Is executive coaching important to organizational growth? The answer is a resounding yes. But the extent of this relationship might surprise you.
Executive coaches become safe and confidential sounding boards to the leaders they coach, and everyone needs that. As an executive, one cannot typically use colleagues or subordinates to vent or share confidential thoughts, and spouses get tired of being that sounding board since they are not equipped or qualified to offer support.
Successful executives are wise to invest in a coach. The coach possesses the experience, and it’s the skills and the support of an effective coach that helps their executive clients achieve the best results.
Executive Coaching for Organizational Growth
Yes, executive coaching is important to organizational growth, and it is a growing field. According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), in 2019, there were 71,000 coaches, which was an increase of 33% from four years earlier. In 2023, the prediction is close to 95,000 coaches exist.
Again, according to the ICF estimates, the number of leaders using coaching services has risen by almost half (46%), with some countries reporting double to triple that increase.
Growth in coaching services results from organizations recognizing that more effective leadership is critical to sustaining productivity, profitability, customer service, teamwork and ultimately, corporate culture.
The pandemic did make coaching more accessible with the popularity of virtual coaching, and that trend is predicted to continue enabling coach and client to be situated almost anywhere in the world.
Coaches challenge and encourage. The coach’s role is not to sugar coat performance and decisions but rather help their coachees come to their own conclusions regarding performance and behaviour improvement through a series of questions, referred to as question-based coaching.
What Makes for a Positive Coaching Relationship?
According to Harvard Business Review, a successful coaching relationship should have the following ingredients:
- The executive must be highly motivated to change and/or improve.
- The coach and the executive need to be compatible, sharing mutual respect.
- There is a strong commitment from the organization’s leadership to invest in the executive.
- There is an attitude of flexibility to adapt the coaching focus as required.
In today’s business environment, hiring an executive coach is being proactive.
After all, high-performance achievers have a never-ending desire to increase their potential, and they know a coach can help.
Their driven growth mindset may have them working an inordinate number of hours and expecting their subordinates to do the same. They may appear engaged but are distracted while multi-tasking and feeling a sense of chaos. But with the help of an executive coach, they can help find balance and solutions to managing priorities and time.
Working with a coach is a journey and really does not have an end date, even if breaks are taken from coaching. Consider a coach a confidante who shares their outlook based on personal experience and training and offers observations and feedback.
How Executive Coaching Influences Organizational Growth
These observations and feedback related to several areas pertaining to personal and organizational growth, including:
- Work performance
- Job effectiveness
- Career direction
- Organizational design
- Priorities and time management
- Change management
- Strategic planning and execution
- Soft skills development or improvement
- Workplace relationships
Executives are busy decision makers who may not take the time to ask for feedback, or slow down and reflect on how their leadership style may impact their teams. They are often in forward mode to manage their workloads.
The negative impact of a busy professional is not realizing how critical aligning their teams is to ideal execution of corporate direction. A coach can probe and challenge specific leadership behaviors that are critical to achieving important drivers.
The Positive Effects of Executive Coaching on Culture
A recent study by Merrill C. Anderson, Ph.D., of the effects of executive coaching indicated coaching produced a 788% return on investment (ROI). Manchester Inc. surveyed 100 executives, and their research showed that a company’s investment in executive coaching realized an average ROI of almost six times the cost of the coaching.
Finally, according to the ICF, 86% of organizations surveyed saw an ROI on their coaching, several and 96% of those who had an executive coach said they would repeat the process again. Tangible factors include higher productivity, higher levels of overall performance, lower costs, revenue and sales growth, higher employee retention, and higher engagement of employees.
There are Benefits for Leaders, not Just Companies
Experienced executives do not complain, admit defeat, or typically vent to others. Having a qualified coach provides an excellent sounding board to do so. Venting remains confidential so a variety of scenarios and frustrations can be discussed, and even the strongest of leaders can benefit from an outside perspective.
Often executives are far removed from how they are perceived, and a good coach can explore, challenge, and discuss current actions and how they may be viewed or accepted by subordinate and departments.
There are also intangible factors for executive coaching. These include more confidence for those being coached (even leaders can benefit from increased confidence), improved communication and stronger employee and peer-to-peer relationships. The reality is if one does not utilize a coach, who else is there. Perhaps a family member or spouse, who are the least equipped to listen objectively and provide feedback.
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
It is not surprising Executive Coaching is on the rise, and organizations see the benefits of having programs in place that encourage professional growth and development, humility and vulnerable leadership, and a strong succession culture. If one could lead effectively without feedback and support, executive coaches would not exist.