If you’re an up and coming executive, then chances are you will find yourself going through executive coaching soon if you aren’t already in a coaching program. Coaching on average lasts 7 to 12 months, so you will want to be prepared for what’s in store. Here are some ways to make the most out of your leadership coaching experience so you can grow as a leader and make it to the executive level.
Be open to change: If you go in to a coaching session ready to go through the motions but not ready to actually change, then you might as well save your money. In order to benefit from coaching, you need to be ready to make changes. If you aren’t, then it may be time to rethink your commitment to this career path.
Accept that honest feedback comes with the territory: You’re talented, yes, but not perfect yet. Otherwise you wouldn’t be getting coached on how to be a leader. The more prepared you can be going in for the honest feedback you are going to receive, the better you will be able to handle it. Your coach is not your buddy or friend. S/he is there to make you a better leader, which starts with pointing out areas that need improvement.
Be selfish: When it comes down to it, leadership coaching is all about you. So go ahead and be selfish when it comes to directing the course of your leadership coaching. Spend some time before each coaching session thinking about what you want to get out of it, and map a plan for your future before your first session (or now if you are currently in a program and haven’t done this step yet). The idea from your company’s standpoint is to develop you into a leader for this company, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t think more broadly about skills that you will need elsewhere.
Schedule appropriately: Schedule your coaching sessions for a time when you are refreshed, not when you are lagging or drained. Your coaching sessions will be grueling at times, so you’ll need to be at your best to get the most out of them.
Practice confrontation with your coach: Your coach is the perfect person to practice confrontation with. Be direct in talking about what is and isn’t working, what you would like to see change in the coaching process, and what suggestions you could make on your coach’s performance. As an executive you will need to be direct and candid with your employees regarding their performance, so start practicing now.
Executive coaching will prepare you for your future role as an executive and will make you a better leader in your current position. Use the above suggestions to get the most out of your coaching experience. Start implementing the changes you make now so that you can transition into an executive role more smoothly in the future.
Julie Edwards, Director Polevault