainees.
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Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others - Jack Welch.

Executive coaching has grown in leaps and bounds in the past two decades. It's now worth an estimated $14 billion in the United States alone. Executive coaching is used as a management tool by organizations looking to leverage their executives' existing strengths and improve their leadership capabilities in addressing business challenges.

A coaching session can occur through personal meetings or virtual coaching engagements. The latter grew in prominence during the Covid-19 epidemic, and proponents argue this could be the model moving forward.

Executive leadership coaching sessions are not cheap but are well worth the investment. According to one study, the return on investment(ROI) is 788%. It is no wonder that top executives in Fortune 500 Companies work with executive coaches to realize specific outcomes.

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Who Is an Executive Coach?

An executive coach is a specialized individual usually trained to optimize organizational leadership performance. They are accomplished individuals in their own right, with a proven record of performance in specific industries or past coaching experiences.

An executive coach usually forms a coaching relationship with a client for six to eighteen months to realize significant, specific, and measurable behavioral changes to leverage strengths, rather than correct deficiencies.

The characteristics of a great executive coach include the following:

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • A life-long learner keen on improving their coaching engagements
  • Goal-setting skills that lead to the client achieving goals
  • The ability to maintain confidentiality
  • The ability to give direct and honest feedback
  • Having built a reputation with a positive track record
  • Having relevant life or industrial practice experience
  • The ability to nurture strong relationships with coaching clients
  • A high degree of self-awareness

A leadership coach may be sought within or outside an organization. A coach with an outside perspective is preferable because:

  • An insider naturally has a biased view of the organization and may have difficulty objectively seeing the situation of the leader and the team.
  • An insider may not feel that they can be candid in advising an executive out of the possible fear of victimization.

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What Is Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching is a leadership development plan aimed at senior leaders, such as company executives, to help them become better leaders.

In the book Executive Coaching for Results: The Definitive Guide to Developing Organizational Leaders, Brian O. Underhill et al. argue that:

Executive coaching is one leader, one coach. The purpose is the development of the leader’s skills, and executive coaching is intended for organizational leaders (whether or not they are in actual leadership positions). It doesn’t matter if the company is large or small; for profit or nonprofit; private, governmental, or publicly held —the purpose remains the same.

The executive coaching process is a collaborative process with commitment from both parties to assess circumstances, strengths, weaknesses, and developmental opportunities.

A red paper ship leading two other blue ships

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What Are Executive Coaching Goals and Objectives?

Executive coaching goals vary depending on individual or organization objectives for sourcing a coaching relationship. John Mattone, in his book The Executive Coach's Handbook: Inside Secrets from the World's Top Executive Coach, says:

The people at the C-level set the strategy, make important decisions, and ensure operations align with strategic goals and values. Leaders at the C-level have different leadership expectations than other company leaders. Therefore their coaching needs are not the same as those of other company leaders.

What Are the Three Key Goals of Coaching?

According to literature from different sources, the predominate goals of executive coaching are:

  • Developing self-awareness
  • Overcoming behaviors that limit personal or organizational success
  • Building skills, especially for high-potential employees, to support an organization's dynamic needs

The goals of executive coaching can be viewed from the perspective of individuals or organizations.

When Do Individuals Use Executive coaching?

Individuals hire a leadership coach in the following situations:

  • To improve leadership skills. Leadership is a continuous learning process that executive coaches can refine. Areas that can be improved include managing uncertainty, developing goals & clear vision, and self-management.
  • To fine-tune a skill set. This is because a leader can be gifted in a given skill set but still fail in implementation. An executive coach can assist in overcoming this mental barrier, for example, by exploring how to find the right people to recruit or discussing how to implement actionable plans.
  • To further develop inner skills. Solidifying inner skills can go a long way in building confidence in leadership ability. A coach can refine skills such as emotional intelligence, self-regulation, empathy, flexible thinking, etc.
  • To enhance self-reflection. Self-reflection is about gaining clarity on where you are as an individual and your role in an organization. In this process, you get to examine your assumptions. This clearly defines where you want to move next and what to focus on.
  • To enhance social skills. Great social skills are the cornerstone of relationship building. They help in leadership and reduce the possibility of social awkwardness. A coach will assist with the best strategies for reducing anxiety, shyness, or fear.

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When Do Organizations Use Executive Coaching?

Organizations in the following situations most often use executive coaching:

  • When a leader assumes a new leadership role. In this case, an organization may organize a coaching engagement to ensure that they succeed in their new position. This is particularly important when the leader is new to the organization.
  • To fast-track high-potential employees into leadership positions. Such employees deliver strong results and tend to show leadership traits that can be refined through executive coaching sessions.
  • For executives with below-par performance. When an executive fails to achieve performance expectations, a company may pay for coaching to help them improve performance. This is especially important if the executive has certain traits that can be refined. Moreover, it is cheaper to take this route than to recruit a new executive.
  • Assist an executive in enhancing certain skills to have a competitive advantage that the company can leverage to attain certain results.
  • As part of succession planning. Leadership coaching is recommended as part of succession planning. This enables organizations to create leadership pipelines ensuring a competent person leads at the right time.
  • When there are mergers or acquisitions. These can be unsettling times for leaders and their teams. A leadership coach is recommended to help calm the waters and ensure effective leadership is prepared to realize common goals.
  • To retain high-potential executives. Some companies use executive coaching as an incentive to retain high-potential executives. This creates a win-win solution for an organization and the executive.
  • To complete other leadership initiative efforts such as coaching and mentoring.

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

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How Highrise Can Help

At Highrise, we understand how executive coaching engagement can help individuals and organizations achieve goals. We also understand that leadership is more than just becoming a manager. It requires a multi-dimensional approach for proper leadership presence.

With our Leadership Impact Program, we are expanding the definition of leadership to meet the realities of the modern workplace for better business results.

We help you understand the following: what holds you back, your authentic self, how to maximize your strengths, how to improve communication, and how to successfully navigate conflict.

Working with one of our skilled executive coaches, you will better how to: negotiate, manage your team, listen & influence, give & receive feedback, manage up, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Highrise is built for you. Reach out today if you are a growth-minded professional looking for contemporary leadership development.

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Andrew Langat
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Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.