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

Working with an Executive Coach: A Guide to Unlocking Your Leadership Potential

Andrew Langat
January 19, 2024
Read our case studies document and learn how Highrise helped other individuals to improve their professionnal skills and careers.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Enrolling in executive coaching is the perfect remedy for growth-minded individuals aiming to improve their leadership skills and personal growth or identify blind spots plus more.

As a professional, you may want to unlock your leadership potential and climb up the ladder to executive positions; this will require continuous leadership development. And one of the ways to do it is through executive coaching.

Let's explore how executive coaching can unlock your potential, the benefits of executive leadership coaching, exercises for executive leadership development, how an executive coach can help you unlock your leadership potential, and considerations to make when choosing an executive coach.

<div id ="one">

How Can an Executive Coach Unlock A Leader's Potential?

It's incredible how a little push can unlock someone's potential. For example, in professional sports, an athlete may perform below par, but with an experienced coach, they can achieve things that look impossible for ordinary people.

For example, the great Michael Jordan credited Phil Jackson for teaching him how to calm his emotions in high-pressure situations, enabling him to perform optimally.

Similarly, an executive presence or an executive team within an entire organization can propel growth and unlock leaders' potential by propelling them toward peak performance.

Executive Coaches can put leaders through robust development plans, assessments, and conversations to pinpoint areas that may require development.

But how can they unlock a leader's potential?

They can do the following:

1. Fostering a Strong Mentality.

One of the biggest challenges for leaders—at all levels of the organization — is the wrong mindset, specifically having a fixed mindset(believing there is only one way of doing things). This potentially hinders leadership potential and success and affects a company's bottom line.

Fortunately, with executive coaching, a coach will review how a leader looks at the bigger picture, challenge their limiting beliefs, and instill a solid mentality to unlock them to their best self.

When there is a shift in mindset, it encourages leaders to embrace continuous growth and development, set better goals, and develop coping mechanisms that ultimately sustain success in their fields.

2. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses.

As a leader, how well do you know yourself? Are you self-aware? Do you know your strengths or weaknesses? Do you have hidden biases?

Without understanding self-awareness, the answer to these questions might not come easy.

These questions can gauge your capability as an effective leader or a leader who can benefit from executive coaching.

An executive coach will help you with critical thinking, identify blind spots, and discover hidden biases that can unknowingly hinder your decision-making and relationships. A leadership coach will address them and pave the way for effective leadership.

Another aspect an executive coach can fine-tune is your self-awareness. The coach can use feedback, open dialogue, and assessments to help the leader identify strengths and weaknesses. Awareness is essential for leaders to understand their leadership style and how it impacts others.

3. Motivate Ambition.

We all have fire in our hearts, but sometimes, it requires something to ignite that ambition, and an executive coach could be that motivation.

Moreover, we might be motivated by the wrong things that could hold us back.

Professional coaching will help leaders set goals and the right motivation for realization. The coach will help define the leader's long-term and short-term aspirations and formulate a development plan to achieve professional goals. This empowers them to move beyond mere intentions and into measurable progress.

The right coach will encourage a leader to step up from their comfort zones, push beyond their limits, and challenge complex situations. This fosters the right mindset for leaders, making them courageous to take more meaningful risks.

4. Equip Leaders with Tools for Effective Leadership.

At the end of a coaching session, a leader will want additional skills to navigate office politics, make meaningful changes, and achieve goals. Therefore, they must spend time with the right coach to acquire some soft skills to have the tools to be effective.

Performance coaching will help leaders develop skills by honing their communication, delegation, and listening skills, mastering emotional intelligence, and performance management. Also, they coach specific training areas to equip them with skills to identify and overcome leadership weaknesses.

An excellent executive coach will help a leader build resilience and become dynamic. Challenges in a workspace may take many forms, and with the proper training, the leader will develop mechanisms to cope, manage stress, and navigate any roadblocks that may arise.

