What is Executive/Leadership Coaching?

Executive coaching transforms more than individuals. It transforms organizations, both in terms of the bottom line and the culture. Coaching enhances the impact of executives, increases their speed in becoming effective within the organization, and improves overall job satisfaction and retention. Coaching is one of the principal tools that businesses use to develop their people. It is an especially useful tool at the executive level, since busy executives have few other options for continued development.

Executive/leadership coaching is a collaborative, confidential and one-to-one relationship between a coach and an organizational leader. During coaching, the goal is to identify, develop and maximize the leader’s potential. The International Coach Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Executive coaches help leaders accomplish professional objectives via on-going, mutual dialogue that utilizes discovery, goal-setting and strategic planning to achieve extraordinary results. The coaching process is growth and results-oriented, with the principal focus on achieving excellent outcomes by enhancing personal, professional and organizational performance.

Why Hire an Executive/Leadership Coach?

Executive/leadership coaching results in personal and professional achievement—which results in a positive impact on the business or organization. Coaching focuses on supplementing and refocusing a leader’s skills and/or accelerating the learning curve for recently promoted executives or high-potential executives. Coaching is designed to create greater personal awareness and enhanced professionalism, resulting in synergies for both the executive and the organization.

Coaching is built on both awareness and practice. A coach will help you examine what you want to achieve and how you are going about it. When do you call a coach? Generally, anytime leaders are willing to grow and develop personally and professionally, which may be prompted by the following types of life events:

  • Getting passed over or preparing for an important promotion.
  • Getting an assignment to lead an important new project.
  • Experiencing a crisis of confidence in a new leadership role.
  • Desiring to enhance your existing set of managerial skills.
  • Desiring to explore new career paths.
  • Experiencing a gap in knowledge, skills or behaviors.
  • Desiring a change in direction.

Who Hires an Executive/Leadership Coach?

Executive coaches do not just work with executives. Most of those in the executive coaching profession generally work across management and executive/leadership ranks, focusing on the issues that come with managing people. However, executive coaches also work with any professional or person seeking personal or professional growth.

A coach is essential when professionals want to achieve great results in executive and/or leadership development.  Professionals hire coaches to accelerate their careers, get help with making decisions, cultivate a presence and achieve self-awareness.  Executives, professionals and other leaders who have approached a “crossroads” in their personal and/or professional life and who desire to make significant changes—but are unsure of how to make the changes—will benefit tremendously from working with a coach. Professionals seeking coaching services include the following examples:

  • Executives
  • Corporate Leaders
  • Senior Professionals
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Accountants
  • Attorneys
  • Medical/Dental Professionals
  • Business Owners

How do Coaches Help Professionals?

Coaches provide honest and unfiltered feedback to clients – which is generally difficult to find at the highest levels of an organization. Through conversations with the professional and the professional’s direct reports, peers, customers and managers, coaches obtain a more complete understanding of the professional. For mid-level professionals, a coach helps identify what need to be accomplished to reach the executive level. Coaches also focus on interpersonal skills by helping professionals communicate and network more effectively.

What Are the Benefits of Executive Coaching?

Coaching is designed to change behavior. Coaching is about transformation and sustainable results; it is focused on the human ability to grow via identifying blind spots, exploring untapped potential, developing action plans, and practicing new habits/behaviors. It is about “reinventing” oneself, creating new goals and pursuing new futures. It is about living one’s calling and purpose in life.

Some of the benefits experienced by professionals receiving coaching include:

  • Clarifying causes of behavior and creating a strategy for long-term change.
  • Realizing better communication between leaders and their teams.
  • Unleashing high-potential capacity.
  • Leveraging existing strengths and improving performance.
  • Creating an executive strategy with an action plan and accountability to help executives to stay “on track.”
  • Adopting and/or reinforcing executive leadership competencies crucial to the executive’s and the organization’s success.
  • Developing management and leadership skills/practices that improve organizational performance.
  • Enhancing and maximizing career planning and development with an action-oriented plan.
  • Creating better work/life balance.
  • Increasing confidence and quality of life.
  • Handling stress more effectively.
  • Improving individual performance.
  • Improving client service and competitiveness.
  • Improving bottom-line results.

What is the ROI on Executive Coaching?

One of the critical concerns that arise from leaders and organizations is related to the overall effectiveness of coaching, especially in terms of measuring the benefits against the cost. Measuring the benefits of coaching can be assessed not only subjectively through inquiry of coached leaders and organizations, but also via a calculated Return on Investment (ROI).

Several studies have been performed with respect to assessing the ROI for executive coaching. These studies have shown that the ROI for executive coaching produces both monetary and intangible benefits.

  • A 2001 study reported that coaching produced a 529% return on investment and significant intangible benefits to the business. Including the financial benefits from employee retention boosted overall ROI to 788%. 1
  • Another 2001 study reported an ROI of 5.7 times the initial investment in coaching. 2
  • A 2006 study of executive coaching resulted in a return of 689% above the cost and opportunity costs of the coaching program. 3
  • A 2007 study concluded that follow-up coaching, combined with a supervisor training program, increased productivity by an astounding 88%. 4
  • A 2009 International Coach Federation (ICF) Global Coaching Client Study reported the median coaching ROI to be 700%.

1    MetrixGlobal, “Executive Briefing:  Case Study on the Return Investment of Executive Coaching”, November 2, 2001

2   McGovern J, Lindemann M, et al. “Maximizing the Impact of Executive Coaching: Behavioral Change, Organizational Outcomes, and Return on Investment”. The Manchester Review, 2001:6

3   Vernita Parker-Wilkins, (2006) “Business impact of executive coaching: demonstrating monetary value”, Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 38 Iss: 3, pp.122 – 127

4   Olivero, Bane & Kopelmann; Public Personnel Management; Washington; Winter 1997

5  Source: ICF Global Coaching Client Study, Executive Summary, April 2009, in consultation with PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Association Resource Centre Inc.

6  Source: International Coach Federation and Linkage, Inc, “Analysis of the 1999 Survey on Coaching in Corporate America:, November 22, 1999

What Are the Differences Between Executive Coaching, Life Coaching and Career Coaching?

Executive coaching focuses on leveraging the productivity and effectiveness of an individual executive or a small group of executives who work together on common goals.

Life coaching focuses on assisting individuals identify and achieve their dreams.

Career coaching focuses on assisting individuals or professionals with identifying their talents, skills, personality profile, and inherent passions to discover and pursue a fulfilling career path.

The coaching process for all three types of coaching is similar in terms of engaging in a forward-moving and solution-focused experience by defining objectives, establishing outcomes, practicing new behavior, and tracking progress.

What is the average time frame for executive coaching?

Generally, executive coaching takes 6 to 12 months of 45-minute weekly appointments (approximately two to three sessions per month). Clients should expect a minimum of 6 months as it generally takes that long to identify the business/growth objective(s), develop measureable outcomes, and design a strategy for resolution.

Where do the coaching sessions take place?

Coaching sessions generally take place over the phone. They can also be conducted at the client’s place of business or via Skype.

What makes David’s coaching unique relative to other coaches?

Drawing on two decades of experience as a practicing CPA and corporate team lead, David Dassler is your partner on the journey to life and leadership change. As a “big picture” thinker and certified Administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, David guides you in reaching for new heights in personal and workplace achievement. Fusing scientific data with his instinctive passion to help people, he develops rewarding insights into client personalities, cognitive styles and leadership attributes.