Working with an executive coach can have a huge payoff for leaders as they develop, improve their skills and stretch in new areas. Like anything in life, coaching is as much about what you give as what you get back.
Throughout my career, I’ve acted as an executive coach, working with leaders to tap into their potential, set and achieve goals and transition into new roles, while also learning how to coach others. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot from my own coaches and mentors.
Creating a strong foundation of trust is the first step in any coaching relationship. A great executive coach is a thinking partner, someone you can talk openly with who provides support, guidance and an objective viewpoint, while also helping you problem solve and explore new ideas to reach your goals. Building this type of trust with a coach can only be established over time, gradually, through a series of successful meetings. It takes commitment, hard work and confidentiality on both sides.
An example of a successful coaching relationship I developed was with a rising executive at Amazon. As a bright, ambitious and high potential leader, he operated at lightning speed to deliver results. This could be a towering strength and opportunity, but also could be challenging when he moved faster than his team.
We met regularly and developed a framework to have candid discussions around his approach as a new leader taking on a global team. Among the areas we covered were best practices for navigating a new environment, and various leadership skills he wanted to develop, grounded with specific examples and insights. By building a foundation of trust, he was able to leverage our coaching sessions to better navigate, approach and influence the organization, while successfully leading his team to reach and exceed their goals.
Getting the most out of executive coaching takes both emotional IQ and investment. In order to grow from good to great, you have to be willing to invest time to not only amplify and develop your strengths, but identify and address potential blind spots.
Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your executive coaching experience:
Stepping into any leadership position takes courage, grit, motivation and emotional intelligence. Executive coaching can make a huge difference in the trajectory of your career if you embrace it and put in the hard work to stay humble and challenge yourself to improve, while also seeking out new mentors and learning opportunities.