5. Foster Systems for Growth.

Many executive coaches with adequate coaching experience are good listeners, and they provide a safe space free from judgment where their clients(leaders) can share their thoughts. This allows them to explore the fears, vulnerabilities, and uncertainty that the leaders may have.

This system lays a foundation for genuine growth, where senior c suite executives or emerging leaders can have their say, the coach's pain points areas of focus, and the session can take place. For Example, A doctor cannot diagnose without knowing what the patient is suffering from. The same goes for executive coaching.

Additionally, executive coaches offer encouragement and demand accountability. Proper coaches like Highrise's, accredited by the International Coaching Federation, are accountable. They will hold their clients responsible for their commitment by developing a system to motivate them to stay on track.

<div id ="two">

What Are the Benefits of Executive Coaching?

Benefits of executive coaching

Executive coaching can have a lasting impact on your career. A study by the International Coaching Federation established that individuals who took part in executive coaching programs reported a 70% increase in individual performance, a 50% increase in team performance, and a 48% increase in team performance.

It's the ideal investment in reaching your long-term goals and putting yourself in the best possible position to succeed in your industry.

Here are some benefits of executive coaching.

1. Enhances Professional Growth and Development

An effective executive coaching program can accelerate professional growth. Leaders can learn their strengths and weaknesses by working closely with a seasoned executive coach, allowing for professional and personal development.

This approach enables leaders to surpass their potential and navigate challenges effectively. A great executive coach will help you develop a part or plan to maximize career development.

2. Enhanced Self-Awareness.

Self-awareness is "knowing oneself" and is essential for any leader who aspires to succeed. Executive coaching can help leaders learn about their strengths and weaknesses, deeply understand their leadership styles, make better decisions, and understand trigger points to avoid misunderstanding.

Greater self-awareness empowers leaders to make informed choices, foster meaningful relationships, and lead authentically, which can be enhanced with proper leadership coaching.

3. Improved Decision-Making.

Decision-making can make or break a leader in a leadership role, and for them to achieve success, they have to make critical decisions under pressure. With Executive Coaching, you can sharpen decision-making skills and learn new strategies and ideas to help you make decisions.

A good executive coach will guide you through various scenarios that may need you to make tough but fair decisions and explore perspectives that make you a robust decision-maker.

4. Enhanced Communication Skills.

Successful leaders create a company culture that allows open communication, but this comes from them having communication skills. You, too, can enhance your communication skills with the help of a good coach.

Executive coaching will address your communication challenges, help you articulate your vision, provide constructive feedback, and handle difficult conversations. Enhancing communication skills can strengthen relationships and create a positive company and work culture.

5. Increased Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional intelligence in leadership is one of the core aspects of the fundamentals of leadership that leaders need to learn. An executive coach can shape you to understand and manage your emotions while managing those of others. A Higher emotional intelligence enhances team dynamics and leadership effectiveness.

For more Insight: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership.

<div id ="three">

Why are Leaders Interested in Executive Coaching?

From a first glance, we may see that senior executives are experienced enough and have vast information on various aspects. However, they, too, need some guidance to improve their skills further.

Complacency sets in when the leaders become comfortable with their leadership style. To correct it, an external perspective(for example, an executive coach) can help equip them with the necessary skills to bring innovative ideas to their company.  

C-suite executives tend to pursue professional development and consider the latest research related to their specific industry. However, they don't often keep up-to-date with new ideas concerning leadership in the business world. 

Meanwhile, effective executive coaches keep apprised of the latest studies related to leadership. Plus, they have developed wisdom from the experience of working with a multitude of different people, companies, and industries to provide you with insight into what works and what doesn't. 

Executive coaching is imperative to become a more effective leader, contribute to your organization's success, and improve your job performance.

<div id ="four">

What does one gain from Executive Coaching?

While most people in upper management have had some form of leadership training, a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership does not always work. Executive coaching provides a personalized plan that fits your specific needs. 

While many of the benefits of executive coaching are general, having an external person take a look at your company can help offer personalized and unique insights and ideas for improvement that you wouldn't otherwise get from a generic leadership training course.

