How executive coaching can help you in your business
by Andrew Cooke, Growth & Profit Solutions
Executive coaching is a next evolutionary step in the development of leaders. Historically, leadership development was largely focused on participants’ involvement in training programs. These programs were all based upon one completely invalid assumption—if they understand, they will do.
In the United States the diet industry is worth about $59 billion per year, with over 50% of Americans on some type of diet – yet 95% of dieters fail. That means the market just keeps churning: people lose weight, gain it again, and go right back to the diet industry to search for another solution. Everyone who buys diet books makes the same assumption as everyone who goes to training programs: If I understand how to go on a diet, I will do it.
You don’t lose weight by reading diet books. You lose weight by actually going on a diet—and sticking with it. You don’t improve yourself by attending training programs, you only improve by actually applying what you learn on a consistent basis.
Extensive research involving more than 86,000 participants in leadership development programs from eight major corporations found that if leaders attend training programs, but then don’t discuss what they learn with co-workers and follow up to ensure continued progress—they improve no more than by random chance. In other words, they might just as well have been watching sitcoms all day! Those who do apply what they have learned do get better. Yet many don’t!
Why do so many leaders attend training programs and then end up making no real change? The answer is seldom because of a lack of values or a lack of intelligence. The reason why many leaders don’t apply what they learn in traditional training when they’re “back on the job” is that they are buried in work. Leaders in major corporations today work harder than leaders have worked in the past 50 years. They feel trapped in an endless sea of e-mails, voice mails, and requests. They worry about global competition. The job security that they may have felt in the past is a distant memory. They barely have time to meet the minimum requirements of their jobs—much less focus on their long-term development as leaders.
Executive coaches can help leaders bridge the huge gap between understanding what to do and actually doing it. Your coach is a person who sticks with you over time and makes sure that you do what you know you should do, but have a tendency to “put off until tomorrow”—a tomorrow that (without help) may never come.
So why do CEOs prefer to work with external executive coaches rather than coach their leaders themselves? There are four good reasons:
- They don’t like dealing with behavioral issues, so their motivation is very low;
- They lack the ability to coach well
- They lack time
- It is more efficient and effective to have an objective outsider involved, rather than take up a leader’s valuable time which is in short supply
In today’s corporate world, the stakes have gone up, the pressure has gone up, and the need to develop great leaders has gone up. The time available for executives to do this has diminished. Coaching can help high-potential leaders become great leaders! In doing so, coaching helps you to develop the skills, capabilities, and bandwidth of your people to lead, manage and develop others.
Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.