Why do you need an Executive Coach?
" Every famous athlete, every famous performer, has somebody who is a coach. Somebody who can watch what they're doing and say, 'Is that what you really meant, and did you really do that thing? [They] give them perspective. The one thing that people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really really helps." - Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was initially reluctant to use a coach but soon realized the benefit Coaching has to offer.
Understanding Professional Coaching Let's start right from the top! One may wonder why someone at the top of their game needs a coach - Eric Schmidt of Google had a coach, Ken Allen from DHL had a Coach, and so did Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Why would these geniuses need someone to Coach - What do they need to learn that they didn't already know? To find that, first, let's understand what Coaching entails.
The popular and traditional understanding of a 'Coach' is somewhat delusive - 'Coach' is most popularly used as a term to address someone who imparts technical knowledge. Hence you appoint a Coach to teach someone to learn a sport or help your children with their education. But for someone higher up on the Corporate ladder, on a successful Business growth path, or top of their Profession or Sports, why would they need a Coach? After all, they are highly successful in their field and know everything there is to know. So if it's not about technical knowledge, then what is it?
To answer that question, let's relook at the above quote - As Eric Schmidt rightly points out, after a point, everyone develops a blind spot. This blind spot can be external or internal; it can be pretty costly unless one sees it in time and correct it. At times it becomes tough to see them from the inside. Even at an organisation level, since everyone is looking through the same prism, everyone may be blind to it, or worse, the internal conflict may restrain or disincentive people from being unbiased, open and honest. One way to address this situation is to get an outside-in perspective with an unbiased and honest eye to the problem.
Solving a non-technical business and personal problem is the crucial reason one needs an Executive Coach; for technical issues, you should find a Consultant.
Coaching Use Cases
So how does an Executive Coach add value? It's simple. An Executive Coach helps clients see, understand and address their Blind spots. Let's now look at some examples of typical Blind spots.
As mentioned above, there are two types of Blind spots - Internal & External.
Internal Blind Spots are intrinsic to an individual and typically relate to some Limiting Belief. These limiting beliefs create mental blocks that could, at times, act as barriers for someone to efficiently perform critical actions that are crucial for their success as well as for the success of the organisation at large. These Beliefs are natural tendencies, and there is nothing wrong with it by themselves. Everyone has value systems that govern how they see the world; the resultant beliefs arise from those. At times, looking at these beliefs from different angles and prisms can help people to broaden their perspective and help overcome the limiting beliefs in the higher interest.
A Coach using professional methods helps the client/coachee understand themselves and broaden their perspective to see the world through different lenses.
External Blind Spots are very straightforward - Individuals, teams, strategy, tactic traits and barriers that keep the individual, group, or organisation from achieving its goals and objectives. Though straightforward, it may not be as apparent to those within the situation, necessitating an outside-in view to open up and see, understand and address the blind spot.
A Coach may or may not be the domain expert; their job is to hold the mirror and let the client/coachee reflect to identify the potential blind spot. Once the real problem is evident, half the battle is essentially won - As it empowers them to find and act upon the solution.
In conclusion, whether a CXO or a Mid-level Leader from a Small or Medium Business or a Corporate, or even as an individual - having a professional Coach provides a necessary helping hand in overcoming various hurdles and obstacles, adding immense value in achieving the ultimate business and personal goals and objectives.