An excellent coach will get to know your company and learn more about your leadership style to create a specialized coaching plan for you. 

Want to read more from us? Subscribe to our newsletter to read our latest resources

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

<div id ="five">

How Can Executive Coaching Lead to Leadership Development?

Executive Coaching sessions are designed to achieve the goal of Leadership Development. How exactly can they achieve that?

They can through the following:

1. Alignment and Goal Setting.

The executive coaching process begins with goal setting. Coaches collaborate with leaders to define clear, achievable objectives aligned with organizational goals. This alignment ensures that leadership development contributes directly to the company's success.

An Executive coaching program like business coaching ensures that a leader develops skills to help them stand out in a competitive world, but both parties should have a goal achievement at the same place at the end of the session.

2. Tailored Development Plans.

Business leaders are unique and different in their ideals and strategies and have different needs when taking executive coaching services. Therefore, coaches must create tailor-made development plans based on their growth areas and needs. A customized approach ensures leaders benefit from executive coaching works and sessions.

3. Proper Feedback.

Leaders need to develop soft skills like constructive feedback to achieve career growth. Constructive feedback is essential to a practical coaching style of experience, fostering a culture of continuous leadership improvement.

Additionally, the coaching sessions encourage leaders to reflect on their experiences, facilitating deeper insights into their behaviors and decision-making. When leaders know how to provide constructive feedback, they can guide their teams to success while also receiving criticism.

4. Skill-Building Exercises.

An executive coach helps leaders participate in skill-building exercises to address gaps in their leadership styles. These activities will equip leaders with skills to tackle multiple scenarios and work in a controlled environment. Such exercises will improve your skills and help you navigate realistic leadership instances.

5. Accountability Mechanisms

Leadership development requires commitment and accountability. Executive coaches act as accountability partners, ensuring leaders stay on track with their development plans. Regular check-ins and progress assessments help leaders focus on their goals and make necessary adjustments.

<div id ="six">

When is Executive Coaching Effective?

Executive coaching is effective when an individual is open to learning and change. Moreover, Executive coaching is also very effective for new emerging leaders and future executives just coming into the role, especially at the C-suite level.

A leader unwilling to admit that they have room for improvement, doesn't have a growth mindset, or is resistant to advice won't find coaching effective. 

However, providing your coach with an honest and open image of your company is a huge key to success. If you aren't willing to admit your shortcomings, the coach won't be able to provide the correct advice to effect change.

To incite positive change, you must open up the coach at the most basic level. Otherwise, the coach can't help you become the leader you could be or help your organization thrive in all the ways it could.

You also have to go into the coaching experience with an open mind and a willingness to receive and follow advice. 


<div id ="seven">

Why hire an Executive Coach?

Hiring an executive coach will help you reach your leadership goals faster while staying accountable to do what's necessary to meet goals and provide a different perspective. An executive coach will ask deep questions to help uncover issues and solve leadership development challenges. 

Having a non-stakeholder look at your experience within the company from the outside can reveal issues that someone closer to the company may not be able to see. It also creates a sense of self-awareness, allowing you to see your company through new eyes.

In addition to providing learning opportunities related to leadership, a coaching conversation also includes accountability. Long-term, ongoing support can help top leaders stay on track and meet long-term goals to go with the short-term goals already accomplished.

Ultimately, executive coaching can be one of the most effective ways for a company to develop its leadership skills from the top down. The effects trickle down from the top to the bottom of the company, and the effects are felt from the executives to the employees.

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

<div id ="eight">

Why Hire an Executive Coach from Highrise?

If you look forward to working with an executive coach who will make you a better professional and enable you to become a better leader, Highrise Coaching Services is your best bet. Our executive coaching process is designed with you in mind and will ultimately make you a better professional.

Our certified coaches are selected for their experience and expertise in executive coaching, plus more. All our coaches are ICF-certified, with over 2,000 hours of client-facing experience.

Sign up to experience the world-class coaching relationship that will bring the best out of you.

Thank you! Your Downloads is here:
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Andrew Langat
Facebook logoTwitter logo
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.