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ATD Blog

Closer Look at the Executive Coaching Process

Monday, March 15, 2021
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The coach-client relationship development process focuses on clear goals and specific desired expectations that both parties have been confidentially defined and committed to. All interactive and engaging activities must be built on an honest chemistry of open sharing and valuable feedback. By identifying strengths and aligning them with organizational objectives, coaching can enhance the leader’s personal self-awareness and guide discoveries for growth.

The executive coaching process is based on seven keys areas.

  • Empower the client by being supportive of driving the use of strengths and special skills. This is building on the self-reflective approach and on the motivation to achieve goals.
  • Help the client find solutions through in-depth insights and understanding of critical issues. This is promoting the discovery of new and different ways to address challenges.
  • Enable the client to gain insights into new technologies and consumer product trends. This is to drive free thinking that builds on flexibility and adaptability to changes.
  • Drive the client to handle team challenges along with open and authentic connections. This is to accelerate organizational performance improvements and successes.
  • Grow the client to maximize communication messages with clarity and value. This is to find ways to overcome personal weaknesses and enhance information flow.
  • Assist the client to gain and evaluate constructive feedback for development actions. This is to identify and deepen learning and growth opportunities.
  • Support the client to secure critical business performance progress and outcomes. This is to help drive the importance of holding others accountable.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) has established ethical guidelines for coaching engagements. The interactive process must have the coach and client commit to respectful and ethical standards. The coach must accept the vulnerability and challenges of the client as well as build client self-responsibility and accountability. And the coach must always maintain an objective approach along with competent practices.

Critical for the coach-client relationships is the obligation to maintain integrity and trustworthiness in all connection discussions and activities. Integrity is the foundation to the trust, honesty, and discoveries in the coaching relationship. Confidentiality is a must with all issues and information. Open sharing helps drive a positive relationship, yet can be terminated if things get off track or unfocused. Key is that all coaching sessions are prepared for and driven by both individuals.

As per Gerard Egan’s skilled helper model, the coaching process flow has three stages:

Stage 1: Current Picture (What’s going on?)

  • Gaining an understanding, tuning in, and active listening
  • Reflect and respond

Stage 2: Preferred Picture (What’s needed?)

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  • Clarification of concerns and checking understanding
  • Probing and summarizing

Stage 3: Forward Picture (What’s needed?)

  • Testing reality, focusing on changes, and understanding challenge

Also, the coach can apply the GROW model with all leadership coaching conversations.

G: Goal (What do you want?)

  • Purpose of the coach-client relationship and potential personal improvements

R: Reality (Where are you now?)

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  • Current position and goals as well as understanding attributes and strengths
  • Focusing on potential growth

O: Options (What could you do?)

  • Options and possibilities as well as identification of obstacles

W: Will and Wrap-Up (What will you do?)

  • Action steps and commitment

The coach-client relationship and activities will affect individual leadership development, inner self-awareness, and support of unique life changes. It must be an inspiring experience that will maximize personal and professional connections as well as abilities. Leadership competency improvements along with specific talent strengthening can lead to positive and valued outcomes. Trustworthy environments will be grown throughout the process along with career achievements and key strategic performance successes.

The commitment to the coaching experience and focus on the future are based on a level of compassion and loyalty to the coach-client partnership, along with a real openness to honest active listening. Coaching is not a counseling or psychological therapy activity but more of an engagement with an emphasis on targeting continuous personal learning and innovative growth.

About the Author

Paul Fein is an organizational development consultant and certified life coach. As the the managing leader and director of The IDD Leadership Group, he a develops custom-created management development programs. Connect with Paul on LinkedIn. 

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