In Hans Christian Andersen’s 19th century fable “The Emperor's New Clothes”, the only citizen of the kingdom who tells the truth is a young boy who blurts out, “the emperor is naked!” Everyone else defers to the status of the ruler, flattering him about his new “outfit”, which is, in fact, his birthday suit (nakedness).
Cute story, right?
The reason the fable has survived as long as it has is due to its inherent truth. Power and rank often diminish our powers of perception, perspective and empathy, especially specifically when few people have the guts to speak the truth to power. This is the reason why executive coaching can be so impactful. The executive coach, as a trusted and equal partner to the executive, can say things that others might not. That is not to say that the coach/client relationship is adversarial. To the contrary, the coaching relationship is one that involves trust, confidentiality and openness.
Are you wondering if you could benefit from executive coaching? Here are five top reasons that you need it:
1. Coaches help you heighten your self-awareness
When I speak or facilitate leadership development, I pose the question “what is the most important leadership characteristic?” I usually get answers like empathy, active listening, compassion or strategic as their responses. The correct answer is surprising: it is actually self-awareness. Self-awareness was ranked as the most important leadership quality by 75 members of the Stanford Business School Advisory Council. Here’s why:
“Executives need to know where their natural inclinations lie in order to boost them or compensate for them. Self-awareness is about identifying personal idiosyncrasies — the characteristics that executives take to be the norm but actually represent the exception.” (MIT/Sloan, 2012)
Through a process of personality assessments, 360-degree reviews and even life retrospectives, an executive coach helps the client 1) understand herself better, 2) manage her emotions and reactions better and 3) understand how others might be different. Self-awareness is the foundation to effective leadership, helping the executive “to thine own self be true,” to quote Shakespeare. How can you be true to yourself if you don’t know your natural inclinations and personal idiosyncrasies? You can’t. And you can’t lead from an authentic stance without a deep understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Executive coaches help you to increase focus and clarity
Once you understand yourself more deeply, things can begin to fall into place. An executive coach can help you build on your self-awareness to understand what is important to you and what is not. Often, this is done through values identification and visioning exercises. To help you achieve a clear focus, your coach might ask you some of the following questions: what kind of person do you want to be remembered for? What are your personal goals, are you on the correct road to achieve them? What values do you rank highest for yourself? How can you spend more time on the things that are most important to you? What is missing from your life that might guide you to your dreams?
3. Leadership effectiveness
Unlike a trainer, an executive coach is there to assist you in experimenting with new behaviors that will lead to more effective leadership. An executive coach knows what it takes to be a good leader and can help you identify the ways to improve in that area. Additionally, a coach can hold you accountable by checking in with you about your experiments in changed behaviors.
4. Executive coaches can help you improve your performance, which includes you and your organization’s financial results
With more effective leadership behaviors, you will have a more positive impact on your team members and their results. Your team will become known for its productivity, innovation and business impact.
5. Executive coaches can help you with increasing your confidence
Success breeds confidence. As you work with your coach, you will begin to see the fruits of your efforts in the way peers and team members react to you. The emotional climate of your team and workplace will improve. People might even compliment you on your changed behaviors. As you mature into your new leadership skills your confidence will blossom and grow. You know that your coach is a trusted partner to whom you can turn to with issues that you can’t talk about with anyone else in your organization. This gives you a sense of support and confidence.
If you desire any of these results, it’s time for you to consider hiring an executive coach. Studies show that the return on investment in executive coaching ranges between five and seven times its cost. Why wait for great results? Find yourself a compatible coach today!
Kristin Robertson, CEO of Brio Leadership, is an executive coach who has been the catalyst for hundreds of client’s transformation. She can help you achieve the results listed in this article. For more information, visit our website at https://www.brioleadership.com/brio-leadership-executive-coaching.html or email her at email@example.com
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