Executive coaches talk business


By Dale Williams

Executive coaching involves a coach who has both training in coaching as well as
a background in business, working together on issues of common interest brought to
the relationship by an executive who is being coached.

Executive coaches provide valuable feedback and perspective for their clients by
offering an objective and outside view of the executive?s life.

The content of the coaching is usually at the intersection of business strategy
and personal development. Coaches do not typically give advice and a session
generally involves open and insightful questioning by the coach, and exploration and
reflection on the part of the executive.

There are four major trends that have resulted in executive coaching coming to
the fore:

? In recent years it has become more accepted that people are the one aspect
of business which is often overlooked and is in fact one of the most crucial
differentiators between success and failure. While there are examples of companies
that treat their people badly and still do well, they are in the minority and most
companies today accept that there is a link between the development of their people
and the prospects of the company.

? In addition we live in a world that is increasingly connected through
communication while also having people who are more and more disconnected on a
human level. Despite being able to send a text anywhere in the world in a few
seconds - we hardly know the people who live in our streets. Executive coaching
provides a hybrid business and personal relationship which is meaningful, relevant and
valuable. It stands as an oasis in the desert of superficial business relationships
which exist.

? While psychology also offers a very personalized development path for
individuals, it's accessibility is problematic for business people and its focus is purely
on the individual without taking the business into account. While not as
psychological in nature, executive coaching provides a similar opportunity for
development and it exists within the business context which makes it much more

? Coaching offers a personalized one-on-one development opportunity which is a
rare gift for the busy executives. The recently released international Shepra
Coaching survey, as a result of its 2012 findings says "More than nine in ten
professionals see the value of coaching as "high? or "very high?. It is also about
credibility. Over eighty percent see the credibility of coaching as "high? or "very high?."

The success of the coaching is mostly dependent on the quality of the relationship
between the executive coach and the executive. While the relationship is primarily
between the coach and client, the relationship always takes place in the business
context and is influenced by the business system. Part of the coach?s role is to work
with and within this business system to achieve results not only for the individual but
also for the business.

The benefits of coaching for the individual being coached:

? fresh perspective and development of new ideas and innovations
? a sounding board for ideas
? an opportunity to explore new ways of behaving
? a trusted confidant with whom sensitive matters can be discussed without
? getting objective feedback
? a partner to work with on personal development

The benefits of coaching for the company:

? provides development opportunities for people
? offers something the company cannot, which is an outsiders perspective on
areas which have a major influence on the company such as strategy and

Many companies invest in executive coaching for people who have leadership
potential but who are not yet bosses themselves.

Training requirements for coaches have not yet been legislated; however
coaches should have suitable training and relevant experience and background to
work credibly with companies. In many cases common sense applies, as we wouldn't
hire someone to work on our car who has never worked on a car before - likewise we
shouldn't hire coaches who don't have relevant experience and training to be able to
offer something valuable to a company or individual.

Dale's business experience ranges from executive level at Standard
Chartered Bank (he headed up their retail business in South Africa) to an
internet start-up business with two phone books, a computer and an empty
office in the 1990's. His partners and he successfully sold this business to a
JSE listed company.

Contact Dale via